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If We Build It, Will They Come?: A Survey of Attitudes Toward Institutional Repositories Among Faculty at the Petroleum Institute

Mohamed Boufarss


The publishing paradigms are shifting. Researchers and research funding institutions are increasingly challenging the traditional publishing models by making their research findings available for free on the Internet through digital repositories. This new publishing model enhances research exposure, increases the institution's prestige and, in the long term, may alleviate the financial burden incurred through costly subscriptions. However, attitudes towards open access and digital repositories still vary widely. This study reports the findings of a survey of attitudes towards open access and institutional repositories among academics at the Petroleum Institute. It revolves around the following main research question: Would faculty support the establishment of an institutional repository at the Petroleum Institute? Specific research questions dealt with academics’ familiarity with the underlying principles of open access and institutional repositories, their attitudes towards open access and institutional repositories, and effect of self-archiving mandates on academics’ publishing decisions.The study adopted a quantitative survey methodology approach with a web-based questionnaire as its main data collection instrument. Descriptive statistics were mainly used to derive outcomes.The study reveals that the majority of academics have no or little knowledge of, or experience with, institutional repositories and are unfamiliar with self-archiving opportunities. However most of them endorse the principle of open access and are willing to contribute content to an institutional repository if an opportunity arises or if mandated by their funding institutions.In light of these results, ensuring free electronic access to public-funded research lays with the funding institutions, especially universities, which should set up appropriate repository infrastructures, advocate the public good and ethical implications of open access and even mandate self-archiving of research they fund.

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