Thursday, 17 October 2013

ICS Institutional Repository Launches

This week ICS officially launched its new "Institutional Repository" (IR). The outfit that hosts the repository, Open Repository (a service of BioMed Central), is doing a media blitz on our behalf consisting of press releases and web banner adds in places that will mostly be visible within the academic world.

The lead article in this issue of our newsletter Perspective is all about the repository. It describes the institutional obligations that led ICS to implement the repository as well as its potential for making the work of Christian scholars associated with ICS much more widely visible.

Perhaps the most immediately significant feature of the repository is the many theses that are now available online, but the repository is not only about theses. Articles, conference papers and many other kinds of things will be made available through it. Back issues of Perspective are there now, and more searchable than ever.

One question people might ask is "what relevance could Open Repository, part of BioMed Central, have for Christian academic publishing?" It's a fair question. Open Repository is not a Christian school organisation and it arises from a branch of the sciences not the humanities. To answer the question we need to look at how this technology has evolved.  It finds its roots in the sciences because the sciences had the first most pressing need for a standards-based means of making research information quickly, widely and freely available. The humanities, in contrast, are still more oriented towards the traditional print-based means of research information distribution. Quite simply, the people who have developed the technology and who subsequently make such services available, come from within the sciences.

This does not mean that the ICS repository will live more within the world of the sciences than in the world of the humanities (and faith), but it does mean that it will be tended by an organisation with economies of scale and expertise that ICS cannot achieve on its own. Funding organisations are increasingly making the publication of research information in standards-compliant ways a condition of their grants, and the ICS repository will mean that we don't have to scramble to be able to say "yes, we can meet those kinds of conditions".

Though primarily meant to be discovered by other means (eg. Google Scholar search) you can browse the assets in our repository directly at