Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Paul Royster

Date of this Version



Published in Making Institutional Repositories Work, ed. Burton B. Callicott, David Scherer, & Andrew Wesolek (Purdue University Press, 2016); Charleston Insights in Library, Archival, and Information Sciences Series.


Copyright 2016 Purdue University


The allure of passing an institutional open-access (OA) policy as a strategy to populate an institutional repository is clear. After all, educating faculty to retain their rights to their scholarly publications through passage of such a policy, then requiring them to make those publications available through an IR seems a sure path to success. However, this approach of “if you pass it, they will comply” rings eerily similar to the early and decidedly misplaced optimism of populating institutional repositories through a “build it and they will come” proposition (Salo, 2007). The Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies (ROARMAP) reports, though, that 73 campuses now have some form of institutional, departmental, or school open-access policy in place. Additionally, the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) consists of more than 60 institutions that have OA policies in place or are actively working to pass them. Some of the most dramatic growth in COAPI membership and ROARMAP registration occurred in 2013, indicating that open-access policies are increasing in popularity and have been implemented with success (Duranceau & Kriegsman, 2013; Kipphut-Smith, 2014). So, while OA policies are not a panacea for obtaining repository content, with the right approaches in development and implementation they can provide content, educate campus communities, and enhance faculties’ academic freedom through rights retention. This chapter will explore some of the types of open-access policies and discuss whether or not an OA policy may be right for every institution. ...

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) Libraries have operated an institutional repository (IR) since 2005. As of November 2014, it holds more than 75,000 items and has been furnishing downloads at the rate of 500,000 per month for the past several years. Yet faculty have never been required to deposit there, and the IR managers have not pursued passage of a rule mandating deposit by faculty. This contravenes the wisdom and advice from numerous bodies, organizations, and experts. In my opinion, however, a mandatory deposit policy is not merely unhelpful in populating an institutional repository, it is also positively harmful to its growth, acceptance, and functioning.