Monday, March 26, 2007

Coming April 24: the IDRC Digital Library

Canada's International Development Reearch Centre / Centre de Reserches pour le Développement International (IDRC/CRDI) is a Canadian Crown corporation that works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world in their search for the means to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies (from the IDRC/CRDI website).

IDRC/CRDI will be launching its institutional repository, called the IDRC Digital Library, on April 24, with over 8,500 open access documents, and 20,000 bibliographic records to other research outputs, backed by document delivery service by the IDRC Library. Full text content will grow as new research outputs are collected under open access agreements and as IDRC/CRDI Library continues to license content already in the collection.

Kudos and thanks to IDRC/CRDI and Marjorie Whalen, Director, Research Information Management Service Division, IDRC/CRDI, for yet another example of Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement.

Details follow, in a post first sent by Majorie Whalen to an Open Access and Development discussion list, reposted on the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics with permission. The original purpose of this post was to explain why it makes sense to launch a repository with a mix of full text open access and contents for which only bibliographic records are available, at least so far.

IDRC will be launching its institutional repository, called the IDRC Digital Library, on April 24. Our support to Open Access and our plans to develop such a repository were announced in November 2005 and supporting statements in our various policies and partner agreements are now in development. IDRC funds researchers in developing countries to pursue research that will alleviate poverty in their own countries. The IDRC Library Archives has collected the outputs of this research for the 35+ years that IDRC has been in existence. Dissemination and sharing of these research results have always been a core activity of the library and the open access protocols and new technologies are now enabling us to take this to new levels.

The stated goals of the IDRC Digital Library are to make IDRC-funded research results freely accessible in order to contribute to the public debate on development issues, to strengthen the overall scientific and research capacity of IDRC’s partners, and to give a stronger voice to southern researchers, facilitating southern contributions to global debates, and finally to support the broader global movement to remove economic, social, and geographic barriers to the sharing of knowledge.

Of course, until recently, research outputs were not captured with Open Access in mind and more distantly, were captured only in hard copy format. In developing our institutional repository, it is our view that a comprehensive collection of development research conducted over the past 35 years makes a valuable contribution to the global research community even if much of it will be represented by a bibliographic record (backed up by document delivery by the IDRC Library). IDRC has always maintained the position as well that the results of the research it supports is owned by the researcher and permissions to digitize and post on an open access platform must be obtained from the authors or institutions holding the copyright.

The IDRC Digital Library will be launched on April 24 with over 8500 full-text documents including IDRC publications and documents as well as licensed research from our research partners. This will be complemented by bibliographic records of approximately 20,000 additional research outputs providing a comprehensive collection of IDRC-supported research. Full-text content will grow as new research outputs are collected under open access agreements and as we continue to license content already in our collection.