Texas Digital Library Conference System, 2014 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries

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Beyond Web-based Scholarly Works Repositories: The effect of institutional mandates on the faculty attitudes towards Institutional Repositories
Ahmet Meti Tmava, Daniel Gelaw Gelaw Alemneh

Last modified: 2014-03-25


In the last decade there has been a push from academic institutions to encourage faculty to deposit their work in web-based scholarly work repositories, commonly known as institutional repositories (IR). IRs are responsible for collecting and preserving the intellectual works of faculty and students and making them widely available.

In light of the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, IRs seek to move beyond the custodial role and actively contribute to the advancement of scholarly communication. Understanding and addressing the issues faced by IRs requires a multidimensional approach that involves all stakeholders including: individual scholars and researchers, academic institutions and librarians, scholarly and scientific society publishers, commercial publishers, and government institutions. However, most researcher (Kim, 2010) agree that the main players are faculty members that can make-or-break an IR.

In spite of the fact that IRs are an innovation in scholarly communication they have been met with a resistance from faculty members.  Academics have been slow to embrace the concept of IRs, according to recent studies by Primary Research Group (2014), only 5% of journal articles published by the faculty members of the organizations have been archived in the IR. While a range of factors seem to influence use of repositories by researchers there is still no agreement how to resolve the challenge of getting authors to deposit content. The most recent survey by Nicholas et al (2014) suggested that while the size and use of repositories has been relatively modest, almost half of all institutions either have, or are planning, a repository mandate requiring deposit. However, Crow (2002) warned that faculty submission will have to be voluntary or risk encountering resistance from faculty members who might otherwise prove supportive.

The current situation of IRs is rather bleak and calls to question the effectiveness of the current ways of recruiting content, including institutional mandates. Nicholas et al argue that mandates vary based on the research community and/or institution. Their findings reveal that none of the participating institutions reported any attempt to force researchers to comply with the mandate and describe the current mandates as more educational rather than binding.  The same study concludes that 22 percent of the researchers were directly influenced by mandate to deposit their work, and this varied based on the age. Thus, the hope remains that with the mandates in place the new generation of researchers will get used to the idea of depositing their work.

This poster will revisit the content recruitment issues in general. Although there is an extensive body of relevant knowledge, discussions about IRs transformations, they are often based on opinion, and isolated experience of commentators, leaving out the main issue (i.e. institutional policies) and the main players (i.e. faculty). This paper will attempt to assess the effect of institutional mandates on the faculty attitudes towards IRs. We believe that analyzing and spotlighting the possible correlations between and among various factors are pertinent for understanding and shaping the ongoing transformation of IRs.



institutional repositories; digital repositories; open access; policies; scholarly communication; content recruitment

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