UoL Library Blog

Develop, debate, innovate.

Report: Embedding digital repositories in the University of London

Posted by gazjjohnson on 8 January, 2009

I’ve spent the last hour or so reading this report on the SHERPA-LEAP universities.  It makes for interesting, though very heavy going, reading – at its heart is the hypothesis that digital repos are being under-used and seeks to explore the reasons why.  It touches on the emotive, the logical, the strategic and the operational reasons for embracing or not in fair detail. 

I found myself nodding along with some of the results, many of which are essentially common sense if you’ve worked in the repo field for any amount of time.  I was especially interested in the 7 motivations for digital repositories (these things always come in 7s, I used to talk about the 7.5 rules of repository advocacy just to be different).  These are:

  1. Fear of missing the boat
  2. Providing a HEI shop window
  3. Enabling archiving/curration of institutional assets
  4. Facilitating open access of scholalry outputs
  5. Reducing dependence on traditional publishing
  6. Providing up to date overview of institutional outputs
  7. Exploiting added value feature of digital content.

Each of which is a motivator for a different set of stakeholders (as you’d expect).  I’ve not met many folks driven by (1) but I’m sure as everyone seems to have a repository these days that they’re more common than I’ve encountered.  As a librarian I know (5) has been something I’ve been dealing with since 1997 with Big Deals providing lots of titles yet at the same time denying us the level of granularity in terms of reviewing what we purchase.  But then when you’re looking at price hikes of 58% in toto against an increase in the retail price index of 11%; well you know there’s little else libraries could have done at the time than say “yes” to the deals.

And I’ve not even got to the part of how to overcome the barriers!  The exec summary is worth a read, even if you don’t feel you can plough through the whole report.

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