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these collections would be virtually invisible,’ explained Fritz of Islandora Foundation. There are some key ways to enable this. ‘One of the lessons that people learnt very quickly with repositories is that the vast majority of access is driven by Google. The single most important thing that they can do is to make sure that the repository can be easily crawled by Google,’ observed Carr.

Kamotsky of Bepress agreed: ‘We are constantly updating our platform to be optimised for open web searches such as Google and Google Scholar. Our repositories receive millions of downloads, and around 85 per cent of those come from open web searches. Digital Commons is also OAI- PMH compliant and is easily integrated in library discovery tools and aggregators.’ She continued: ‘Universities and departments are interested in showcasing content coming from their campus, but individual researchers are more interested in what’s going on within their field, regardless of university. ‘We saw a need for a tool that would gather

content from all 300-plus Digital Commons repositories and make it easy to browse on a disciplinary or topical basis. This idea developed into the Digital Commons Network, which makes over a million full-text, OA research articles available for researchers to browse. ‘We see this as a valuable tool for researchers libraries to build interest in

and a way for

their own repository initiatives, but it also demonstrates the magic that happens when you create connections between hundreds of successful repositories.’

‘Interoperability has always been a major

focus for us,’ said Carr. ‘The eprints software was developed by researchers and we are also users of the software. As computer scientists and information scientists we are very aware of the need to build software that is not just silos.’ He added that it is also very easy to link to external reporting tools, which is important when institutions need to use their repository to feed into research assessment.

‘In the early days interoperability was not as big of a concern, but it’s increasingly becoming an issue – particularly when it comes to authorities

‘Librarians have a uniquely appropriate skill set to encourage safe OA

scholarly publishing’ Irene Kamotsky, Bepress

and unique persistent identifiers,’ added Wilcox of Fedora.

‘Content in repositories is now expected to be permanently accessible via a unique URI, primarily so it can be shared and reused in other contexts. The rise of linked open data also points to this desire for interoperability.’ Fritz, of Islandora Foundation, noted: ‘The library community has a particular interest in interoperability, whether in the context of global OA collections of scholarly content, or, more locally, in the context of a consortium of libraries. Islandora responds to this by supporting OAI and by providing a system that facilitates the hosting of organisations in a single framework.’

What institutions need to do to implement a repository

According to Samantha Fritz of Islandora Foundation: ‘The requirements for an IR will differ depending on the platform being used. However, broadly speaking, an institution implementing an IR needs organisational commitment to supporting an IR project; the ability to dedicate individuals to the project, from the managerial side to the technical and administrative aspects; and familiarity with web- based software and databases, systems, languages, and metadata practices. ‘The organisation also needs to define a scope for the types of digital assets that will be captured and displayed by the IR. IRs, to varying degrees, offer flexibility and customisation. It’s great when you see institutions using outside the box solutions @researchinfo

to deal with unique instances of digital assets. While this requires some risk taking, an IR can be as complex and rich as an institution is willing to build.’

Kamotsky of Bepress had some further advice for institutions: ‘The repository is a tool to manage the image of the university, and it must be a professionally designed and curated showcase of works that faculty, students, and administrators are proud to show others.

‘A repository platform needs to display beautifully all types of content, including images, video, audio, and datasets. To engage faculty, students, and university administration, a successful repository needs to increase the visibility of their work, and

provide quantitative evidence of their global reach,’ she commented. ‘On the library’s side,’ she added, ‘successful IR programmes are those that focus on campus outreach rather than systems and technology. The ideal repository manager is an extrovert who’s excited about talking to faculty and students about scholarly communications. The library shouldn’t assume that faculty will automatically understand the value of the repository and be willing to upload their own material. Libraries should provide a comprehensive suite of services designed to appeal to faculty’s emerging needs. At schools using this model, repository and publishing tools become one of the most well-used and well-loved library services on campus.’

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 Research Information 11

Institutional repositories FEATURE The future

Fritz also noted some of the challenges ahead, including the rapid change in technology and the need to support and maintain software and processes. In addition, there is copyright management ensuring

that an institution

has the right to disseminate digital content and confirming copyright clearance before depositing material into an OA platform. There is also the need for ‘sustainability feasible long term funding and support’ and increasing the visibility of scholarship by integrating systems like Altmetric. She also noted the need for IRs to ‘step up to the “data stewardship” bar.’ Kamotsky of Bepress added: ‘Faculty are increasingly savvy about their digital presence and visibility for their scholarship. One challenge is to make sure that repositories keep up with faculty’s rapidly emerging needs. IRs today find themselves competing for faculty’s attention with services like ResearchGate, and even Amazon’s self-publishing tools. Authors don’t read the fine print with commercial entities like these, and may find themselves giving rights away just like they did with commercial journals. ‘Librarians have a uniquely appropriate skill set to encourage safe OA scholarly publishing, and they have a great opportunity to become the go-to experts on campus and help guide faculty and students towards non-predatory publishing. It’s new territory for librarians to compete for content with commercial alternatives, but it’s vitally important that they take a leadership role in building a scholarly communications system that appeals to faculty, so that faculty don’t need to look elsewhere.’

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