Why You Should Have an Open Access Institutional Repository
Institutional Repository Open Access

Why You Should Have an Open Access Institutional Repository

Sucheth
Sucheth

Why should you make your institution's research corpus available for Open Access? The short answer is that if your institutional repository has barriers to access, readers might opt for an alternative source. Of course, the internet is vast, and they can find openly accessible research material in a couple of clicks.

As a result, making your institutional repository Open Access is now essential for its success. By hosting your institution's research corpus on an easily discoverable and accessible repository, you are taking a significant step toward maximizing its impact and visibility.

This is not the sole reason, though. In the post, we will explore the different reasons why you should ensure your institutional repository is Open Access. But before we begin, let's briefly recap the concepts of institutional repository and Open Access.

What is an institutional repository?

An institutional repository is a digital archive that enables universities and other research organizations to safeguard, systematize, and disseminate their intellectual output.

What is Open Access?

According to the Open Access Advocacy organization, SPARC, Open Access is defined as "the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives."

5 Reasons Why You Should Ensure Your Institutional Repository Is Open Access

You would be hard-pressed to find top institutional repositories that are not Open Access. Take a look at Harvard, MIT, the University of Cambridge, and many other leading universities and research institutions. Most of their repositories are open access.

The question is, why are they doing it? We will explore this and much more as we cover the reasons why you should ensure your institutional repository is Open Access.

1. Maximizes search visibility

Internet search is among the most popular ways to secure information. It is estimated that search giant, Google, processes more than 2 trillion global searches per year. Now, if you want your research output to be consumed widely, it has to appear on the first page of these search engines for relevant search queries and keywords.

Hosting your research output on an open access repository will certainly help in this regard. It ensures that the papers and publications are indexed on these search engines. This way, interested readers will be able to discover and consume it when required. It also means that they will spend more time on your repository website and might link to your pages too. Both of which are considered key ranking factors by popular search engines.

Open Access Repository can improve your visibility

To cite an example, the search impressions for the research output of the National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, grew by 318% in the first six months after the launch of their institutional repository.

2. Increases downloads and citations

When you remove access barriers to your research output, the overall download count is bound to increase significantly. In addition, interested readers, including researchers and students, can consume and refer to it when required, which in the long run helps in improving the citation count.

In addition to that, repositories ensure that your research output is neatly categorized, enriched with relevant metadata, and can be downloaded and cited easily.

Source

The University of Calcutta’s recent success perfectly illustrates this — after the launch of its institutional repository, the download count of its research output increased by 190% in six months.

3. Managing licenses become more straightforward

Most institutions' Open Access Policies come with a license grant that gives the faculty and researchers a right to make their manuscripts openly accessible. In addition to that, you often see research funding bodies mandating that research conducted with their funds must be made freely accessible.

Now, if the institution itself has an Open Access repository, it is much easier to meet these policies and mandates. In addition, it saves your scholarly communication staff and faculty the trouble of actively tracking if the publication is freely accessible on a third-party repository.

What's more, Typeset-powered repositories come with inbuilt Copyright Detection technology that allows faculty and scholarly communication staff to find out which version of a manuscript (postprint, preprint, and published) can be made freely available. This way, they can open up full-text PDFs without worrying about copyright violations.

4. Serves as a fallback option

An Open Access repository ensures that your faculty and students don't have to rely on publishers to make their scholarly work widely accessible. It works as a Green Open Access option that they can always fall back on. Additionally, they can use it to store their datasets and other digital artifacts.

Since the institution manages the repository, it offers the faculty and researchers greater control and flexibility. They will be able to make changes anytime they want. Moreover, if they need any help, they can always contact their colleagues in the scholarly communication department.

5. Disseminate knowledge for the public good

Most universities and research institutions are responsible for making sure the knowledge they produce is widely accessible, especially the public-funded ones. Having a repository of their own gives them an avenue to do so without external control. The research publishing industry is heavily skewed in favor of publishers, and this is a great way to take back that control.

Over the years, Open Access repositories have evolved and now allow students and faculty to deposit everything from journal articles, datasets, slideshows, and conference videos. Hence, it is an excellent way for universities to disseminate their entire research corpus and meet their mission and moral obligations to share knowledge.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, open access institutional repositories are much more than just a tool to meet Open Access mandates. It is a locally controlled solution that helps your students and your entire community experience the benefits of Open Access firsthand. Also, it fulfills the institution's moral obligation of disseminating knowledge and expertise.

It gets much easier to run an open access repository when it is hosted on Typeset. With its integrated writing and publishing tools, copyright detection technology, streamlined deposit and approval workflows, including search-friendly indexing, you will be able to manage and disseminate your research corpus seamlessly.