Re: Controlling costs and risks for IRs

From: David Goodman <David.Goodman_at_LIU.EDU>
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 01:25:48 -0500

There are some universities where it is considerably easier to get
widespread support for a large multifaceted
expensive project, than to obtain the more
limited support from for a small one.

I can even see how some software developers might find
much greater interest in developing new and complicated
sites than in implementing something simple and
already understood and available. Some of us may ourselves
be involved with projects for such future development.

The response of OA advocates should
be to enthusiastically support the big project, and also build immediately
a small project to meet the immediate OA needs. This can
even be seen as an appropriate pilot.

Every university does have use for a multi-functional IR
for internal documents, working papers, etc. This is
material that would otherwise be scattered among multiple
web-sites, and for which the large IR would be the primary
site, with all the archival complexities that this entails.

The faculty and other researchers of every university certainly
immediately need enough of a IR to serve for OA, quickly and cheaply built
along the lines Steven suggests, that need not have such complexities
and responsibilities. Should one not buy any computer at all until one
can afford a high-end workstation?

Eventually, the OA service might be incorporated in the larger project.
For the year or two it will take to build the larger project, the
university will have an adequate location for OA to its research.
A university without one is as crippled as a university without a library.

It might clarify things if we had a different name for the two sorts
of IR, and I ask the list for suggestions.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Steve Hitchcock
Sent: Wed 11/30/2005 2:22 PM
Subject: Controlling costs and risks for IRs
Some eye-opening costs for running IRs have emerged recently, highlighting
the dangers of setting specifications based on extended and possibly
untested functionality, that go well beyond what is needed for Open Access,

The former reveals less about IR software than the wide range of
specifications that are intended to pass as IRs.

The latter lists an extended range of functions for an IR, then admits
there are currently no turnkey solutions to support this list, only partial
solutions, and that this specification is costly: "three-year start-up
costs for hardware and software alone are over $300,000", without including
staff costs apparently.

Most other institutions just want to get an IR up and running quickly at
low cost.

A fully functioning IR to capture and make accessible all the research
outputs of an institution can be achieved at a fraction of highest cost found.

To prove it the newly launched EPrints Services team offers a range of
service packages from supporting local hosting to a fully hosted service
This approach also goes some way to reducing an institution's risk on costs.

To understand why IRs are needed and how to build one, Professor Arthur
Sale, a developer of software to measure usage of IRs, offers a practical

The higher costs in the examples above almost certainly include more
complex and costly DL-inspired functionality for IRs, which will arrive,
but these investigations can be left to others for now. As Arthur Sale puts
it: "Can people fly flags and ring bells over conquering Everest when it
turns out to be Highgate Hill?"

Steve Hitchcock
EPrints Community Manager
IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865

Received on Thu Dec 01 2005 - 14:02:57 GMT

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