Re: Controlling costs and risks for IRs

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 11:33:24 +1100

The multi-functional IRs are not for working papers, etc, but from my
observation are for digitizing historical or cultural collections, putting
image collections online, supporting teaching ("teaching objects"),
supporting institution administration (workplace repository), and supporting
reporting functions to government. I've seen the phenomenon in Australia
starting two years ago: big bucks are easy to get grants for blue-sky
ventures, which commits the applicants for several years ahead, and OA takes
a very distant last.

David's last comments are correct: conflating the two is proving to be
disadvantageous to OA.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Sent: Thursday, 1 December 2005 17:26
> Subject: Re: [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM] Controlling costs and
> risks for IRs
> There are some universities where it is considerably easier to get
> widespread support for a large multifaceted
> expensive project, than to obtain the more
> limited support from for a small one.
> I can even see how some software developers might find
> much greater interest in developing new and complicated
> sites than in implementing something simple and
> already understood and available. Some of us may ourselves
> be involved with projects for such future development.
> The response of OA advocates should
> be to enthusiastically support the big project, and also build immediately
> a small project to meet the immediate OA needs. This can
> even be seen as an appropriate pilot.
> Every university does have use for a multi-functional IR
> for internal documents, working papers, etc. This is
> material that would otherwise be scattered among multiple
> web-sites, and for which the large IR would be the primary
> site, with all the archival complexities that this entails.
> The faculty and other researchers of every university certainly
> immediately need enough of a IR to serve for OA, quickly and cheaply built
> along the lines Steven suggests, that need not have such complexities
> and responsibilities. Should one not buy any computer at all until one
> can afford a high-end workstation?
> Eventually, the OA service might be incorporated in the larger project.
> For the year or two it will take to build the larger project, the
> university will have an adequate location for OA to its research.
> A university without one is as crippled as a university without a library.
> It might clarify things if we had a different name for the two sorts
> of IR, and I ask the list for suggestions.
> Dr. David Goodman
> Associate Professor
> Palmer School of Library and Information Science
> Long Island University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Steve Hitchcock
> Sent: Wed 11/30/2005 2:22 PM
> To:
> Subject: Controlling costs and risks for IRs
> Some eye-opening costs for running IRs have emerged recently, highlighting
> the dangers of setting specifications based on extended and possibly
> untested functionality, that go well beyond what is needed for Open
> e.g.
> The former reveals less about IR software than the wide range of
> specifications that are intended to pass as IRs.
> The latter lists an extended range of functions for an IR, then admits
> there are currently no turnkey solutions to support this list, only
> solutions, and that this specification is costly: "three-year start-up
> costs for hardware and software alone are over $300,000", without
> staff costs apparently.
> Most other institutions just want to get an IR up and running quickly at
> low cost.
> A fully functioning IR to capture and make accessible all the research
> outputs of an institution can be achieved at a fraction of highest cost
> To prove it the newly launched EPrints Services team offers a range of
> service packages from supporting local hosting to a fully hosted service
> This approach also goes some way to reducing an institution's risk on
> To understand why IRs are needed and how to build one, Professor Arthur
> Sale, a developer of software to measure usage of IRs, offers a practical
> approach
> The higher costs in the examples above almost certainly include more
> complex and costly DL-inspired functionality for IRs, which will arrive,
> but these investigations can be left to others for now. As Arthur Sale
> it: "Can people fly flags and ring bells over conquering Everest when it
> turns out to be Highgate Hill?"
> Steve Hitchcock
> EPrints Community Manager
> IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
> University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
> Email:
> Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865
Received on Fri Dec 02 2005 - 02:27:39 GMT

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