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The Repositories Support Project (RSP) is a major JISC initiative to support the development and growth of the UK repositories network.


Culture Change

A more in-depth consideration of culture and the effect this has on change management is available in our Change Management infoKit. The issues around culture change is also discussed in relation to Open Educational Resources in our OER Infokit.

It is widely agreed that the technical implementation of a digital repository is the easy side of the equation and that the most significant challenge facing institutions is the need to promote and drive cultural change. A key first step to successful culture change is to define the message and motivation for repository development at your particular institution. Motivations for setting up repositories vary depending on communites but include:

Changing the culture of an institution is not an overnight job, nor is it one that can be achieved without a significant application of resources. The key to success of a repository is that its principal contributors, the academic community, understand what the driving forces are, why such a resource is needed, and what their role is. Thorough planning for the repository will help define these elements.

Cultural change is classically commonly brought about through engagement with academics on one of three levels:

  • Intellectual (conceptual, logical, the greater good)
  • Emotional (hearts and minds, enlightened self-interest)
  • Political (necessity, external drivers, compliance with policy)

Intellectually repository administrators can expound the professional virtues and benefits brought about by the repository, persuading their academic community of the need for their engagement. Alternatively they can advocate the personal value to individuals of repository use, and seek to achieve engagement in this manner. Or finally they can drive the community through the introduction of mandated or strongly-recommended policies for the deposition of material, a process that may take some time to accomplish, uncover simmering issues of academic freedoms but ultimately prove an exceptionally successful approach to repository enlargement. Institutions may be able to include some aspects of reward and recognition for deposit into staff development or performance review mechanisms. This will require strong institutional level support and is likely to be linked to strategy and policy.

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