1. What Is an Institutional Repository?
An Institutional Repository is an origination site (server) on the Internet that centrally stores and accumulates a variety of research findings produced in academic institutions such as universities, and discloses them in electronic form both within and outside of a university.
The University of Tokyo (UT) released "UT Repository" and started offering services in April 2006 to contribute to international academic exchanges while improving the international distribution, visibility, and quick response of world-class research findings that have been and will continue to be produced by UT, providing open access to its knowledge clusters, and even promoting cross-overs between academic institutions and societies.
2. What Are Research Findings?
Researchers who work in academic institutions, including UT, produce many research findings every day. These findings are released and disclosed in various forms such as theses, departmental Bulletin papers, books or parts of books, preprints, minutes of meetings, grants-in-aid for scientific research, and technical papers, as well as articles that have been read by referees and published in academic journals. In addition, the forms of research findings may include slides and documents distributed and presented at academic conferences, lecture materials in workshops, etc. and teaching materials (such as slides, documents distributed, and programs).
One emerging method that simply and quickly makes these research findings available is an Institutional Repository.
3. How to Register Your Research Findings
The research findings described above are now often prepared in electronic form from the outset. Consequently, to make their accomplishments ready to be disclosed, researchers simply need to add some information (metadata such as titles and author names) to electronic files that are saved in machines such as PCs and transfer them to an Institutional Repository.
In contrast, researchers who have had their research work published in printed form and made public need to convert them to electronic form and register them with the Repository as described above.
Note that in both cases, UT provides a registration support service to researchers through the Library System and Information Technology Center.
4. Approaches Taken by the University of Tokyo
UT produces its own research findings in various forms from its organizations such as the institutes, faculties, and graduate schools, in addition to the Library System and Information Technology Center. For example, the Library System and Information Technology Center have developed the "Doctorial Dissertation Database" that stores bibliographical items and summaries of dissertations (theses for doctorates granted by UT) and "Academic Navi U-Tokyo" that periodically collects academic information disclosed on websites in the university, automatically arranges it, and then makes the sorted findings public. It even undertakes the computerization of catalogs and rare books.
In addition, recognizing the importance and potential of the Institutional Repository, UT first joined the Project for Experimental Implementation of Software Building Institutional Repository hosted by the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in fiscal 2004. In the Project, the university launched test servers and operated them on a trial basis by using open software "EPrints".
In parallel with these activities, the Library System developed an "Information Strategy in the University of Tokyo," in which it decided that the academic information system of UT should implement the following three support functions: "information origination support," "information access support," and "information utilization support". The Strategy included the construction of an Institutional Repository to realize the information origination support, one of the three support functions.
Through the cooperation of the departments and bureaus in the university, UT is now collecting and registering various research findings such as articles in academic journals, memoirs, grants-in-aid for scientific research, and discussion papers, as well as theses, to the UT Repository.