At the University of Western Australia, the Research Repository was initially developed within the Library as a tool for capturing and making available specific collections of UWA research outputs. It functioned as an end to itself as opposed to existing within a broader research life cycle and therefore the relevancy to the research community was limited. Since the implementation of the repository there has been a growing focus within the national research assessment process on demonstrating the societal benefits and quality of publicly funded research. These developments presented the University Library with new challenges and opportunities to repurpose the Research Repository to support the University in this new environment and reposition it to become a more integrated presence in the research life cycle. Achieving this required identifying and building relationships with key stakeholders involved in research support and a collaborative approach to developing and expanding the role of the repository. This paper will focus on how the repository was repositioned to fulfil a broader role in the University’s strategic research priorities and the forms of collaboration that were undertaken to achieve this.
This paper is a case study of how the UWA Research Repository was transformed from essentially a metadata store to a new system delivering researcher profiles, open access content, grant information, student supervision data and altmetric tools. It also focuses on the forms of collaboration that were involved in achieving this such as staff swaps, knowledge sharing, taking on new roles and non-traditional Library tasks, joint projects, and formal meetings.
We analyse the original research repository project documentation and key stakeholder interviews in order to assess how the UWA Research Repository evolved through engagement with other areas in the University.
The collaboration and subsequent expansion of the repository model resulted in the Library and the repository moving beyond their traditional roles of simply providing storage and access to research publications. The resulting UWA Research Repository is relevant and has the buy-in and support of other departments on campus.
As a result of this experience, the Library now also provides services and support of recognised strategic importance to the University in areas such as research publication collection and assessment and altmetrics, and is often invited to collaborate on new research support initiatives on campus.
Whilst national developments were the main drivers behind the need to expand the role of the UWA Research Repository, it was really the local collaboration and co-operation that resulted in its success and propelled the Library and repository in new and exciting directions. The UWA Research Repository is now seen as a solution on campus and the Library as a key partner in fulfilling the University’s strategic priorities for research. The UWA experience is an example of how collaboration can ensure a repository not only meets its goals, but exceeds them in unexpected ways.
Paper - Available now.