Institutional Repositories: Exploration of Costs and Value
Little is known about the costs academic libraries incur to implement and manage institutional repositories and the value these institutional repositories offer to their communities. To address this, the authors report the findings of their 29 question survey of academic libraries with institutional repositories. We received 49 usable responses. Thirty-four of these responses completed the entire survey. While meant to be exploratory, results are varied and depend on the context of the institution. This context includes, among other things, the size of the repositories and of the institutions, the software used to operate the repositories, such as open source or proprietary, and whether librarians mediate content archiving, or content producers directly deposit their own material. The highlights of our findings, based on median values, suggest that institutions that mediate submissions incur less expense than institutions that allow self-archiving, institutions that offer additional services incur greater annual operating costs than those who do not, and institutions that use open source applications have lower implementation costs but comparable annual operating costs with institutions that use proprietary solutions. Furthermore, changes in budgeting, from special initiative to absorption into the regular budget, suggest a trend in sustainable support for institutional repositories. Our findings are exploratory but suggest that future inquiry into costs and the value of institutional repositories should be directed at specific types of institutions, such as by Carnegie Classification category.