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For those of you following the development of institutional repositories, this announcement from one of the UK's large universities will be of interest; it is no surprise that Southampton has a big stake in repositories and online scholarship, being the home of the widely used E-Prints software package and the home of open-access crusader Stevan Harnad; this is important beyond that as a very public institutional statement of intent, both to make scholarship freely available but in particular to embed the repository firmly and permanently in the research infrastructure of the institution.  And worth noting too that the library has a large role in this.

David

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Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 16:20:45 -0000
From: Lewis J.K. <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: University of Southampton to provide free access to academic 
research online

Ref:    04/199                                  15 December 2004

The University of Southampton is to make all its academic and scientific
research output freely available.

A decision by the University to provide core funding for its Institutional
Repository establishes it as a central part of its research
infrastructure, marking a new era for Open Access to academic research in
the UK.

Until now, the databases used by universities to collect and disseminate
their research output have been funded on an experimental basis by JISC
(the Joint Information Systems Committee). The University of Southampton
is the first in the UK to announce that it is transitioning its repository
from the status of an experiment to an integral part of the research
infrastructure of the institution.

'This decision by the University marks a real milestone in the Open Access
initiative,' says Dr Leslie Carr. 'At Southampton we have a significant
headstart since we created the EPrints software that is used by many UK
universities, but we expect and indeed hope that others will soon give
similar status to their own archives.' Dr Carr is Technical Director of
the open source EPrints.org software, which is now used by around 150
repositories worldwide.

Southampton established its repository (http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/) in
2002 as part of the JISC TARDis project (Targeting Academic Research for
Deposit and Disclosure), to explore issues surrounding the Open Access
paradigm. The repository provides a publications database with full text,
multimedia and research data.

'We see our Institutional Repository as a key tool for the stewardship of
the University's digital research assets,' said Professor Paul Curran,
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University. 'It will provide greater access
to our research, as well as offering a valuable mechanism for reporting
and recording it.

'The University has been committed to Open Access for many years. The fact
that we are now supporting it with core funding is another tangible step
towards its full achievement.'

The Southampton repository will now become a service of the University
Library in partnership with the University's Information Systems Services
and its School of Electronics and Computer Science (who host the
JISC-funded software development team).

Acknowledging the success of the partnership between the Library,
Information Systems Services and the Schools, the Librarian, Dr Mark
Brown, said: 'Collaboration between services and academic groups has been
the key element in the success of the project. The Institutional
Repository will now become an integral part of the electronic library
service at Southampton.'

Ends

Notes for Editors:

1. For further information on E-prints, Open Access and the digital
libraries project, see http://www.eprints.org, for further information on
the Southampton repository, see http://eprints.soton.ac.uk

2. Professor Stevan Harnad, regarded by many as the founder of the Open
Access movement, has been successfully leading the debate from the
University's School of Electronics and Computer Science over a number of
years, and has argued forcefully for its adoption by the academic
community worldwide. The School of Electronics and Computer Science
already has the most populated online institutional archive in the UK.

3. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research
institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and
scholarship. The University has over 20,000 students and over 5000 staff.
Its annual turnover is in the region of 270 million.

For further information: Dr Mark Brown, Librarian, University of
Southampton (tel.023 8059 2677; email [log in to unmask])

Dr Les Carr, School of Electronics and Computer Science (tel.023 8059
4479)

Joyce Lewis, Communications Manager, School of Electronics and Computer
Science (tel.023 8059 5453, email [log in to unmask])

-------------------------------------
Sarah Watts
Media Relations Manager
University of Southampton
Highfield
Southampton SO17 1BJ
Tel. +44(0)23 8059 3807
Email [log in to unmask]