SUNScholar/Practical guidelines for starting an institutional repository (IR)

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These guidelines are targeted at academic institutions world wide, who want to start an online open access research repository archive and who want to build long term support capacity for open scholarship publishing practice. The focus during development of the open system has been long term research repository preservation and interoperability on the internet using the self-hosting value proposition.


Convenient Shortened Web Links

Please use the following shortened links when referencing this guide in academic literature or on other web sites.
PS: It is also easy to remember should you want to do an online presentation using this guide, to promote/solicit institutional support.


Before beginning or continuing your institutional repository project and selecting a repository software platform, it is essential that you read the following written by Dorothea Salo about the wrong ways to manage an online open access research repository:

  1. How to Scuttle a Scholarly Communication Initiative
  2. Innkeeper at the Roach Motel
  3. The Heron's Way

This seems to be a symptom of many current institutional repositories which must be avoided if they are to succeed.

The symptom being; assigning the wrong people who are digitally illiterate, unskilled, untrained, poorly rewarded, lacking clear management/operational goals and the required resources, to manage open online scholarly publishing systems in the library.

Basic things to consider before starting

It is assumed that the institution is prepared to make provision for the following baseline information technology (IT) infrastructure:

  1. A primary production data center and two backup data centers in different geophysical locations for the purposes of disaster recovery.
  2. Institutional internet access for the primary production server.
  3. A test/development/training server for customisation testing, user training and to use as a gateway platform for software and hardware upgrades.

It is also assumed that the institution is aware of the critical importance of data sovereignty and data authenticity, especially in light of the following;

12 steps to an accredited open access research repository archive

After reading all of the steps below and then taking time to slowly and carefully install a test prototype system on some spare or old/retired server hardware, it should be possible, with the knowledge and experience gained, to derive a business plan/model to solicit funding or prepare a fairly comprehensive initial capital expenditure foundation budget and then a production implementation plan/schedule for long term support and management.

Step 01 - Open Access Policy, Repository Preservation and Audit
Step 02 - Marketing Friendly (Vanity URL), Persistent URL and Preservable Digital Objects
Step 03 - Employ Repository Management Personnel
Step 04 - Build Repository IT Infrastructure
Step 05 - Install DSpace Repository Software
Step 06 - Repository System Backup & Monitoring
Step 07 - Repository Launch and Registration with Harvesters
Step 08 - Capture Research Records and Submit Research Items
Step 09 - Repository Self-Help and News
Step 10 - Engage Research Partners
Step 11 - Continuous System Improvement and Maintenance (Preserve forever)
Step 12 - Repository Support and Management Help

Latest information for systems using DSpace with an Ubuntu based server

Use the online wiki when doing test/development/production/backup system installations because the wiki has the latest information. See the links below.



Click on the heading above to view a full list of references.

In addition click here, to view the IRTalk mailing list archive that provided further insight for the guide.

This wiki page was created on: 19:19, 29 July 2012‎