Calcutta University starts institutional repository to increase global reach of research papers – Times of India


The open access model for storage of research publications in the institutional repository (IR) may have started since the late 2000s in Harvard, Cambridge and Stanford, but in India, this mode of making paywalled research publications accessible is gradually gaining currency. Till date, there are over 129 institutional repositories in India including those of the IITs and IIMs and all these institutions use open source software to host their content. The University of Calcutta (CU) is a relatively new entrant in the field having started its institutional repository in April 2020.

The large corpus of its research publications led the university to create this central virtual location for faculty members to host their scholarly content. “Over time, this will become the intellectual capital of CU. Additionally, our preliminary analysis showed that a significant amount of our research papers are behind apaywall (~84.2%) and there is a potential to providepaper-free access without violating publisher copyrights and embargos. We are actively reaching out to our faculty members to encourage pre-prints and post-prints depositions in the repository, which would improve the corpus and increaseimpact and citations,” Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee, vice chancellor of the University of Calcutta tells
Education Times.

Benefits of institutional repository

The IR is a vital library service on the campus that impacts institutional finance and visibility, research, student learning and recruitment. “It is also an important perception parameter that allows potential students to assess a university’s reputation,” Chakravarti Banerjee adds.

“At the Calcutta University, over 84.2% of its publications are behind the paywall, hence accessing it was achallengefor globalresearchers. At the university, some of our papers are published in journals which we do not currently subscribe to and this makes it difficult for a researcher to access our publications,” she says.

Presently, around 54% of the university’s research output can be freely archived in its repository (after the embargo period, without breaching publisher copyrights). “Every article which gets deposited has a greater potential to be read and cited for those readers who cannot afford the journal subscriptions. Since the launch, we have started receiving downloads for ‘open access papers’ and full text requests for ‘closed access papers’. During such process, we receive information about the requester (such as email, role etc) many of whom are part of industry and MNCsand this has increasedpotential forcollaboration,” Chakravarti Banerjee informs.

Top choices

Applied Physics, BioChemistry and Political Sciences are some of the disciplines that have witnessed maximum downloads since the platform’s launch while the top reader demographic is India, followed by the US, UK and Germany.

Key features

The repository with its current 21,144 articles and 24,483 citations (on-going) from 70 departments, operates on two modes: public and private. The public portal showcases all the research output which can be publicly accessed. For papers, which cannot be accessed publicly, the reader can click the ‘Request access’ button which then notifies the author to send the paper privately. The private portal is limited to all the members from the university and primarily used for managing their research output and sharing works to seek feedback from peers.





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