Selling Institutional Repositories?


Our university system is promoting a new "digital storage initiative that aims to provide a safe haven for published and unpublished electronic content of any discipline. It is designed to capture, store, index, distribute, and preserve the intellectual output of the university." I'm curious what others' experiences and opinions are about such initiatives.While I'm usually the first to champion open source projects and free information access when it comes to publishing, and I don't doubt that this is a great opportunity for academic libraries to promote their role as the institution's archivist, it also makes me think of a Dilbert strip -- the one where nobody contributes to the company's institutional repository, and it is closed down.

Sure, librarians are always willing to donate their time to selflessly share knowledge, and never hoard it for their own glory... but what about faculty? I imagine we have many researchers who, while they don't necessarily produce work for royalties, are tied to funding models and publishers that forbid self-archiving. Or they just have their own, established departmental or individual Web presence that is under their direct control and can be taken with them should they leave the institution.

Short of a revised employment contract obligating them to do so, what is going to motivate many of these people to jump through the hoops of adding their intellectual property to such community systems? This is mostly a Devil's Advocate argument, but it could be a real problem for the comprehensive goals of these projects.


BTW the site is MINDS @ UW, which was built with the Open Source Dspace software -- also used by the likes or Cornell, Cambridge (UK), and MIT (full client list).These sites do seem to have some development, mostly in the physical sciences (no big surprise there). But there's got to be some "rogue publications" that aren't getting archived.

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