Provost Appoints Coordinating Committee for Institutional Repository

In keeping with Chancellor G. David Gearhart's goal to move the University of Arkansas to the ranks of the top 50 universities in the country, Provost Sharon L. Gaber has formed a coordinating committee to investigate the possibility of implementing an institutional repository and an open-access initiative.

Co-chairs for the committee are Carolyn Henderson Allen, dean of University Libraries, and Jim M. Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development. Other committee members are Dennis Brewer, associate vice chancellor for information technology; Susan J. Adkins, deputy chief information officer of Information Technology Services; D. Rick McMullen, director of the High Performance Computing Center; Judy Ganson, director for collection management and Information Technology Services at the Libraries; and Randy Thompson, director of the Law Library.

The open-access trend in higher education is directly related to sponsored research. Many government-funded research grants now require open-access publishing of findings, papers, studies, and in some cases, data sets as a component of grant management. Some fields offer large aggregate open source databases in which research and findings may be published, such as PubMed; others do not. The institutions that have created institutional repositories to provide free access to materials published by their faculty in all fields find they are fast becoming an attractive alternative for collaboration in teaching and sharing research information.

The coordinating committee is charged with exploring the issues related to managing open access publishing functions and establishing an institutional repository infrastructure, as well as proposing solutions for oversight, assistance, and compliance. The committee will examine the benefits and drawbacks of open access models versus a university-maintained institutional repository, and will propose a solution outlining best practices, training, oversight and maintenance.

The provost will establish a faculty task force in the next month, which will be charged with assessing the faculty needs on this campus, deciding whether to recommend an open access model for our campus, and proposing parameters for repository features and intellectual content (data sets, pre-prints, working papers, journal articles, dissertations, etc.).

Gaber noted, "An institutional repository has the potential to open up the university's output to a wide audience, including the citizens of Arkansas, who potentially could benefit from research being conducted right here in our state. It would help move us toward achieving two of Chancellor G. David Gearhart's TAP goals, by being transparent and accountable to the people of Arkansas and by marshaling the university's expertise to grow the state's knowledge-based economy."


Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs
Academic Affairs

Carolyn Henderson Allen, dean
University Libraries

Kalli Vimr, public relations coordinator
University Libraries

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