Information for Institutional Staff
The Open Access environment is the forum for access to research materials. In order to ensure the continuation, development, success and survival of this environment, Higher Education institutions have animportant role to play in actively encouraging researchers to deposit their published work in an online institutional repository where it becomes freely available to all. It is very important that librarians and institutional repository managers have a good overall knowledge of the Open Access concept, including institutional repositories and copyright, and are familiar with its issues in relation to both academic authors and Higher Education managers. Institutional staff have a major role to play in spreading the word about Open Access and institutional repositories and in managing advocacy initiatives.
An institutional repository is a digital collection of intellectual output, such as research articles, theses and teaching materials, produced by members of an institution, and stored on the institution's server. Institutional repositories allow for free access to these materials and provide a way of storing and preserving them.
A subject-based repository is a freely available digital collection of research output of a particular discipline, or related disciplines, which is stored on a centralised server.
Articles that have been self-archived have been shown to have an increased citation impact of between 50 and 250 per cent. Moreover, if an institutional policy on self-archiving is in place, there is the likelihood of an increase in opportunity for funding as a result of improved research reputation. Some funding bodies are already making self-archiving a condition of grants.
The creation of an institutional repository would provide the institution a tool to manage its information assets, thereby providing greater control over its local knowledge economy and retaining copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) of work within the institution.
The creation of an institutional repository can also reduce the administrative burden on the institution because it is collecting all research produced by employees in the same place and is therefore streamlining information on individuals' research records, grant applications and fulfilment.
Setting up an institutional repository is relatively inexpensive but there are still running costs associated with establishing one. It is useful to look at how the institutional repository would be sustained financially and how it would be maintained in future in terms of time, effort and funds.
In order to plan for the long-term, a cost model would need to be created for the repository. One example is that of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for their 'DSpace' repository. In this instance charges have been put in place for the more specialised institutional repository services that they offer.
It is very important to note that any policies regarding the repository should be periodically reviewed and updated accordingly, especially as the scholarly communication environment is a fast-moving one.
It is important that the institutional repository is used and populated by academics. For this to succeed the institution should carry out an advocacy campaign to raise awareness and usage. Institutional staff have a key role to play in encouraging Open Access and self-archiving practices across their institution.
Having a clear institution-wide Open Access policy sends a message that the institution believes this is the way forward for scholarly communication. Fourteen individual institutions world-wide have now registered an Institutional Self-Archiving Policy. You can register your own institution's self-archiving policy, so that it appears in the Registry of Institutional OA Self-Archiving Policies.
Institutional repositories are much better populated if the institution makes deposit of work in its institutional repository mandatory. Such a move would also save time and resources. One survey found that 81 per cent of authors would 'willingly comply with a mandate from their employer or research funder to deposit copies of their articles in a repository' (Swan & Brown, 2005). There are now many institutions worldwide with a mandate to self-archive, examples being the University of Zurich, the University of Southampton, Queensland University of Technology, CERN and the University of Minho in Portugal. In fact, the University of Minho has seen a large increase in both the number of documents in its Repositorium Institutional Repository and their usage, including visits, hits and downloads. To track the growth of such institutional policies, a list is kept at ROARMap.
It is important to ensure that the institutional repository is populated. To ensure there is some initial content there in order to encourage more deposits, institutional repository managers and librarians can identify so-called 'green' publishers - those who allow self-archiving in any form - and then asking the academics who have published in those journals for permission to deposit those papers in the institution's institutional repository. To check the list of publisher copyright policies on self-archiving, visit RoMEO.
The copyright of research articles generally rests with the academic author himself/herself. Copyright is often transferred to the publisher, significantly reducing the scope of the author or readers to reuse the research material in other contexts, such as in textbooks or translation into another language.
Open Access and the establishment of an institutional repository provide an opportunity to renegotiate with publishers over the rights to disseminate research more widely.
The author should have a number of basic rights which should be represented in any publishing agreement. Such rights include the right to reuse the work in the classroom, or in an e-learning environment and to the right to deposit a copy in the institutional repository. Unfortunately, many of these rights - and more - can be demanded by the publisher as a condition of publication. Institutions and other agencies need to support authors in amending or renegotiating some of the more restrictive terms in publishing contacts. For an analysis and summary of current publishers' conditions, see the RoMEO service. Ensuring that the authors' rights are recognised and preserved, the institution gains control over how the institution's work is accessed, used and reused and need to be borne in mind whenever agreements are negotiated with a publisher, who will also have a set of rights they will wish to preserve. A full list of the author's and publisher's potential basic rights were drawn up as part of the 'Publishing Agreements' project and can be found here: the Zwolle Principles: balancing divergent rights.
Institutional staff such as managers, librarians and repository administrators should be aware of concerns often voiced by academics regarding the deposit of their work. Examples of such concerns include the disruption of the traditional publishing model, the actual quality of work found in repositories, the fact that it could be time consuming and issues of work preservation. For a more detailed discussion of these, please visit the Partnering on Copyright report.
In order to ensure that the message of Open Access and the benefits of establishing and managing institutional repositories is spread as effectively as possible, institutional staff need to create a communication plan for the advocacy campaign, which involves identifying:
- stakeholder groups
- their information needs, i.e., what they need to know
- how to meet these information needs most effectively, i.e., what advocacy strategies and materials should be used
A number of different advocacy strategies can be used, including top-down and bottom-up, blanket and targeted. For more detailed information on these please see the Partnering on Copyright report.
Last updated: 04-Feb-2010