The Finch Report: developing the role of repositories


As you may already be aware, Dame Janet Finch CBE recently released the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings report ‘Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications’, otherwise known as the Finch Report.

Open Repository is delighted that the report recognizes the role that open access plays in publishing, and the call for the further development of repositories in the academic arena in the future. The following outlines the report findings, and how we can help your institution support the green route to open access.

Developing the role of repositories in the UK

Whilst communicating research findings through journals and other publications has always been at the heart of the scientific and broader research community, the rapidly developing online environment has recently changed the way researchers are accessing articles. However, subscription barriers mean that those outside of the Higher Education sector and large research-intensive companies have yet to see the benefits that the online environment brings in providing access to research and its results.

To combat this, the Finch Report recommends that the UK should embrace the transition to open access, and suggests a number of initiatives, including:

“The infrastructure of subject and institutional repositories should be developed so that they play a valuable role complementary to formal publishing, particularly in providing access to research data and to grey literature, and in digital preservation.”

Although many universities in the UK currently have established repositories, the Finch Report believes that the rates at which published papers have been deposited in them so far has been disappointing. To bring greater use by both authors and readers, in the next few years repositories must become both better integrated and interoperable, with higher standards of accessibility. To this effect, repositories will be used to perform the following functions in the UK research arena:

1. Provide a showcase for university research, and support research information management systems
2. Preserve and provide access to research data, theses and grey literature in the wider scholarly communications sphere

Open Repository: How we can help

Open Repository is in agreement with the Finch Report, and we will do all that we can to help support institutions in developing their institutional repositories to provide the best possible showcase for their research output.

Open Repository builds, hosts, customizes and maintains enhanced DSpace repositories for organizations, providing a reliable and cost-effective service. Open Repository allows organizations to:

– Comply with open access mandates
– Increase the profile, visibility and usage of their intellectual output
– Showcase their research to a large and unrestricted audience

If you would like any non-obligatory advice on the development of open access in the UK, including the evolving role of repositories, please do get in touch and we will be happy to help. Our quarterly Open Repository newsletter contains the very latest repository news – sign up here.

The Open Repository Team

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Repositories are a great place for theses (Bachelor, Master and PhD) and conference materials (abstracts, papers and posters), not just Green or Gold articles, more people need to realize this and contribute.

Garret McMahon

I have to say I’m disappointed but unsurprised to see the Finch Report’s recommendations on the role of institutional repositories endorsed in this forum. Largely forgotten in the Gold-rush euphoria following on from the report is the fact that underpinning IR’s throughout the UK and elsewhere are institutional policies requiring where possible, deposit of a copy of ALL research outputs into an institutional repository. Please note: deposit in an institutional repository NOT a subject based one. To narrow that remit so it omits published research runs contrary to this policy position. It merely strengthens the hand of publishers who, from the outset, have sought to undermine repository development in the home institution as a critical component in facilitating an infrastructure to support the transition to OA.

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