CIARD Virtual Fair - Pathway
Version 0.1 October 2009 - Download PDF
Technical and cultural barriers slow the acceptance of change by both individuals and institutions. You will need to address these barriers in your institution and with individual colleagues if change is to happen. This Pathway shows you how to start to advocate for the digital accessibility of research outputs. It tells you about the arguments and tools you can to use to encourage all stakeholders to work in the digital world.
What do you need to do?
1. You need to advocate for the development of supported and managed digital resources in your institution. All stakeholders (researchers, librarians, IT staff, administrators and students) need to know of the advantages that this will bring. This learning process can be stimulated through a campaign of presentations and other communication targeting the key stakeholders. The advantages to the institution and to the individual need to be made clear. But also important is the context of the bigger picture of research information nationally and internationally. A selection of the major benefits to strengthen the case for ‘going digital’ are shown below; see References for further help:
For the researcher:
• Increased visibility of research outputs and consequently visibility of the department and the institution.
• Potentially increased impact of researchers’ work. Research is made freely available and can be disseminated more widely and have greater impact.
• Helps the researcher manage and store digital content including the underlying research data and associated content.
• Helps researchers manage the increasing requirements of funding bodies for publications to be made available in a repository.
For the institution:
• Increases the visibility and prestige of an institution.
• Older research outputs can be digitized and become ‘born again digital’ adding further to individual and institutional prestige.
• A repository can integrate with other systems and maximise efficiencies between them by sharing information.
• Allows an institution to manage its’ intellectual property rights by raising awareness of copyright issues and recording of relevant rights information.
• A repository that contains high quality content can be used as a 'shop window' or marketing tool to attract staff, students and funding.
• A repository and other digital systems can store many types of content, not just that which is being published.
• Learning and teaching materials can be stored to increase the potential reuse, repurposing and sharing of the materials.
For the global research community:
• Assists research collaboration through facilitating free exchange of scholarly information.
• Aids in the public understanding of research endeavours and activities.
2. Your case will be strengthened by carrying out an information needs assessment, or by benchmarking accessibility, to show how information is currently produced and managed by your institution, and individuals within it, and the consequent benefits in moving to digital management.
3. Be clear about the strategy for digital development and for a repository. Include the following strategic elements right from the start:
• what is the repository going to do and why (manage institutional information better, promote the quality of your institution’s work, contribute to national research outputs, and so on)?
• most importantly, have a deposit mandate that requires all research outputs to be deposited in a repository;
• agree the content types, or types of output, to be digitally captured (research papers, field reports, training materials, books, theses, and whether text, images, videos, audio, and so on). Will this just be current outputs or are you going to digitize older materials as well?;
• how will content be added to the repository and who by?
• what will success look like? Agree factors such as deposit rates and turnaround times to track the successful use of the repository;
• plan for sustainability by carefully evaluating the resources required (both human and technical) at the start of the advocacy process. Present a business case. Be clear about hardware, software and staff costs. The benefits delivered should be related to the different stakeholders (within your institution, and in a national and international context) and how their needs are being met.
4. How do you change the culture of an institution? It is important to develop strategic plans collaboratively with all key stakeholders. An institution is driven by a combination of intellectual, emotional and political motivations. It is not easy to change hearts and minds – it takes time. This will be done through communication, persuasion, and the well managed strategic planning of developments. But the clarity of the benefits to all stakeholders will eventually win.
• Greece: ‘The case of "Eureka!" the Institutional Repository of Alexander Technological Educational Institution.’ (http://www.rsp.ac.uk/repos/casestudies/thessaloniki.php)
• Portugal: RepositoriUM Case History. University of Minho.
• UK: Oxford University Research Archive (ORA)
See further examples in the CIARD Pathway ‘Develop a Repository for Digital Content’.
Detailed advice and information on all aspects of advocacy and making your case within an institution and to colleagues can be found at: