Institutional Visibility and Prestige
Institutional repositories, by capturing, preserving, and disseminating a university’s collective intellectual capital, serve as meaningful indicators of an institution’s academic quality. Under the current system of scholarly communication, much of the intellectual output and value of an institution’s intellectual property is diffused through thousands of scholarly journals. While faculty publication in these journals reflects positively on the host university, an institutional repository concentrates the intellectual product created by a university’s researchers, making it easier to demonstrate its scientific, social and financial value. Thus, institutional repositories complement existing metrics for gauging institutional productivity and prestige.
Where this increased visibility reflects a high quality of scholarship, this demonstration of value can translate into tangible benefits, including the funding—from both public and private sources—that derives in part from an institution’s status and reputation.
The current system of scholarly communication limits, rather than expands, the readership and availability of most scholarly research (while also obscuring its institutional origins). Rounds of journal price increases and subsequent subscription cancellations act to reduce the audience further. In this context, the role of alternative scholarly publishing models, such as institutional repositories, in breaking the monopolies of publishers and increasing the awareness of university intellectual output grows increasingly clear.
Further, institutional repositories can serve this function whether they are implemented on individual campuses or in collaborative consortia projects.