Institutional Repositories and e-Journal Archiving: What Are We Learning?
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Increasingly, the lifeblood of the academic institution—teaching and learning resources, academic records, and intellectual output of faculty, students, and staff—is created or accessed in digital form. The volume of such information continues to grow exponentially. Its proliferation, combined with its importance to the institutional mission, has raised urgent questions: How are digital assets being kept, and who is responsible for them? Where are digital objects going? If a college or university has not begun to address these questions, it is likely to do so soon.
In the analog world, it was assumed that the library or archive would be responsible for keeping information fit for use over time. In the digital world, the library’s relationship with the creators and publishers of scholarly resources has changed, and while its role as steward remains compelling, it has become less clear-cut. The success of any digital preservation scheme now depends on the decisions and actions of many stakeholders, including creators and publishers of scholarly resources as well as libraries.
Two approaches to managing digital assets—institutional repositories (IRs) and e-journal archives—are the subjects of recent reports from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). Amid the growing body of literature on developing sustainable organizational models for digital preservation, these reports are unique in that they are based on systematic, large-scale surveys of how institutions are responding to the challenge. The studies underscore the increasing connections between creator, publisher, and librarian in developing effective and sustainable schemes for digital preservation. They also highlight the importance, and the difficulty, of achieving a balance of benefits that encourage participation from stakeholders. For example, an IR, however well funded or led, is unlikely to serve its purpose if faculty see few benefits in contributing. Likewise, an e-journal archive can survive only if it can garner the trust of publishers and libraries alike.
Whichever organizational models prevail for keeping digital resources available, libraries are likely to be involved, and they have much experience to offer. The surveys reviewed here, both of which were conducted with library staff, not only reflect librarians’ experience to date with IRs and e-journal archives but also offer perspectives on how to make these models more successful.
Institutions create IRs to keep a wide variety of materials in digital form, such as research journal articles, preprints and postprints, digital versions of theses and dissertations, and administrative documents, course notes, or learning objects.
In 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a nationwide census of academic institutions about their involvement with IRs. Published by CLIR in 2007 as Census of Institutional Repositories in the United States, the study was the first to examine a broad group of institutions, rather than just those having operational IRs. The aim was to “identify the range of practices, policies, and operations in effect at institutions where decision makers are contemplating planning, pilot testing, or implementing IRs, and also to learn why some institutions have ruled out IRs entirely.”
Surveys were sent to library directors at 2,147 institutions in the United States. A total of 446 (21%) participated in the census. More than half of the responding institutions (53%) had done no IR planning. Some 20% had begun to plan, 16% were actively planning and pilot testing IRs, and 11% had implemented an operational IR.
The study confirmed some of what other surveys had shown about operational IRs. It found that most IRs have been created at research institutions and that few are found at master’s or baccalaureate institutions; that the library usually takes the lead in planning, staffing, and paying for IRs; that faculty and graduate students are the major contributors to operational IRs, but that such contributions are still low; and that DSpace is the preferred IR software for both pilot testing and implementation.
At the same time, the census yielded new findings. For example, the authors concluded that there is a “sleeping beast of demand” for IRs from master’s and baccalaureate institutions, based on the finding that, among those respondents who had not begun planning, half intend to do so within 24 months.
Institutions that had not begun IR planning cited a focus on other priorities, concern that they have no resources or expertise for IR planning, or a wish to assess what others are doing before initiating an IR. Lack of interest was rarely cited. In practical terms, the availability of new commercial IR software may enable more institutions to get involved with IRs. Some institutions that are interested in IR services may wait until they can join in consortial or partnership arrangements. Very few institutions that have begun planning or are in advanced stages of planning and testing intend to terminate their IR projects.
Perceived Benefits of IRs: Familiarity Breeds Content
Some of the most interesting findings relate to the perceived benefits of IRs. Respondents were generous in their assessments: asked to rate a list of 16 possible benefits of IRs, they gave very high ratings to all but two. Perhaps IRs have many benefits, the authors note, or maybe it is too early to assess key benefits because IRs have not matured and lack a dedicated body of users.
Looking at the results by respondent type, the survey suggests that as institutions progress from the planning to the operational stages, they become more positive about the perceived benefits of IRs. Institutions with operational IRs assigned higher importance to most of the 16 benefits than did institutions that were only pilot testing IRs. The test-pilot institutions, in turn, assigned higher importance to the benefits than did institutions that had only begun planning. Institutions that had not begun planning responded with the lowest rating of perceived benefits, even though their ratings were still quite positive. The authors speculate on why this is so: “It may be that respondents [with operational repositories], having experienced the IR-implementation effort from beginning to end, are more confident about IR benefits and that they express this confidence by giving benefits high ratings. Or, having invested much time and effort into IR implementation, [the] respondents may want the IR to succeed so strongly that they give it the highest ratings.”
Institutions with operational repositories were also asked to compare the benefits they anticipated at the start of the project with the perception of importance once the repository was in place. When those respondents reported a change in how they rated a given benefit, the change was positive. The benefit with the greatest jump was the perception of library’s role as a viable research partner.
It seems fair to say that survey respondents were optimistic about the benefits of IRs. This optimism is interesting in light of other survey findings relating to the purpose, organization, and capacity of IRs. For example:
- Planning precedes needs assessment. The authors assumed that before implementing an IR, institutions would undertake a needs assessment to identify the audience and uses for an IR. They found, however, that most assessments, if done at all, are done after an organization has decided to implement a repository. (Among institutions with operational IRs, only one in three had done any such assessment.) Respondents rated the needs assessment as less important than other investigative activities for IR planning. They rated learning about successful IR implementations at comparable institutions as most important.
- Desire to improve access is at odds with low contribution rates. Respondents ranked “capturing the intellectual capital of the institution” and offering “better services to your institution’s learning community” as the top benefits of IRs. About one-quarter of the institutions that are pilot testing or implementing an IR have two or more IRs available to their learning communities. Nonetheless, IRs have had limited success in attracting voluntary deposits of content. Indeed, the top factor inhibiting the deployment of a successful IR, according to respondents with operational IRs, was “absence of campus-wide mandates regarding mandatory contribution of certain materials types.”
- Preservation function is limited. Respondents rated “longtime preservation of your institution’s digital output” as a top perceived benefit of establishing an IR, and “greater capacity for handling preservation” was the top reason given for migrating to new IR-system software. Yet survey data confirm that few repositories guarantee file formats other than PDFs over time.
- Archivists have limited roles. Much of what goes into an IR is unpublished, yet archivists have had a limited role in the development of IRs. At the institutions surveyed, the archivists’ responsibility for IRs actually diminishes between the planning and the implementation phases. This is unfortunate because archivists have much to contribute to IRs, and they should be engaged at all stages. As the study authors note, “The type of one-on-one collection development and content recruitment now being carried out by librarians to populate IRs is exactly the type of field work that archivists have done for decades. Closely related to this type of content recruitment is archival appraisal, which is a different type of collection analysis for librarians and pushes their skill set into the archival arena.”
- User interfaces are unsatisfactory. Institutions with operational IRs judge system functionality to be satisfactory, but they feel that the user interface, including controlled-vocabulary searching and authority control, needs serious reworking. User-interface improvements should be made now, the study authors conclude, before too many users have negative experiences with IR systems and decide to abandon them.
The Future of Institutional Repositories
Institutional repositories are in their infancy: as yet there is no real agreement on what form they will take, what users they will serve, and how they will figure in the changing landscape of scholarly communication. Perhaps they will evolve in diverse forms. Nonetheless, where IRs are operational they tend to have strong advocates. The authors of the study, who will continue their inquiry into the future of IRs, pose the following questions based on the census responses.
- What are the primary benefits of IRs? There is a small but growing body of literature aimed at understanding IR users and contributors. Additional systematic research is needed on why people search IRs and whether they find materials relevant to their interest, on why contributors do or do not participate in IRs, and on what benefits they receive. The authors recommend that these findings from users and contributors be compared with IR staff responses. Institutions in the early stages of planning will benefit from a better understanding of how IR content helps researchers.
- Will IRs someday derail the current publishing model? IR staff ranked IR advantages such as the potential to maintain control over an institution’s intellectual property, to contribute to the reform of the entire enterprise of scholarly communication and publishing, and to reduce the amount of time between discovery and dissemination of research findings in the middle tier of benefits. Will these benefits eventually transcend others? Will academics increasingly seek open-access publishers for their work, given that articles in open-access publications receive higher citation rates than do articles in print? The authors acknowledge that such questions are not new; however, they add that “it has been only recently that the infrastructure for self-archiving has been in place to challenge publishers and the stronghold they have had on scholarly publishing for so long.” (87)
- Will IRs coexist alongside subject-oriented and discipline-oriented repositories, or will one repository type prevail? While contributions to IRs have generally been low, the authors cite arXiv, the subject-oriented repository for physics, as “exemplary in terms of building and maintaining a successful digital repository that is embraced by the discipline as a whole.“ Does it make sense for IRs and subject-oriented repositories to compete for contributors? Will professional societies enter the competition as well?
- What is the likelihood of mandating the deposit of scholarly and scientific data in digital repositories? Who would monitor compliance? It may be easier to police compliance in IRs than in subject-oriented repositories, the authors note, “because of promotion, tenure, and merit-increase reviews that many academic units periodically require of their research and teaching staff. Staff would be expected to link their publications to full-text sources in digital repositories.”
- What metadata are appropriate for the wide range of artifact genres that characterize IR databases? Data files, unlike text, are not self-describing. What do prospective data-file users want to know? How should metadata in the IR relate to metadata in other campus information systems and library databases? The authors urge IR developers to learn from the creators of data files, users, and data archivists.
- In designing IR systems and enhancing metadata for IR content, the authors recommend emphasizing ease of use. Information seekers tend to use what is most easily available, even if higher-quality sources can be obtained with greater effort. IRs are likely to contain a mix of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. The approach to searching this mix will vary among disciplines. IRs should be usable regardless of their users’ domain expertise.
Each of these considerations will have a significant effect on the shape and the success of IRs. In the meantime, the census shows that a growing number of institutions are forging ahead, and few are looking back.
While many universities are looking to IRs to keep the intellectual output of their institution over time, they are also seeking solutions for long-term access to another digital asset—scholarly journals—which are increasingly delivered in electronic form and are licensed rather than owned. Concern over the possible loss of access to electronic journal content led 17 academic librarians, university administrators, and others to sign an Urgent Call to Action in fall 2005. The document noted that “if a publisher fails to maintain its archive, goes out of business, or, for other reasons, stops making available the journal on which scholarship in a particular field depends, there are no practical means in place for libraries to exercise their permanent usage rights and the scholarly record represented by that journal would likely be lost.”
The concern over future access to e-journals prompted CLIR, in coordination with the Association of Research Libraries and with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to commission a study on e-journal archiving. The study report, E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape, describes, contrasts, and compares a dozen archiving initiatives being developed for peer-reviewed journal literature published in digital form. It also assesses the potential and vulnerabilities of each initiative.
The 12 programs, grouped by organizational type, are as follows:
- Consortia that aggregate content primarily for access purposes but have assumed archiving responsibility: OCLC's Electronic Collections Online [ECO], OhioLink Electronic Journal Center [EJC], and Ontario Scholars Portal;
- Member/subscriber initiatives that have been launched specifically to address preservation issues: Portico, LOCKKS Alliance, and CLOCKSS; and
- 3.Government-supported efforts: the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI), the National Library of the Netherlands' KB e-Depot, Germany's KOPAL, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library (LANL-RL), Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia (PANDORA), and PubMed Central.
Comparison Reveals Gaps
The authors of the study compared the 12 programs in the context of seven minimal criteria for e-journal archiving programs. Each of the criteria, along with relevant findings, is listed below. The comparison reveals gaps in both criteria and coverage: no single program preserves all scholarly e-journals. Closing these gaps will require actions by libraries, publishers, and archiving programs. The authors recommend actions for each of these three stakeholders to improve the system for e-journal archiving.
1. Mission and mandate.
The repository has both an explicit mission and the necessary mandate to perform long-term e-journal archiving.
Each of the programs confirmed that its mission explicitly commits it to long-term e-journal archiving, and each program has negotiated with publishers to obtain the archival rights to manage journal content. However, publisher participation in e-journal archives is voluntary. Archiving programs would be stronger, note the authors, “if publishers were required by legislative mandate or as a precondition in license arrangements to deposit their content in suitable e-journal archives.”
Several countries now require the deposit of electronic publications, including electronic journals, in their national libraries. The authors cite this as a positive development, and recommend that more countries follow suit. They caution, however, that legal deposit alone is not a solution. Because the laws focus on preservation rather than access, there is no guarantee of access beyond the confines of the national deposit library.
The authors also consider the role of open-access research repositories in e-journal archiving, noting that “to date, participation in such repositories has been voluntary and the results have been mixed.” Even if such repositories were successful, they are only a partial solution for libraries. Journal articles that are not publicly funded are likely to remain outside the national open-access repositories. Moreover, open archives are concerned mainly with providing open access to current information, rather than with preserving that information over time.
The authors recommend that libraries and consortia, as part of the license negotiations, urge publishers to establish e-journal archiving relationships with bona fide programs. They also urge research libraries not to sign licenses for access to electronic journals unless those licenses contain provisions for the effective archiving of those journals. Publishers should be open about their relationships with various digital archiving programs. Programs that have taken responsibility to provide current access and archiving should publicize their digital-archiving responsibilities, both to publishers and to the research library community.
2. Rights and responsibilities.
Rights and responsibilities associated with preserving e-journals are clearly enumerated and remain viable over long time frames.
The rights and responsibilities of a repository must be clearly spelled out with respect to publishers, distributors, and content creators, and there should be a process for dispute mediation in case of alleged breach of contract. About half of the programs responded that either libraries or publishers, or both, had a voice in their governance and operation.
The authors recommend that three questions be considered when laying the foundation for digital archiving responsibility:
- Do the contracts consider all intellectual property rights that pertain to the content, and do they convey to the repository the right to perform needed archiving functions to prolong the life of the content? If not granted explicit permission, the repository may be unable to provide ongoing access through copying, migration, or reproduction. Research libraries and consortia should pressure publishers to convey all necessary rights and responsibilities for digital archiving to e-journal archiving programs.
- Does the publisher or its successor reserve the right to remove or alter content from the archival institution? If so, the archived content could be placed at risk. Seven of the archives surveyed reported having agreements with publishers that allow the repository to continue to archive content if the publisher is sold or merges with another company. Once ingested into the digital archive repository, e-journal content should become the repository’s property and should not be subject to removal or modification by a publisher or its successor.
- Are agreements with publishers regarding archival rights of limited duration? Four of the twelve repositories reported their contracts are of fixed, limited duration. Contracts should be reviewed periodically to ensure continuity of archiving rights and responsibility in the event of changes in publishers, acquisitions, or mergers.
The authors also recommend that a study be done to identify all necessary rights and responsibilities to ensure adequate protection for digital archiving actions.
3. Content coverage.
The repository is explicit about which scholarly publications it is archiving and for whom they are being archived.
The authors found that it is difficult to identify what publications are being preserved and by whom. Six of the 12 programs make public their list of publishers, three do so indirectly, and three do not. Fewer than half keep a list of specific titles, and even when they do, the lists may lack date spans or fail to indicate how complete the contents of the publications are. Compiling such lists is complicated by the fact that ownership of publishing houses, imprints, and individual titles changes. Also, many “publishers” are actually aggregators, such as Project MUSE or HighWire Press; consequently, while a single publisher may not be included on the listings of e-journal archiving initiatives, its publications might be archived. The authors recommend that e-journal archive repositories be more explicit about the publishers, titles, date spans, and content included in their programs, and that a registry of archived scholarly publications be developed that shows which programs preserve them.
Such difficulties notwithstanding, the survey found significant redundancy for the major publishers, many of which also have their own archiving programs. Smaller publishers are less well represented and rarely appear in more than one e-archives. The greatest redundancy in content was for the major STM e-journals, especially those published in English. Other disciplines, as well as most material published in non-Roman alphabets, were less well represented and generally not found in more than one archiving program. This, combined with the fact that few small publishers have their own archiving programs, makes such publishers' output more vulnerable to future loss.
The authors recommend that research libraries lobby smaller online publishers to participate in archiving programs and encourage e-journal programs to include the underrepresented presses. They note the efforts of the LOCKSS Humanities Project, in which participating institutions identified important content in the humanities for preservation, obtained publisher permission to archive that content, and developed plug-ins to capture content once publishers agreed.
4. Minimal Services.
E-journal archiving programs are assessed on the basis of their ability to meet a minimal set of well-defined services.
The authors note that there is “no universally agreed-on set of requirements for digital preservation, no mechanism to qualify (or disqualify) archiving services, and no organized community pressure to require it.” Since publication of E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds, OCLC, the Center for Research Libraries, and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have issued Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist, which provides a self-assessment tool for evaluating the digital-preservation readiness of digital repositories. Efforts to develop certification criteria are ongoing in Germany and the United Kingdom.
To determine the technical viability of a program, the authors asked the surveyed repositories whether they were adhering to, or plan to adopt within the next six months, nine key standards and best practices (such as PREMIS, open source software, OAIS). Of particular interest, they note, is that only 5 of 11 programs reported adherence to OAIS, an International Organization for Standards (ISO) standard that is gaining strong support in the digital preservation community.
The authors maintain that even though there is not yet a means by which to certify the operation of digital repositories, it is possible to identify “minimal expectations of best practices for a less rigorous standard—that of a well-managed collection.” The authors stress the need for a means of honestly documenting successes and failures, and recommend establishing a “Problems Anonymous” database that would make it easier for institutions to share their experiences.
The authors documented the programs on the basis of a short list of minimal services:
- Receive files that constitute a journal publication in a standard form, either from a participating library or directly from the publisher. One main consideration is the form in which the file is received (source file vs. rendition); a second is files that constitute a journal publication (e.g., whether it includes advertisements, reprint information, or editorials).
- Store the files in nonproprietary formats that could be easily transferred and used should the participating library decide to change its archives of record. The choice of preferred formats varies, but all accept XML or PDF. The authors caution that although a program may accept a given format, it may not be able to provide access to it.
- Use a standard means of verifying the integrity of ingoing and outgoing files, and provide continuing integrity checks for files stored internally. All the programs reported checking completeness upon ingest, all but one checked integrity upon ingest, and seven checked for ongoing integrity. However, the survey found that this area is ill defined. Procedures for integrity testing at ingest vary greatly. There is even greater variance in ongoing integrity testing. Some programs rely on use-based testing; others favor routine checking.
- Limit the processing of received files to contain costs, but provide enough processing so that the archives could locate and adequately render files for participating libraries in the event of loss. The authors did not have enough data to identify programs that have achieved the best balance in this regard. At present, the most-used strategies among the programs are migration, refreshing, and reliance on standards.
- Guard against loss from physical threats through redundant storage and other well-documented security measures. Local backups and off-site storage were by far the most commonly used redundancy procedures. Most programs have written procedures and protocols to minimize vulnerability to various threats.
- Offer an open, transparent means of auditing these practices. Are practices audited? Is the audit process open and transparent? The authors note that there seems to be “little agreement about the appropriate means and level of openness and transparency needed to gain the trust of potential participants.“ Seven programs responded that they conduct technical audits, two do not, and one plans to conduct an audit within the next month. “To earn the trust of the user community,” the authors note, “archives must have written policies in all major areas of operations that are available for public review.”
5. Access rights.
The repository negotiates with publishers to ensure that the digital preservation program has the right and expectation to make preserved information available to libraries under certain conditions.
A key distinction among the 12 programs surveyed is that some provide immediate access to content, and promise to do so on a continuing basis, while others are designed to ensure future, rather than current, availability of material. This distinction is not by accident: it is difficult to adequately address access and preservation in one system. The authors counsel that libraries carefully assess the preservation capabilities of any initiative whose primary purpose is the delivery of current journal literature.
Of the 12 initiatives surveyed, five are focused primarily on making electronic journals available immediately to their authorized communities, and two offer online access to commercial publications after a certain period has elapsed (typically six months to three years from date of publication). The rest are focused on long-term archiving and grant current access on site, remote access after trigger events, or both.
Each of the programs under study had obtained the necessary permissions to make material available to its designated communities (subscribers, participants, on-site users). Few options, however, are available to users from outside the designated communities. The only way a library can ensure that its users will have continued access to non–open access content is through participation in at least one of the journal archiving initiatives described in the report.
The authors recommend that national preservation projects be encouraged to negotiate for broad access rights to copyrighted content in the event of a trigger event. In addition, they recommend that all preservation initiatives consider the possibility that some of the content they store may eventually rise into the public domain and that they negotiate all agreements with publishers accordingly.
6. Organizational Viability.
The repository is organizationally viable.
The authors identify three attributes that relate to the viability of any e-journal archiving effort: administrative responsibility, organizational viability, and financial sustainability. On the basis of these attributes, the authors concluded that all of the programs have the potential for long-term viability. However, all are young and have limited practical experience. Most are still building their digital preservation programs. Only half of the programs reported that they have business and financial auditing processes in place or planned.
The degree of financial sustainability is influenced by sources of funding and stakeholder buy-in. Programs with a government mandate may have the advantage of an ongoing funding commitment, but it can be risky to depend solely on government support. Programs with a primary mission to provide access may also have a financial advantage because the costs of archiving are tied directly to current use and subscriptions.
Among the 12 programs surveyed, the three that are not funded by the government and are primarily intended for preservation—Portico, CLOCKSS, and LOCKSS—may be the most vulnerable, according to the authors. Financial support from stakeholders will be important in sustaining these programs over time.
The repository is part of a network.
There are many advantages to promoting collaboration among repositories—for example, creating a network that establishes some redundancy, encouraging the development of common finding aids, and reducing costs. Most of the 12 programs surveyed are collaborating in the form of exchanging ideas and strategies, sharing planning documents, and sharing software. Fewer coordinate content selection and provide secondary archiving responsibilities. Very few respondents have, or are even thinking about, succession plans or dependencies, and only Portico has the contractual rights to pass on contents and rights to another nonprofit organization.
The authors suggest the need to agree on common rights to protect digital content and facilitate collaboration, and to investigate models for collaborative digital preservation action, such as Data-PASS.
The growing need for institutions to capture and maintain access to their administrative and academic information is driving the exploration of organizational models for digital preservation. Among the approaches being developed are institutional repositories and e-journal archives. Both encompass varying models with varying objectives.
The CLIR census of IRs revealed a high level of optimism for institutional repositories. At the same time, it identified a range of contradictions and challenges, underscoring that IRs are far from mature in their policies, organization, sources of support, and constituencies. The configuration and success of IRs rests on support from the institutional leadership, and will ultimately influence, and be influenced by, the changing needs of contributors and users.
The survey of e-journal archiving programs showed that several viable choices are emerging, but none is perfect. There remains a distinction between archives whose primary aim is to preserve and those that provide current access. For the present, libraries are encouraged to work with at least one archiving program, and to choose it carefully. Over time, action by publishers, archiving entities, and libraries can improve the quality and viability of electronic archives.
Both surveys show that organizational models for digital archiving must have the support of stakeholders if they are to evolve and succeed. The efforts to date reveal progress as well as the challenges ahead—including those of refining missions, balancing stakeholder benefits, and building trust. Meeting these challenges is essential to the future of scholarly communication.
Kathlin Smith is Director of Communications at the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) in Washington, D.C, where she oversees the publications program and communications with CLIR's 195 sponsors who represent primarily research and academic libraries. Before joining CLIR, she was a program officer and editor with the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China, sponsored jointly by the National Academy of Sciences, American Council of Learned Societies, and Social Science Research Council. She may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
See Peter Lyman and Hal R. Varian, “How Much Information?” (2003). Available at http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/research/projects/how-much-info-2003/ (accessed Jan. 3, 2008). A recent report from Dartmouth estimated that it “uses over 37 terabytes of storage centrally for business applications and e-mail alone, and the average demand is growing at about 6 terabytes annually.” By comparison, it notes, “if stored as plain text, the print collection of the Library of Congress would amount to about 20 terabytes of information.” Jeffrey Horrell and Deborah Jakubs. Digital Asset Management: Elements of an Institutional Program. Final Report on the Duke/Dartmouth Project. (Unpublished). July 10, 2007.
Karen Markey, Soo Young Rieh, Beth St. Jean, Jihyun Kim, and Elizabeth Yakel, of the University of Michigan School of Information. Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources. February 2007. The census is the first step in a longer-term undertaking, called the MIRACLE (Making Institutional Repositories a Collaborative Learning Environment) Project, to examine how colleges and universities are implementing IRs. The project seeks to identify models and best practices in the administration and technical infrastructure of IRs, as well as policies governing access to repository collections. The goal is to identify factors contributing to the success of IRs and effective ways of accessing and using them.
Although a handful of institutions in Australia and the United Kingdom have some form of mandatory deposit policy, the idea of mandating deposit of an institution’s intellectual output is controversial. In the United States, while an institution might establish mandates for the deposit of administrative records, it would be difficult to set similar requirements for the deposit of faculty research.
The authors intend to conduct an IR-user study as a follow-on activity, and they include a list of possible survey questions on page 89 of their report. Other organizations, including CLIR, are also undertaking studies on IR use and users.
See Andrew Odlyzko (2000), “The Rapid Evolution of Scholarly Communication,” (http://www.si.umich.edu/PEAK-2000/odlyzko.pdf) (accessed Jan. 3, 2008); Steve Lawrence, (2001) “Free Online Availability Substantially Increases a Paper’s Impact,” Nature 411 (May 31): 521; Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown (2004), “Authors and Open Access Publishing,” Learned Publishing 17(3): 219–224; Kristin Antelman (2004), “Do Open-Access Articles Have a Greater Research Impact?” College & Research Libraries (September): 372–382; and Gunther Eysenbach (2006), “Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles,” PLoS Biology 4(5) e157:0692–0698.
“Urgent Action Needed to Preserve Scholarly Electronic Journals,” edited by Donald J. Waters, October 15, 2005. Available at http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/ejournalpreservation_final.pdf (accessed Jan. 3, 2008).
Available at http://www.crl.edu/PDF/trac.pdf (accessed Jan. 3, 2008).