The View from the IR Trenches, Part 2

Today, we’ll look at an article about the challenges involved in populating an institutional repository:

Mackie, Morag. "Filling Institutional Repositories: Practical Strategies from the DAEDALUS Project." Ariadne, no. 39 (2004).
http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue39/mackie/

The DAEDALUS Project is at the University of Glasgow. This article is an especially interesting case study, and it details a number of useful, imaginative strategies for populating an IR.

Selected quotes from the article are below; the headings are mine. Caveat emptor: selected quotes are just that. It’s always a good idea to read the full paper. I would hope that these brief quotes entice you to do so.

Faculty Do Not Want to Deposit Works Themselves

Despite a generally encouraging response, this did not translate into real content being deposited in the repository. . . . We found that it was difficult to get staff to give or send us electronic copies of their papers, even when they had promised to do so. This was our first indication that while staff may be sympathetic many of them do not have the time or the inclination to contribute. They were happy to give us permission to do the work on their behalf, but could not commit to doing the work themselves. Clearly the advantages of institutional repositories were not yet sufficiently convincing to academics to persuade them to play an active part in the process.

Determining Which Articles Can be Legally Deposited Is Difficult and Time Consuming

[T]he majority of academics we contacted were happy for us to establish which of their publications could be added to the repository.

While an extremely useful resource and one that is growing all the time, the [SHERPA] list does not cover all publishers. . . . it has been necessary to track down policies from publishers’ Web sites, or to contact publishers directly where these do not exist or where they do not address the issue of whether an author is permitted to make his or her paper available in a repository. No two publisher polices are exactly the same, and many do not explicitly state what rights authors have in relation to repositories. . . . Interpreting publisher copyright policies is also a difficult area, particularly as there is no real precedent and no case law.

Where copyright policies did not exist or where they were unclear, we contacted the publishers directly and asked for permission. . . . Although some publishers reply quickly, others may take some weeks and some do not reply at all. We found that publishers were more likely to give permission for specific papers to be added than to outline their general policy on the issue. Consequently permissions for most articles have to be established on a case-by-case basis.

It Is Challenging to Identify Possible Depositors Using Open Access Journals

It would be useful to be able to identify additional content in other open access journals, but so far we have not found an easy way of doing this. The Directory of Open Access Journals. . . is very useful, but it does not enable searching by institution or author affiliation.

For IRs to Be Filled, Deposit May Need to be Mandated

Although we have succeeded in adding a reasonable amount of content to the repository we have also been offered significant amounts of content that cannot be added because of restrictive publisher copyright agreements. . . . This is a clear demonstration that major changes need to take place at a high level in order for repositories to be successful. Although some academics have taken the decision to try and avoid publishing in the journals of publishers with restrictive policies, this is still relatively rare. We can inform staff about the issues, but we cannot and should not dictate in which journals they publish. Change is only likely to happen if staff are required, either by the funding councils or by their institution, to make their publications available either by publishing in open access journals or in journals that permit deposit in a repository.

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