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How do Universities and research institutions benefit from open access?

Research institutions benefit from open access in the following ways: increased visibility and presence on the Web; increased impact for research; the open access collection in the repository forms a complete record of the research output of the institution in easily accessible form, provides the means for the institution to manage its research programmes more effectively and to measure and assess its research programmes. Open repositories publicise an institute’s research strengths, providing maximum return on research investment. Institutions can mandate open repositories, speeding development.

Open repositories increase impact and usage of institute's research, providing new contacts and research partnerships for authors. Free and open source software is used to set up the repositories and institutions benefit from free technical support for installation and use. There are low installation and maintenance costs, repositories are quick to set up and gain benefits. And repositories provide usage statistics showing global interest and value of institutional research.

A JISC report authored by Alma Swan called “Modelling scholarly communication options: costs and benefits for universities” shows that a single large university could contribute around £3 million each year to the research community as a whole simply by sharing knowledge through a more open route. The study applied open access models to a representative group of universities, and reviewed the costs and benefits of each scenario. In terms of modelling, the work does two things: it identifies the costs and benefits of different scholarly communication scenarios; and it quantifies them, that is, it attaches actual values to cost elements in the processes involved and measures what economic outcomes emerge from modelling various scenarios. The outcomes of this modelling vary (eg by university) but, in all cases, open access options have the potential to save universities money.

Open repository can be a useful tool in day-to-day research management activities. Once research outputs are stored in the repository departmental research managers can use them as the definitive source of information for promotion panels and appraisals. It is part of a network, both formal and informal. Repositories could be linked to the institutional research management system (IRMS):  e.g. data from the finance office for research income, information on staffing from the human resources database and details of postgraduate numbers from the student records system. Using open access institutional repository in this way can lead to resource efficiencies across the institution. Without this arrangement the information about research outputs may otherwise need to be gathered from several individual departments or research groups.

(See the ( Briefing Paper written by Wendy White, University of Southampton Library, and edited by Alma Swan for OASIS [PDF]

For more information see: ( Institutional Advantages from Open Access in the OASIS; a ( Briefing Paper: What are Institutional Repositories? written by Alma Swan for OASIS [PDF]; and the ( Briefing Paper Institutional Repositories: Business Issues for Institutional Managers written by Alma Swan for OASIS [PDF].