17.02.2014 - Communication & Information Sector

UNESCO publishes Guidelines to compare Institutional Repository Software

Publication cover. © UNESCO

The Guidelines to compare Institutional Repository Software is being published as part of the UNESCO’s Open Access Strategy. It compares the features of the major platforms and is intended to help libraries focus on which features will help facilitate the success of their repository.

Within the framework of the overarching objective of “Enabling Universal Access and Preservation of Information and Knowledge”, UNESCO focuses on policy development, capacity building, standard setting, partnerships and collaborations, and on playing the role of  a clearing-house on Open Access as a forum for international cooperation, exchange of dialogue and reflection. It promotes long-term solutions for OA based on an inclusive and rights-based  approach in the framework of the follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and in line with the mandate of the Information for All Programme (160 EX/Decision 3.6.1). In order to achieve this goal, UNESCO’s work in the area of Open Access has been divided into three core areas: Provision of upstream policy advice and building partnerships; Strengthening capacities to adopt OA; and Serve as a clearing-house and informing the global OA debate.

In order to strengthen the capacities to adopt OA of the Member States, UNESCO has been implementing various activities to enhance institutional capacity to develop, maintain and sustain OA repositories and journals. Open Access Repositories (OARs) enable enhanced access to scholarship as there are no barriers of restrictions or prohibitive rights over the content. The current publication compares the five most widely adopted IR platforms: Digital Commons, Dspace, Eprints, Fedora, and Islandora.

Institutional Repositories (IRs) were first developed as an online solution for collecting, preserving, and disseminating the scholarship of universities, colleges, and other research institutions. Since 2000, a number of repository platforms have been developed, each with their own set of benefits and technical criteria. All of these put libraries exploring IRs for the first time in an enviable position. The products have richer feature sets, and all the major platforms are available as a hosted service, which arguably has a lower total cost of ownership and is less time-consuming than running an IR locally. Librarians are now truly free to compare platforms by focusing on the critical features that will address their needs and make their repositories successful.

Jean-Gabriel Bankier and Kenneth Gleason of the bepress contributed to the development of the text. Devika Madalli also contributed to the drafting of the text. 

UNESCO promotes Open Access (OA), with particular emphasis on scientific information (journal articles, conference papers and datasets of various kinds) emanating from publicly funded research. Working with partners, UNESCO works to improve awareness about the benefits of OA among policy makers, researchers and knowledge managers. Through its global network of Field Offices, Institutes and Centers, UNESCO facilitates the development and adoption of OA-enabling policies. In addition, UNESCO engages in global OA debates and cooperates with local, regional and global initiatives in support of OA. 

To download the Institutional Repository Software Comparison please click here.

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