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Archives and IR

Institutional Repositories and Archiving

As producers of primary research, academic institutions have a responsibility to capture and preserve the intellectual output of their faculty, students, and staff. Traditionally, scholarly publishers (as aggregators and distributors) and institutional libraries (as managers and preservers) served complementary roles in facilitating scholarly communication and preserving an institution’s intellectual legacy, although in a diffuse and unorganized way.

Over the past several decades, however, the economic, market, and technological foundations that sustained the publisher- library market relationship have begun to shift. Several coinciding factors are forcing change in the structure of scholarly journal publishing:

  • Technological change, in the form of digital publishing technologies and ubiquitous networking, has driven the demand for broader access to research and for more robust digital presentation.
  • Significant increases in the overall volume of research, especially in the sciences, has strained the capacity of the print publishing model and exacerbated user dissatisfaction with the latency inherent in print publication.
  • Increasing dissatisfaction, especially on the part of librarians, with traditional print and electronic journal price and market models—models that have become less relevant and more difficult to sustain in a period of rapidly escalating prices and relatively flat library budgets.
  • Increasing uncertainty over who will handle the preservation archiving of digital scholarly research material.

All these factors have evolved and combined to create new expectations in the academic community for the production, distribution, and interchange of scholarly communications and to force a rethinking of the relative roles of authors, librarians, and publishers. In such an environment, institutional repositories might well act to preserve an institution’s intellectual work product while contributing to a fundamental, long term, change in the structure of scholarly communication.

The rationale for universities and colleges implementing institutional repositories rests on two interrelated efforts: one that supports a broad, pan-institutional, global effort and another that offers direct and immediate benefits to each institution that implements a repository.

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