Publication Type

Report

Version

Publisher’s Version

Publication Date

8-2008

Abstract

In planning for the implementation of SMU’s Institutional Repository, we discovered significant developments on the international research and academic scene in the area of scholarly communication. The developments cover changes in the role of governments and libraries in the support of research, the development of institutional repositories as the medium for the dissemination of scholarly communication, emerging standards and protocols for knowledge harvesting, new copyright models and new perspectives on measuring and reporting research quality and output. To be recognized as a research institution of excellence in the academic world, the University needs to decide where it wants to be in the open access space.

Open access to research, through institutional repositories, is an emerging and significant trend. The image of a repository as a place to collect, organize and preserve an institution’s knowledge is being replaced by a repository as a medium of communication and knowledge sharing. Initiatives in support of open access and repository development are happening at the regional, national, institutional and disciplinary levels. Mandates requiring open access to research are increasingly being adopted. Governments are funding projects to develop guidelines and standards to speed up the development of institutional repositories. Services for aggregating scholarly content from institutional repositories around the world have taken root. Institutional adoption and user participation levels of institutional repositories are growing. Publishers and research funding agencies have started to adopt models to allow/require open access to research.

The benefits of a repository to researchers, institutions and the global community are far-reaching. An institutional repository increases the visibility and prestige of the university when the body of research of the institution is consolidated, with a central point of access. Discoverability of research increases the impact of publications and has proven to increase citation counts. The repository also serves as a marketing tool to attract faculty, students and funding into the institution. The global community benefits from the knowledge exchange and a better understanding of research activities.

Based on our research and benchmarking, SMU should realize these benefits by supporting open access to research and publishing via an institutional repository. It will enhance the University’s visibility and international status as a research institution of distinction with strong research capabilities, reinforced when the research of all Centres and Institutes are assimilated into the repository. Research funding will be more forthcoming when research output is visible. Cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration is facilitated, and research management and performance reporting better supported.

For this to happen, we encourage SMU to engage its various communities in a collaborative effort to arrive at a successful formula involving policies, processes and roles, technical infrastructure, cultural alignment and performance evaluation. Strong and sustained conviction and will at all fronts and levels are needed to turn the vision into reality.

Discipline

Library and Information Science