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D-Lib article about Cornell's Institutional Repository

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D-Lib Magazine
March/April 2007
Volume 13 Number 3/4

ISSN 1082-9873
Institutional Repositories
Evaluating the Reasons for Non-use of Cornell University's Installation of
DSpace, by

Philip M. Davis
Cornell University
<pmd8@cornell.edu> (corresponding author)

Matthew J. L. Connolly
Cornell University


Problem: While there has been considerable attention dedicated to the
development and implementation of institutional repositories, there has
been little done to evaluate them, especially with regards to faculty

Purpose: This article reports on a three-part evaluative study of institutional repositories. We describe the contents and participation in Cornell's DSpace and compare these results with seven university DSpace installations. Through in-depth interviews with eleven faculty members in the sciences, social sciences and humanities, we explore their attitudes, motivations, and behaviors for non-participation in institutional repositories.

Results: Cornell's DSpace is largely underpopulated and underused by its faculty. Many of its collections are empty, and most collections contain few items. Those collections that experience steady growth are collections in which the university has made an administrative investment, such are requiring deposits of theses and dissertations into DSpace. Cornell faculty have little knowledge of and little motivation to use DSpace. Many faculty use alternatives to institutional repositories, such as their personal Web pages and disciplinary repositories, which are perceived to have higher community salience than one's affiliate institution. Faculty gave many reasons for not using repositories: redundancy with other modes of disseminating information, the learning curve, confusion with copyright, fear of plagiarism and having one's work scooped, associating one's work with inconsistent quality, and concerns about whether posting a manuscript constitutes "publishing".

Conclusion: While some librarians perceive a crisis in scholarly communication as a crisis in access to the literature, Cornell faculty perceive this essentially as a non-issue. Each discipline has a normative culture, largely defined by their reward system and traditions. If the goal of institutional repositories is to capture and preserve the scholarship of one's faculty, institutional repositories will need to address this cultural diversity.