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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

DRIVER study recommends OA mandates

Kwame van Eijndhoven and Maurits van der Graaf, Inventory study into the present type and level of OAI compliant Digital Repository activities in the EU, SURF Foundation.  The document is dated March 2007 but was apparently not released until late April.  Excerpt:

An inventory study into the current type and level of digital repository activity in the countries of the European Union has been carried out as part of the DRIVER project DRIVER project from June 2006 until February 2007. The study was carried out by a combination of a web survey, publication of results on a wiki and telephone interviews. The main results of this inventory study are as follows:

Digital repositories for research output have already been established in Europe over the last few years

  • There are an estimated 230 institutions with one or more digital repositories for research output in the European Union, of which about 50% participated in this study.
  • The situation per country differs:
    • In 7 EU countries there appear to be no research institutions with a digital repository for research output.
    • 5 EU countries seem to be in a starting phase, where a few institutions have set up such a repository.
    • In 15 EU countries a sizeable proportion of the research universities have implemented a digital repository for research output: in seven of these countries it is estimated that more than half of the research universities have done so.

These digital repositories contain mostly records related to textual materials, covering more than a third of the recent research output of the institution....

  • More than half of the respondents gave estimates about the coverage of their digital repository:
    • On average, the estimated percentage of academics delivering material to the digital repositories is 38%.
    • On average, the estimated percentage of research output of 2005 deposited in the digital repositories is 37%....

The participants in this study were asked various questions about their views on the importance of a number of factors with regard to the setting up and maintenance of digital repositories. The following seven factors came out as the most important: 

  • The increased visibility of academics’ publications
  • A simple and user-friendly depositing process
  • A mandatory policy for the depositing of the research output by the institute
  • An improvement in the situation with regard to the copyright of published materials 
  • Requirements by research funding organisations for the depositing of research output in repositories 
  • Awareness campaigns among academics 
  • Interest from decision-makers

It is clear from this study that digital research repositories are already strongly established in Europe. The further deployment and development of the digital repositories will follow a two-tier approach:

  • Deployment of digital repositories at research institutions that do not have one yet.
  • Increasing the coverage of the existing digital repositories of published and unpublished textual research output, with a possible future expansion of the coverage of digital repositories to other, non-textual types of research output (e.g. images, video, and research datasets).

The above-mentioned seven most important factors for developing and maintaining digital repositories with research output can be used to set a European action agenda, such as envisaged by the DRIVER project, in the following way:

  1. Increase the visibility of the research output in the digital repositories by improving retrieval via further development of search engines and subject indexing.
  2. Harmonise the work processes behind the depositing in order to facilitate an increase in the delivery of contents to the digital repositories.
  3. Advocacy for mandatory depositing policies: mandatory policies for the depositing of research output by the institution and - in line with this - requirements by research funding organisations for the depositing of research output in repositories, should be important goals for advocacy efforts according to the results of this study....