Recent Changes
Recent Changes · Search:

There is wide-spread agreement that ‘advocacy’, that is, marketing your repository to your academic community, is a critical element in gaining acceptance of the concept, buy-in from potential depositors, and a successful rate of deposit. Advocacy is an ongoing task to ensure that one-time depositors continue to contribute updates of their research output, remain aware of changes in policy or technology and committed to the overall success of the repository.

On this page… (hide)

  1.   1.  Change Agents / Championing
  2.   2.  Increasing Research Impact
  3.   3.  Targeted Content
  4.   4.  Communication

1.  Change Agents / Championing

Advocacy within the institution begins with securing support, and a champion at the highest level. Apart from the funding required to establish the repository (primarily) for staffing and technical support), the repository will carry the name of the institution, and should become a key element in the institution’s overall marketing strategy, contributing to its national and international reputation. It is critical that it become an institutional endeavour with high level support.

Education of the academic/research community in your institution is an essential part of advocacy. There are two key aspects to this — the first is the enhanced impact that items freely available on the Internet can have, in terms of accessibility and citation by other researchers, over research published in printed, electronic, or even freely available electronic journals. The second, is to address concerns that items freely available on the Internet may be subject to breaches of copyright, plagiarism, or may themselves breach copyright and intellectual property rights.

2.  Increasing Research Impact

It is widely claimed by advocates of Open Access that items freely available on the Internet have a significantly greater ‘research impact’. In summarising research to date, Harnad (2006) suggests that OA items have twice the impact of those in more conventional repositories, such as e-journals, (that is, they are cited twice as much), and cites work by Lawrence (2001), Brody and Harnad (2004), Hajjem et al (2005), Moed (2005), and Kurtz and Brody (2006), studies which cover a range of disciplines. He also claims that research rankings for UK researchers assessed by using citation counts equate well with rankings produced by the UK Research Assessment Exercise. Other well designed research studies have shown the research impact of open access to be perceptible, but more modest in some disciplines. Antelman’s 2004 study, for example, showed increase in citation rates between 45% in Philosophy, compared with 86% in Political science, and 91% in Mathematics, but argued that this was most likely due to the low rates on self-archiving, and less use of online resources in humanities subjects. (No subject area studied recorded a doubling of citation rate.) Wren (2005) and Tschider (2006) both report investigations into the higher visibility of science reported in Open Access repositories, as well as the greater likelihood that research in the highest ranked journals will also be found freely available on the Internet.

3.  Targeted Content

There are a number of strategies that existing institutional repositories have used, or can use to encourage acceptance and uptake of their repository. Strategies which are highlighted by Jones, Andrew, and MacColl (2006, p.111) as being helpful in securing a critical mass of content early on, may include one or more of:

  1. Identifying academics within your institution who have created their own Internet-based archive of their own research, or who have consistently deposited material in other repositories. Harvesting these will give some ‘quick runs on the board’ for your repository, although you will need to decide which of these you can reproduce within your own scoping policy, if they have already been made available without adequate intellectual property right protections.
  2. Securing some high profile research reports, whether funded by the institution or not, which are highly sought, and will attract a large number of ‘hits’ within a short period of time.
  3. Supporting staff to deposit their research through the use of a system of ‘mediated deposit.’ Horwood, Sullivan, Young, and Garner (2004) briefly outline how they do this at the University of Melbourne., and refer readers to Nixon’s 2002 paper for further details. Ashworth, Mackie, and Nixon (2004) also report that they had to do this at the University of Glasgow.
  4. In addition, a number of institutions have chosen to use high-profile ‘champions’, well-regarded individuals who have some informal leadership status within the institution. ‘Opinion-leaders’ can make or break an institutional endeavour of this kind.
  5. The most controversial policy for ensuring that as high a percentage of staff as possible deposit their research in the repository is to make such deposit mandatory. A mandatory deposit policy may cover theses only, publications and research reports funded by research funds supplied by the institution, publications/output created by any person employed by the institution from a certain date onwards, all publications (past and present) published by staff members and students of the institution.

Recommendations to this effect were made by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report of 2004. Pinfield (2005) summarises this report and the arguments for mandatory deposit. He also reiterates the argument that OA increases research impact, and helps to manage plagiarism, though he cites no empirical basis for this view. Harnad (2006) also argues strongly for mandatory deposit, citing Swan and Brown (2005) research that showed that 95% of researchers sampled would self-archive if their employers required it. He calls for immediate action from all research-active institutions and research funders, to require mandatory self-archiving ( allowing authors to set their own terms of access) to any publicly funded research, citing Sale (2006), who discusses the value of mandatory policies for collecting e-theses, Suber (2006), and Terry:Kiley:2006(?) in support..

Since concerns have been raised that any coercion to deposit may alter academic conditions of employment, it is sensible to include any industrial union, especially AUS, in early discussions about whether or not mandatory deposit is an appropriate solution for your institution.

4.  Communication

A key plank in the overall advocacy policy adopted is the communication strategy that will be employed. This is necessary, firstly, to communicate the decision to create the repository, and the benefits that have been identified for individuals and the institution, and secondly to ensure that all members of the academic and research community understand the reasons behind its creation, how intellectual property rights will be protected, (theirs and their publishers), and what their part will be in sustaining the repository. This may depend on the internal communication systems already in place in the institution, but new approaches may be needed, given the importance of ensuring wide-spread acceptance and buy-in. The systems in place may or may not be the most effective, and some informal research into the effectiveness of various channels may be in order.

Channels and methods advocated include:

  • notices in existing newsletters of the organisation;
  • notices in newsletters issued by the library;
  • notices and advice on the library/repository web page
  • seminars held in some central location (inviting senior members of the institution to demonstrate their support is advocated)
  • seminars in faculties, schools and departments
  • repository staff (and the Librarian) attending faculty and other academic meetings, and drawing attention to the issue where relevant.

These methods should all be used within a documented overall communications strategy that can be reviewed and revised at regular intervals part of the ongoing evaluation of the repository. Barton:2004(?), points out that an academic may need to have been exposed to information about the repository service being established seven times before they are fully aware of it, and its benefits. Mark and Shearer (2006) note that the communication strategies outlined above must be supplemented by other more targeted content recruitment strategies, such a independent harvesting of content, and mediated deposit. Horwood, Sullivan, Young, and Garner (2004) outline several of these methods as used at the University of Melbourne, and sought champions by personally visiting Deans and Heads of Schools. Ashworth Mackie and Nixon (2004) also recommend identifying academic champions and harnessing their energies as a valuable strategy they employed at the University of Glasgow. They also used presentations at as many university and Faculty committees as they could reach, and created faculty-wide publications databases (whether the full-text was deposited or not), to promote their repository and encourage deposit. Pinfield, Gardner, and MacColl (2002) describe recommended communications channels, and outline some of the arguments that can be used in persuading academics to contribute to a repository, based on some of their experiences at the Universities of Edinburgh and Nottingham, and ways of addressing common concerns. The award of prizes to top depositors, and publicly celebrating landmarks successes such as 1000 deposits celebrate landmarks such as 1000 depositsare reported by Kwan:Chok:Yip:2005(?). They also provide examples of how their repository has been used as a reference resource by people outside the institution—a point that can be made powerfully in presentations to academics. Phillips, Carr, and Teal (2005) also make this point.

References for Advocacy

(edit)Antelman, K. (2004). Do Open-Access Articles have a Greater Research Impact? College & Research Libraries, 65(5), 372–382.

(edit)Ashworth, S., Mackie, M., & Nixon, W. J. (2004). The DAEDALUS project, developing institutional repositories at Glasgow University: the story so far. Library Review, 53(5), 259–264.

(edit)Brody, T., & Harnad, S. (2004). Comparing the Impact of Open Access (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals. D-Lib Magazine, 10(6)., accessed on 20 April 2007.

(edit)Harnad, S. (2006) Maximizing Research Impact Through Institutional and National Open-Access Self-Archiving Mandates. In Proceedings of CRIS2006. Current Research Information Systems: Open Access Institutional Repositories (in press), Bergen, Norway. Jeffrey, K., Eds.

(edit)Horwood, L., Sullivan, S., Young, E., & Garner, J. (2004). OAI Compliant Institutional Repositories and the Role of Library Staff. Library Management, 25(4/5), 170.

(edit)Jones, R., Andrew, T., & MacColl, J. (2006). The Institutional Repository. Oxford: Chandos Publishing.

(edit)Kurtz, M., & Brody, T. (2006). The Impact Loss to Authors and Research. In J. Neil (Ed.), Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Oxford: Chandos.

(edit)Lawrence, S. (2001). Free Online Availability Substantially Increases a Paper’s Impact. Nature, 31.

(edit)Mark, T., & Shearer, K. (2006). Institutional Repositories: A Review of Content Recruitment Strategies. Paper presented at the World Library and Information Conference, Seoul.

(edit)Moed, H. F. (2005). Statistical Relationships Between Downloads and Citations at the Level of Individual Documents Within a Single Journal. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56(10), 1088–1097.

(edit)Nixon, W. J. (2002). The Evolution of an Institutional E-Prints Archive at the University of Glasgow. Ariadne, 32.

(edit)Phillips, H., Carr, R., & Teal, J. (2005). Leading Roles for Reference Librarians in Institutional Repositories: One Library’s Experience. Reference Services Review, 33(3), 301–311.

(edit)Pinfield, S. (2005). A Mandate to Self Archive? The Role of Open Access Institutional Repositories Serials, 18(1), 30–34.

(edit)Pinfield, S., Gardner, M., & MacColl, J. (2002). Setting up an Institutional E-Print Archive. Ariadne, 31.

(edit)Sale, A. (2006). The Impact of Mandatory Policies on ETD Acquisition. D-Lib Magazine, 12(4).

(edit)Suber, P. (2006). Open Access Overview: Focusing on open access to peer-reviewed research articles and their preprints., accessed on 20 April 2007.

(edit)Swan, A., & Brown, S. (2005). Open Access Self-Archiving: An Author Study. Technical Report, External Collaborators, Key Perspectives Inc. Cornwall: Key Perspectives Ltd., accessed on 20 April 2007.

(edit)Tschider, C. (2006). Investigating the “public” in the Public Library of Science: Gifting Economics in the Internet Community. First Monday, 11(6).

(edit)Wren, J. (2005). Open Access and Openly Accessible: A Study of Scientific Publications Shared Via the Internet British Medical Journal, 330(1128)., accessed on 20 April 2007.

Further reading

(edit)Bevan, S. J. (2005). Electronic Thesis Development at Cranfield University. Program: electronic library and information systems, 39(2), 100–111.

(edit)Brody, T., Harnad, S., & Carr, L. (2006). Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(8), 1060–1072.

(edit)Buehler, M. A., & Boateng, A. (2005). The Evolving Impact of Institutional Repositories on Reference Librarians. Reference Services Review, 33(3), 291–300.

(edit)Gao, F., Li, M., & Nakamori, Y. (2002). Systems Thinking on Knowledge and its Management: Systems Methodology for Knowledge Management. Journal of Knowledge Management, 6(1), 7–17.

New reference(s):

Page last modified on 05 October 2008 at 10:54 AM