At their most basic level, Institutional repositories are a way of collecting and preserving the intellectual and creative output of your campus. Your library can set up guidelines and encourage the use of your IR to house the research, writing, and creative works born of the work and collaboration of members of your campus. The works housed in an IR can include works that have been published in other ways and works that have never been published before, expanding and creating new audiences for these works. The focus of IRs can vary from one to the next. Some may place more importance on access to research and the stimulation of innovation, while others may be motivated by the desire to reform the current model of scholarly communication.
PALNI has been working towards a consortial institutional repository for some time. Using our method of “Deep Collaboration” across institutions, the first iteration of the cross-institutional IR Task Force identified a true need in 2013. In surveying the PALNI supported libraries, the group found that over 70% did not have an IR system in place, and over 65% were interested in participating in a collaborative IR system. Budget constraints were and remain a large factor—the greatest impediment identified in the survey. Following closely behind were staffing limitations and insufficient technological support, highlighting the impact that management of an IR at the consortial level might have. In 2017, PALNI hired a Scholarly Communications Director in part to manage the development of the IR, and the IR Task Force was rebooted. Given that capacity, and the priority established in PALNI’s 2017-2020 strategic plan, we are now ready to evaluate, select, and implement an IR system.