An End To Institutional Repositories?

Petermr’s blog recently had a post about the how institutional repositories don’t deal well with dynamic scientific data. The post can be found at: http://blogs.ch.cam.ac.uk/pmr/2011/08/21/talks-data-journals-and-datasharers-for-science/. This shouldn’t be taken the wrong way. In a previous post, Petermr’s Blog outlines several criteria for a good repository (http://blogs.ch.cam.ac.uk/pmr/2011/08/19/criteria-for-successful-repositories/). However, this blog post reminds us that institutional repositories are great for static digital objects with which an institution would like to preserve or mange over time for the benefit of that institution. When it comes to scientific data, however, much of it is not static. Researchers have needs for versioning, distributed repositories, ability for both long and short term storage, terms of use, more ways to share the data and citations, etc. With this in mind, institutional repositories are unable to handle this type of dynamic approach to data. More often than not, most institutional repositories are unable to handle the size of many of the datasets out there created by scientists. This is not to say that institutional repositories should be replaced with something different and better. Definitely not! Institutional repositories have their place in many institutions and supply a much needed service for static objects that need to be preserved and managed for an institution. However, with the advance in dynamic data and datasets, there needs be another type of service for researchers. Some institutions have already gone in this direction. The Dataverse Network is one such project from the partners of DATA-Pass (http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/DATAPASS/about.jsp). It will be interesting to see what other “Data-Share” projects pop up to respond to this need.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “An End To Institutional Repositories?

  1. Great post – you may want to look at IR+ which is an attempt to address some of the issues you mention. It is an open source institutional repository that has a collaborative workspace, researcher pages and an institutional repository all in a single application. This project was all backed by two IMLS funded resarch projects one that looked at the work practices of faculty and another that looked at those of graduate students. You can find out more here: http://irplus.org
    +1

  2. I was scanning something else regarding this on another blog. Interesting, your perspective on it is diametrically opposed to what I read previously. I’m still reflecting over the various points of view, but I am inclined to a great extent toward yours. And irrespective, that’s what is so good about modern democracy and the marketplace of thoughts online.

  3. Self-serving and biased suggestion: Have a glance at Islandora as well. (Disclaimer: I work for DiscoveryGarden Inc., Islandora’s service-and-support arm.)

    So yes, we know, and we’re taking stabs at fixing the problem. 🙂

  4. Nate

    Great post – you may want to look at IR+ which is an attempt to address some of the issues you mention. It is an open source institutional repository that has a collaborative workspace, researcher pages and an institutional repository all in a single application. This project was all backed by two IMLS funded resarch projects one that looked at the work practices of faculty and another that looked at those of graduate students. You can find out more here: http://irplus.org

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