Re: Cost of running an OA repository

From: Leslie Carr <>
Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2007 14:27:16 +0000

On 8 Dec 2007, at 07:08, Hélène.Bosc wrote:

> I am sure that more details on this cost will be given by ECS Southampton.

I can only speak about what we have at the moment, a simple OA repository
that works for a single school. Not a whole institution, just our school.

Setup costs for our school: a PC server, moderately equipped with hard disk
(about 100Gb) and a good amount of memory (but nothing extraordinary).
Total size of ECS school repository (12K records, 4K full texts) after 5
years = 5Gb. No reason to invest in huge amounts of hardware. If this were
proportionately scaled up to our entire university (20 schools) then we
might have to buy a second hard disk :-)

Costs involved in running a school repository (steady state, after a mandate
has been in place for several years):
Computer support / maintenance / upgrades to operating system / backups :
unaccounted as it is factored into the infrastructure support of the 250 web
sites that our school runs.
Technical support (programming, configuration, upgrade of the repository
itself): about 1 day per month = 0.05 FTE
Repository management (me! regularly reporting to Research Committee,
answering emails): about 1 day per term = 0.01 FTE
Advocacy: occasional emails - about 3 reminders per year
Quality assurance: post hoc automatic emails sent warning of potential QA
problems (missing full texts, items "in press" for more than 1 year etc)
Self archiving: 700 new items are deposited into our repository every year.
Each takes something less than 10 mins (see previous posting on Keystroke
Economy), and that accounts for another 0.07 FTE.

The server has been replaced every two - three years. I don't know the exact
costs, but it was around 1K UKP - like I said, it really is not particularly
high powered, despite the fact that it actually runs multiple repositories.
The ECS repository serves about 30,000 full texts per month (ignoring
spiders) and in total about 55Gb of data per month (including spiders).

So for us, the headline cost per year is about UKP 300 in hardware plus UKP
6500 in manpower (assuming 1FTE = 50K with all on-costs and overheads).
Round that up to 7K UKP or 10K Euro or 15K USD. And for that expenditure,
what do we get? Testing our overall effectiveness against "Web of Science"
this summer showed that 80% of our school output for 2006 is available as
Open Access full text in

Of course, anyone who knows anything about University budgets will realise
that only the hardware is a real cost. All the personnel effort is just
hidden into the job descriptions of existing personnel, and can be safely
done so because it is so low. And that was one of the policy decisions that
was behind the repository - we could have a repository, but it mustn't
interfere with people's main task - research and research support.

That's why we don't do QA like the library does for the Southampton
Institutional Repository - we don't have anyone to do it. We rely on email
warnings generated by automatic scripts (They've actually been very popular
with the researchers who have asked for more of them, so they are likely to
be a standard part of EPrints v 3.1).

And we're saving a fortune on advocacy because of the mandate!

So the takehome message is:
Headline Cost of Repository: $15K / yr maximum.
Actual Cost to School: $600 / year
Received on Sat Dec 08 2007 - 14:34:17 GMT

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