Digital institutional repositories are close to my heart and open access repositories more so. Good old Wikipedia tells us that a repository is “an online locus for collecting, preserving, and disseminating — in digital form — the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_repository)
Many people use the Web these days to search for information, at least that’s what the research says (for example, see the World Internet Project Report ) so it is important that the information is online. Having a digital institutional repository is a highly effective way of getting your research ‘out there’ particularly if is spidered by either Google or Google Scholar.
Recently there has been an initiative in New Zealand to provide an open access repository hosting service for Crown Research Institutes, and other content providers such as government departments who may not have the resources to do so themselves. It is called the Shared Research Repository Project and the initiative is funded by the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST) and developed by Digital NZ, with the National Library of NZ being the pilot participant.
Why do we care? Because publicly funded research often faces barriers in disseminating the results of its research.
An online repository will allow these institutions to sustainably manage, store and disseminate the research findings it accumulates. It allows the full text of that research to be easily discoverable and freely accessible to the public. It is yet to go live, but watch out for it when it does. I’m sure we will all want to link to it from our professional web pages.
This is a great initiative! Well done to MoRST, DigitalNZ and the National Library.