Library Philosophy and Practice 2012
An Analytical Study of Institutional Digital Repositories in India
Bijan Kumar Roy
Dr. Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay
Dr. Subal Chandra Biswas
The Open Access movement is a social movement. The movement traces its history at least back to the 1960s, but became much more prominent in the 1990s with the advent of digital communications, in particular the Internet. Before the advent of internet, File Transfer Protocol, gopher, and the World Wide Web were used to increase availability of scholarly material by lowering the barriers to distribution. It has since become the subject of much discussion among researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, and learned-society publishers. Prior to the advent of the Internet publishers and academic societies dominated scholarly communication, and researchers channeled their research output solely through authoritative publishers and academic societies. Now different models are being developed to provide access, manage costs, and manage an organization's scholarly output, especially at colleges and universities. The currently evolving model is referred to as Open Access. The two schools of thought within Open Access are the journal reform school, and the self-archiving school.
IR: Some thoughts
Institutional repositories are becoming prevalent in academic sector. In the face of rising costs, flat budgets, and restricted access to information, as well as rapid changes in technology, scholarly practice, and patron expectations, libraries of any type or size have been challenged to maintain their depth of collections and high level of services. IRs are being established for a variety of reasons:
i) to support open access movement;
ii) to provide access to the public funded research;
iii) to provide open access to the institution's output; and
iv) to support preservation and so on.
A repository can hold wide range of materials in different forms and formats for scholarly communications. It can support research, learning, and scholarly communication processes of an organization. If it is properly developed, it advances a number of goals and addresses an impressive range of needs.
Few years ago, Institutional repository initiatives were initiated only in some developed countries. In India, Institutional repository movement was started in 2004 and is gaining momentum and new initiatives are emerging around the country. Institutional repositories are already well established in many IITs, IIMs and other institutes having national importance. Institutional Repository has become an essential part or component of digital library that provides an alternative platform for sharing knowledge globally. Institutional Repository has four characteristics as defined by Johnson (2002). They are mentioned below:
In simplest terms, a digital repository is where digital content, assets, are stored and can be searched and retrieved for later use. A repository supports mechanisms to import, export, identify, store and retrieve digital assets.
According to the SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) position paper on institutional repositories "an institutional repository is a digital archive of the intellectual product created by faculty, research staff, and students of an institution, with few if any barriers to access"(Crow, 2002)
According to Lynch (2003), "a university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution."
University Grants Commission (2005) has already developed a policy document on building University level Institutional Digital Repository (http://www.ugc.ac.in/new_initiatives/etd_hb.pdf) in India. UGC has recommended that all the universities should set up theses repository to facilitate e-submission, archiving, maintenance and access to these repository at the university level. University Grants Commission (2005) enacted "UGC (Submission of Metadata and Full-text of Doctoral Theses in Electronic Format) Regulations, 2005" to strengthen national capability of producing electronic theses and dissertations, and, to maintain university-level and national level databases of theses and dissertations. This Regulation proposed two sets of planned actions, such as:
Another government organization, National Knowledge Commission (2007) strongly advocates open access to public-funded research literature and recently has taken initiative for building nation wide institutional Repository. Bangalore declaration (2006) drafted a model National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries also support this view and advocated for open access institutional repository. Some professional associations and societies like Developing Library Network (DELNET), INFLIBNET (Information Library Network) are also involved in modernization of libraries, training and setting up the IRs.
Growth and Development of IDRs
Many universities and research institutes in India have developed institutional repository for archiving documents of their own. It is not only limited to Science and Technology but also on other disciplines. More than 60 academic and research institutions have set up their Institutional Repositories as indicated by ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repository) and DOAR (Directory of Open Access Repository) viz., IISc, IIMK, ISI, NCL, NIO, RRU, NAL, NIT and so on. There are a few institutions have not registered in ROAR or DOAR. Recently, MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) has also advised all INDEST members (Indian National Digital Library in Engineering, Sciences and Technology) to set up institutional repository using open source software. The following table shows the growth and development of IR in India.
Growth of IDRs
Table 1: Growth Rate of Repository (year-wise)
Figure 1: Growth Rate of Repository (year-wise)
Figure 2: Growth Rate of Repository (year-wise)
The growth rate of IDRs per year is not satisfactory in compare to other developed countries. Few repositories have not registered in DOAR or in ROAR and did not provide information about registration.
Study of IDRs
From DOAR and ROAR, I have recorded 60 (See Annexure – 1) repositories for this study. Although there is a vast difference in number of repositories registered in ROAR and DOAR. As per ROAR the total number of repository is 60, whereas in DOAR only 42 repositories have been registered (as on 24/12/2010). I have not considered those repositories which are hosted on Intranet/LAN. I have not also considered those repositories have not provided information regarding number of records, software used, subject covered, content type etc.
Types of Repository
There are different types of repositories available in open access mode. As per ROAR, repositories have been categorized as follow:
Table 2: Types of Repository
Out of a total of 60 repositories, 39 (65%) are research institutional, 4 (6.67%) are cross institutional, 6 (10%) are e-theses, and 4 (6.67%) are e-journal and 2 (3.33) are learning repository in nature.
Figure 3: Types of Repository
There are only 4 (four) subject base repository (National Informatics Centre, National Centre for Catalysis Research, Librarians Digital Library and Open Agri) and 5 (five) repositories contain theses and dissertations (Indian Institute of Science, National Institute of Technology, Vidhyanidhi, Mahatma Gandhi University, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research).
Number of Objects
Based on data and statistics as given by 60 repositories, it appears that there is a vast difference amongst repositories in terms of average number of digital objects contained. A few IDRs have strong collections whereas others have uploaded minimum number of objects. Few repositories have not mentioned the number of objects uploaded.
Type of Objects
The selected IDRs considered for this study contains a wide variety of digital objects. Generally it has been found that institutional repository contents full-text contents of journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, monographs, research reports, project reports, theses, dissertations, patents, presentations, computer programs, tutorials, convocation addresses, audio materials, video materials, course materials, multimedia materials, handbooks, data books, technical manuals etc. As far types of the digital objects are concerned, this study groups the digital objects in the following broad groups.
Open source digital library packages are gaining popularity nowadays. The different IRs use different types of open source software like Dspace, Eprints, Greenstone, Nitya, etc. Few IRs have not mentioned about type of software used. It is clear from the study that the DSpace software 35 (59%) has the most installations followed by EPrints 20 (33%). Greenstone is used by 2 (3%) repository and stands 3rd position. Nitya is used by only 1 repository. The table (3) shows the software used by the different repositories:
Table 3: Repositories by Software Type
Figure 4: Repositories by Software Type
Few repositories have accumulated special items other than books, theses, articles, journals, reports etc. The special items are mentioned below:
Only a few repositories have customized their interface other than English language and provide email alerting services to notify their users of newly added materials.
From the above study of 60 Indian repositories, it is found that
Growth rate of IRs per year is quite low in compare to other developed countries;
IDRs are at a critical point in their development. Although growth of IR initiatives is quite satisfactory in compare with other developing countries. Based on the background information and discussion presented in this paper, it is found that there is scope for developing a 'Best Practice Guidelines' for designing institute-oriented IDR. Manpower requirements, quality and quantity of contents, metadata standards, technical specifications, copyrights barrier, and policy issues are major concerns that need to be addressed for developing IDRs as component of open access knowledge movement. However, the findings of our study suggest that IDRs could become a compelling and useful tool for collecting, organizing and disseminating intellectual output of an institute. If properly implemented with the existing practices, IDRs has the potential to fulfill many unmet expectations.
Bangalore Declaration (2006): A National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries. Retrieved February 01, 2011 from http://www.ncsi.iisc.ernet.in/OAworkshop2006/pdfs/NationalOAPolicyDCs.pdf
Crow, Raym. (2002). The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper. Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved April, 2010 from http://www.arl.org/sparc/IR/ir.html.
Directory of Open Access Repository (2011). Home page of DOAR. Retrieved January 21, 2011, from http://www.opendoar.org/countrylist.php?cContinent=Asia
Johnson, R.K. (2002). Institutional repositories: partnering with faculty to enhance scholarly communication. D-Lib Magazine, 8 (11). Retrieved April 21, 2010, from http://www.dlib.org/dlib/november02/johnson/11johnson.html
Lynch, C. (2003). Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age. ARL Bimonthly Report 226. Retrieved May 21, 2010, from www.arl.org/newsltr/226/ir.html
National Knowledge Commission (2007). Report of the Working Group on Open Access and Open Educational Resources. New Delhi: National Knowledge Commission. Retrieved January 05, 2011 from http://knowledgecommission.gov.in/downloads/documents/wg_open_course.pdf
Registry of Open Access Repositories (2011). Home page of ROAR. Retrieved January 21, 2011, from http://roar.eprints.org/index.php?action=search&query=india
University Grants Commission (2005). UGC (Submission of Metadata and Full-text of Doctoral Theses in Electronic Format) Regulations. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from www.ugc.ac.in/new_initiatives/etd_hb.pdf.
Annexure – 1: List of IDRs under study