Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Measuring the impact of an IR

Gwenda Thomas, Evaluating the Impact of the Institutional Repository, or Positioning Innovation Between a Rock and a Hard Place, New Review of Information Networking, November 2007.  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:

Repositories remain an innovative but marginalised technology largely because there is no consensus about an agreed set of Performance Indicators (PIs) that demonstrate their overall impact on the research enterprise of our universities. A successful institutional repository (IR) should be evaluated in terms of the extent to which the open access repository builds a critical mass of scholarly content which is sustained and available through active university community engagement and ongoing scholarly contributions (faculty, researchers and students) that, when managed efficiently and effectively, ultimately strengthen, promote and give visibility to the research enterprise of the institution, and bring benefit to broader society. However, librarians are grappling with what and how best to demonstrate 'institutional good' but without clear evidence, assessment is fed by perception based on limited information which leads to diminished impact and value of the facility, a tyranny described as being caught between a rock and a hard place. Using Illuminative Evaluation to design a series of quantitative and qualitative metrics, it is proposed that a distinction be made between significant and secondary PIs where the former gather evidence to demonstrate the overall effect or impact of the IR on the individual and collective research community.