Re: Creating Institutional Repositories Is Not the Problem

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 17:15:46 +0000

Stevan, What you describe on this scale is a repository, not an institutional repository. For it to be the latter it has to have some semblance of institutional backing, either top-down (e.g. policy, mandates) and bottom-up (wide usage by authors).

Two mistakes made by many so-called IRs:

1 As in this example, they are not institutional, merely repositories operated within an institution. Growing the repository is a problem, and it is hardly a convergent locus.
2 Those that make the transition to institutionally-backed repositories tend to overload on costs, administration and bureaucracy without clearly articulating the purpose and objectives.

Invariably, the transition to an IR involves costs that are higher than a repository server run by an individual, but this can be controlled with clear objectives.

For smaller institutions there are hosted repository services, and these services give a more realistic indication of infrastructure costs for an IR than free software+server costs. People running these services are the world experts on managing the technical aspects of IRs - after all, they specialise in running multiple repositories - so repositories should not be costing more for the level of service offered.

The days of running IRs on a small local server are limited if not over already. Institutional infrastructure will migrate to the 'cloud', so large IRs as well as small will be investigating service providers, and repository services will provide both cloud and repository support.

Steve Hitchcock
IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7698 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865

On 16 Jan 2010, at 19:02, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> [Hyperlinked version of this posting:
> ]
> The Undergraduate Science Librarian wrote:
> "For a small institution like mine, having our own institutional
> repository might not make sense. We probably don’t have the library
> staff to run it well... [F]or many of our faculty, their only way of
> archiving their papers may be to post them on their own personal
> website, where they might not be as easy to find..."
> (1) If a campus has the infrastructure to host a website at all (as
> SUNY GENESEO clearly does), it has the infrastructure to host its own
> institutional repository (IR) for its own research article output. (If
> not, it probably does not have the insfrastructure to conduct research
> at all.)
> (2) Library staff are not needed to host an IR.
> (3) All that's needed is some disk space on one of the institution's
> webservers, plus the installation of (free, open-source) IR software.
> (4) Even individuals can install and host the IR software on their own
> PCs or their personal websites. (There is even a (free) Microsoft
> Windows version of EPrints.)
> (5) All EPrints IR installations are OAI-compliant, hence harvested
> for searchability by all of the major search engines: scirus, scopus,
> citeseerx, citebase, oaister, base, etc., as well as google and google
> scholar (the major ports of entry for all IRs). (Worries about IR
> deposits not being "easy to find" are based on a profound
> misunderstanding of search over distributed OAI-harvestable contents.)
> (5) CalTech alone hosts 26 EPrints IRs.
> (6) The importance of institutional IR installations is as the
> convergent locus of deposit for Open Access self-archiving mandates
> (without which all IRs, personal or institutional, are doomed to lie
> fallow).
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Jan 17 2010 - 18:10:10 GMT

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