If you follow the higher education literature, you’ve probably read about the need for reform in scholarly communication and heard about the rising prices of journal subscriptions that dominate university library budgets.  Encouraging open access (OA) through OA journals and institutional repositories is one way librarians and researchers are responding to this on-going struggle. Here at OU, we have a fledgling institutional repository, but we need your help to grow it into a robust tool for access to our scholars’ research productivity.  Here are a few FAQs that might help to answer some of the questions percolating in your mind and encourage you to share your work.

What is an institutional repository?

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) defines an institutional repository as “digital collections that capture and preserve the intellectual output of university communities.” Institutional repositories provide a way for university authors to provide broader access to their publications.

OU Libraries offers an institutional repository, Sooner Scholar, available at http://digital.libraries.ou.edu.

Why would I want to put my work into Sooner Scholar?

Sooner Scholar will give your work a persistent URL (reference URL) that will not break if a server gets moved or changed. It will allow others to reach your material without error. Materials will be indexed in Google or other search engines, thus increasing use and possible citation.

What do I need to know to get my publications into Sooner Scholar?

• Retain your copyright for items you have not yet published. Use a copyright addendum or Creative Commons license to do so.

• For items that have already been published, you must have retained your copyright in order to place your publication in Sooner Scholar.

• If you did not retain copyright, you may contact the publisher and seek permission to place your publication in Sooner Scholar.

• Some publishers will allow you to retain the pre- or post-publication version (sans publisher formatting) of your work in an institutional repository. See SHERPA for publisher policies regarding institutional repositories: http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php.

How do I contribute to Sooner Scholar?

If you would like to contribute, please contact Karen Rupp-Serrano, Director of Collection Development & Scholarly Communications, or Brian Shults, Interim Coordinator of Digital Initiatives. Karen is also available to speak to your department about issues related to scholarly communication if you are interested.