An institutional repository (IR) is an open-access digital archive that centrally stores, preserves, and provides access to the academic and research outputs of a college or university. It's a key tool for disseminating scholarship worldwide.
The UMSL IR is called the Institutional Repository Library or simply IRL (pronounced like the name Earl). The IRL brings together UMSL research and historical documents under one digital umbrella, with an aim to preserve and provide access to these materials. IRL is a service of the University of Missouri, St. Louis libraries.
Open access (OA) aims to make scholarly research outputs like articles, data, and books freely available online without financial, legal, or technical barriers. OA materials are digital, online, free of charge, and some are free of copyright and licensing restrictions, allowing users worldwide to access, read, reuse, and build upon research without restriction. There are various pathways to legally and ethically provide OA, including publishing in fully open-access journals or archiving versions in digital repositories. The open availability speeds up research dissemination while expanding readership and impact for authors. OA increases citations, collaboration, public engagement, and the advancement of knowledge across disciplines. Leading research funders and institutions now have OA policies requiring funded research to be made openly available in some form. Overall, the open access movement is focused on removing restrictions to research in order to advance science and inquiry, provide broader access to knowledge, and maximize the potential for research to benefit society.
The mission of the Institutional Repository Library is to gather, disseminate, and preserve works from the UMSL community. The IRL is simultaneously a set of services that the library provides and a web resource to host works from members of the UMSL community. When works are added, it creates new points of access, reaching not only other scholars on campus but scholars across the world. Beyond acting as a distribution tool, the IRL collects analytics and provides reports about how often and from where works are viewed and downloaded. The IRL supports student scholarship by providing a platform for submitting and showcasing theses, dissertations, and other student works.
Discoverability: Our institutional repository library increases the discoverability of scholarly works by making them findable via search engines, library databases, and other discovery tools. Repository metadata optimization and indexing facilitate discovery.
Readership: Works in a repository gain expanded readership as they become openly and freely available to anyone worldwide. This amplifies access beyond just subscribers or campus users, allowing vastly more people to read and benefit from the research.
Impact: By increasing discoverability and readership, our institutional repository library helps amplify the impact of scholarship. Greater access leads to more citations, collaborations, and advancement of research which improves impact. Usage statistics also demonstrate evidence of scholarly impact.
Visibility: Repository content becomes more visible and prominent as it appears in Google Scholar, library catalogs, academic networking profiles, and other scholarly platforms. This showcases the university's research assets.
Engagement: Open availability enables more engagement with and use of scholarly works. Readers can readily access, share, comment on, reuse, and have active discussions around research in the repository, fueling further engagement.
Our institutional repository library fuels all of these interconnected elements of discoverability, readership, impact, visibility, and engagement - creating a positive feedback loop that widely propels university scholarship forward. The repository multiplies the reach and amplifies the outcomes of research.