Friday, 9 July 2010

Steady progress of IRs in developing countries

A valuable report on progress in establishing open access institutional repositories in developing and transition nations has been published in the recent eIFL Newsletter. For the full report, see here, or follow the links from the eIFL Newsletter shown on the right hand toolbar. A summary from the report is attached below, followed by a few general comments and conclusions provided by EPT.

Report on Open Repository Development in Developing and Transition countries

The aim of the study was to create an inventory of current digital repository activities in developing and transition countries at both the infrastructure and services level. The study was conducted with the cooperation of, the University of Kansas Libraries, the DRIVER project and Key Perspectives Ltd.
Over the course of six months, 49 repositories from 20 countries on three continents participated in this survey. The following countries are represented: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Namibia, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan, Ukraine, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

As of May 20, 2010, The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) lists 277 repositories from these 20 countries (> half are from Brazil, India and Taiwan). Note: the repositories responding to this survey are not all listed in the ROAR database.

The main findings were:

• 66% of responding institutions maintain a digital repository for research output, and 15% maintain more than one digital repository for research output.

• Visibility, access, and preservation were the most important motivations cited by participating institutions to establish a repository.

• The responses show an increasing rate of growth of repositories over the last several years, and indicate that these repositories are for the most part very new services.

• Libraries play a major role in advocating and maintaining repositories.

• Theses and dissertations are the most common type of material in the responding institutions' repositories. Other common material includes full-text of research articles as peer-reviewed postprints, journals published from the institution, and conference papers.

• The majority of participating institutions (56%) stated that less than 25% of the researchers or faculty members at their institutions have deposited material in the repository. One institute recorded 100% deposit rate – this institute has an OA deposit mandate.

• About two-thirds of the participating institutions use some form of mediated deposit in which staff members or librarians are directly involved in the deposit of materials into the repository.

• DSpace is the most common software package, used by 57% of participating institutions.

• More than one third of participating institutions (38%) do not have any official policy with regard to depositing material. In others there may be some partial requirement or encouragement.

• The following services were listed in order of priority for further development: general search engines, preservation services, open access advocacy, disciplinary services, citation index services, usage statistics services, cataloguing services, deposit, publishing and printing services, repository hosting services.

EPT Comments: This report shows an encouraging start to the process of making developing country research more widely available. Most of the IRs are new, but the rate of increase is strong. [A check in the ROAR database on July 10th 2010 shows the total number of IRs from these 20 countries is now 315, an increase of 38 in 6 weeks; the total increase is likely to be greater than this as not all IRs are registered in ROAR].

It is clear that where an OA deposit mandate is in place, the rate of deposit is very good, confirming reported trends globally. The greatest benefit is seen by the respondents to be an increase in the visibility of institutional research. The value of OA IRs to increase citations and as a tool for administrative and promotional purposes is currently seen as of lower importance compared with the overriding need to transform poorly-known local research into a global resource. This report indicates that OA IRs are seen as a means to level the playing field in research communication.

A broader check in the ROAR database on the same date, including all developing countries, shows that in total there are 441 OA IRs now established in developing countries. This is ~ 25% of the total of ~1800 to date. Considering the more restricted resources available in these regions, this shows a growing understanding of the benefits OA can provide in strengthening research in the developing world.

No comments: