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Project business case and benefits

There are many potential benefits an institutional repository can achieve and these exist at various levels, from the individual researcher to the university as a whole.

Benefits for the academic researcher:

  1. increase the visibility of your research findings, your work is easier to disseminate, easier to find and easier to read
  2. make it easier to manage your list of publications on your personal website and your organisations website
  3. give you a place where your scholarly works are permanently stored, whether they are a PDF of a journal article, a Microsoft Word document of a technical report, a Microsoft PowerPoint file of a conference poster, a JPEG file of a photograph, an audio file of a musical performance or a video file of a speech
  4. enable a simple web address to your piece of work that can be cited in subsequent works or easily refer other interested parties too
  5. make possible easy access to materials previously only available in print e.g. theses, dissertations
  6. give an indicator of the impact your research is having in your field, help identify who is reading your work (or at least from where they are accessing it) and encourage impact to be more related to the merit of your work and not the name of the journal in which it is finally published
  7. offer new opportunities for publishing your works e.g. as part of a virtual journal, for others to comment on your work and provide feedback
  8. encourage others to do the same, so you can easily find and read the work of your colleagues and others
  9. make it easier to keep a breast of the latest research findings (certainly within the institute)
  10. for those working in a fast-moving field e.g. computer sciences or electronics, enable quick and dated dissemination or your research findings, which could establish prior discovery
  11. have a safe, backed-up and secure place to store your scholarly works
  12. have an organized single point of reference for your work, accessible 24/7, readable from any web-enabled device (Windows PC, Apple MAC, PDA, mobile phone), from work, from home, while you are abroad at a conference etc
  13. reduce your workload associated with managing your portfolio of scholarly works (or at least not add to it)
  14. improve your understanding of copyright, make you aware of your rights and maximise the return of your efforts
  15. meet and manage the requirements of funding bodies with respect to disseminating your research outputs and ensure you can confidently tick this box on new funding applications

Benefits for research administrators, research managers, librarians, and senior academic staff, Heads of Faculty/School:

  1. provide new opportunities for the archiving and preservation of valuable digital works
  2. provide meaningful reports on scholarly work, which can act as a barometer of research activity in a particular field, help to identify trends and inform managers involved in strategic planning
  3. provide timely alert messages on latest submissions which can increase awareness and responsiveness of support functions and managers
  4. facilitate cross-boundary research, by cataloguing scholarly works according to the subject material and not (solely) the affiliation of the author
  5. reduce duplication of records and inconsistencies in multiple instances of the same works
  6. reduce some of the mundane activities of managing digital collections by automating common tasks and harvesting information from other sources

Benefits for the University (and its component parts):

  1. demonstrate to its employees, in particular the academic community, that individuals and their work are valued, by supporting mechanisms that reduce workload and maximise the benefits to them of their efforts
  2. provide a reference point for scholarly works that can interoperate with other systems and maximise efficiencies between them by sharing information
  3. increase the visibility, reputation and prestige of the institution
  4. improve the accuracy and completeness of the institution’s record of scholarly works
  5. ease the management of an institution’s intellectual property rights by raising awareness of copyright issues and facilitating the recording of relevant rights information
  6. provide a resource of information for a 'shop window' or marketing tool to show others how the institution is making a difference, this would act to entice staff, students and funding
  7. act as a tool to support externally and internally driven audits of research activity e.g. annual reviews, Research Assessment Exercise
  8. reduce total cost and risk of ownership, in particular incurred by an institution’s component parts who might be supporting equivalent services locally (or at least allow local resource to be allocated to alternative activities)
  9. offer greater flexibility and integration than other mechanisms of disseminating scholarly works (e.g. disparate independent system/websites) with more coherent security and preservation of digital materials
  10. contribute to the mission and values of an institute, in terms of openness, freedom-of-speech and equality-for-all

Benefits for the global community:

  1. assist research collaboration through facilitating free exchange of scholarly information
  2. aid the public understanding of research endeavours and activity
  3. reduce costs (or at least allow their reallocation) associated with publisher subscriptions