Hints and tips for implementation of an IR

How Knowledge and Library Service staff can potentially support an IR.

We have compiled the following guide so that you can quickly see where Knowledge and Library Service staff can potentially support an IR.

In Libraries: roles and opportunities on open science (opens in a window), the author talks about libraries as enablers:

  “Libraries have adapted their role and are now active in the preservation, curation, publication and dissemination of digital scientific materials, in the form of publications, data and other research-related content. Libraries and repositories constitute the physical infrastructure that allows scientists to share use and reuse the outcome of their work, and they have been essential in the creation of the Open Science movement” 

Success factors for the implementation of an institutional repository

Here we have listed the needed to be considered for the successful implementation of an Institutional Repository (IR). It draws on the evidence identified in the literature searches conducted for this project around methods for engaging staff, identifying (and overcoming) barriers to Library & Knowledge Services (KLS) involvement and methods to assist with implementation.

Based on our reading and knowledge, we aim to give an example of how the project group think KLS might be able to support these factors.

Acceptance by target audience

  • Ensure that the organisation “needs” an IR (i.e. it can be seen to add value” and it is easy to use
  • Collaboration is important and a flexible mission statement will help
  • Set reasonable expectations, this may not meet everyone’s demands on day 1 but you can persuade people that the system will continue to develop
  • Don’t use jargon

Adding value

  • Describe benefits and encourage use
  • Doesn’t exist anywhere else in the organisation
  • Increased citations and impact of research activity for individuals and therefore improve research status of organisation
  • Information that is easily used in annual reports and funding bids
  • Staff support

Archiving/preservation polices/ Facilitates archiving/ Provides a safe, long term home for materials

Utilising existing information management skills

Content type/ Content recruitment/ Self-archiving/ Mediate deposits

  • In collaboration with key stakeholders decide on what content is to be added and how content will be added (all content to be added by users; all content to be added by KLS staff; a mix of these) but be prepared to be flexible and give alternatives – KLS staff can train users to add their own content
  • Research activities can be anything from a presentation through to the final published article
  • Repositories don’t need to be just research
  • Harvest content from existing sources (adding value by taking administrative tasks off clinical/academic staff)
  • Solely relying on self-archiving seems to be something you want to avoid if you want a successful IR with enough content especially to start with to engage users and showcase the system. However, most LKS will have limited resources so getting as many staff to self-archive as possible is important

Funding model

  • Find funding for initial costs and on-going costs which includes software, licenses and staff. You need to fully understand the costs involved when you choose the system especially if it is coming out of the library budget

Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright policies

  • Implementing copyright standards
  • Understanding open access (dispelling myths that open access means no peer review and/or inferior quality)
  • Using the expertise of the NHS copyright queries group which has representatives in each region. [email protected]
  • Knowing your organisational IP policy and the name of the contact in your organisation with responsibility for this
  • Keeping up to date (and keeping others up to date)
  • Training others


  • Investigation other systems in your organisation to see if an IR can be linked/doesn’t duplicate and also ensure it works with any other relevant systems


  • Implement, monitor and produce statistical reports on use/impact. Can users get statistics needed for reports they do?

Organisational culture/ Community driven and community focused/  Mandate/institutional support

  • Understanding your culture and develop an IR that reflects and complements this
  • Develop an IR that is relevant and led by your organisation 


  • Raise awareness of library involvement in the IR
  • “shamelessly/aggressively” promoting the IR:
  • Library & institutional newsletters and webpages
  • one to one training; group training; departmental meetings
  • displays
  • targeted emails – using existing networks and contacts

Quality control

  • Ensuring quality of content including up-to-date versions  and addressing any issues

Software/ Robust technological infrastructure

  • Name – call it something meaningful/appropriate (people need to know what it is)
  • Using skills to select/design appropriate system in collaboration with stakeholders and IT
  • Learn new skills (e.g. metadata support)

Staff support/ Has dedicated staff

  • Answering queries
  • Keeping the system up to date
  • Resolving any bugs
  • Training others to use and add content
  • Adding content
  • Promoting

Technically easy to use/ Usability is key to success

  • Select the right system for all staff to deposit material as well as KLS staff and ensuring it is easy to use (deposit and search)

Collaboration with key stakeholders including research and IT are really important to understanding the implementation of an IR and also having high level managerial support for the project. Having the resources to implement and maintain the IR in the longer term and also preparing, supporting and training staff to use it are all vital to its success. LKS staff need to have the appropriate IT skills (or develop them) and the time required for development of an IR and also on-going data entry cannot be underestimated. It is a major undertaking needing financial and staff resources to ensure success in establishment and maintenance Lagzian (2015).

Lagzian, F., Abrizah, A. and Wee, M. C. (2015) ‘Critical success factors for institutional repositories implementation’, The Electronic Library, 33(2) pp.196-209.

Bueno de la Fuente, Gema (2016) Libraries: roles and opportunities on Open Science.

Accessed 09/10/2017 https://www.fosteropenscience.eu/content/libraries-roles-and-opportunities-open-science