Open Access & Institutional Repositories: at Hunter and in the wild

On 10 April 2012, the World Bank made an announcement declaring a new open access policy for access to WorldBank information and products. This is a tremendous step in increasing a high level of financial and social science information. This decision comes after the decision taken in 2010 to provide access to The World Bank Open Data Catalog. In conjunction with the the decision to move more directly in a direction towards a stronger open access platform The World Bank launched the Open Knowledge Repository. This is an interesting tool for researchers on a variety of reasons. One this repository will, eventually, and collect a huge volume of materials including:

works from 2009-2012 (more than 2,100 books an papers) across a wide range of topics and all regions of the world. This includes the World Development Report, and other annual flagship publications, academic books, practitioner volumes, and the Bank’s publicly disclosed country studies and analytical reports. The repository also contains journal articles from 2007-2010 from he two World Bank journals WBRO and WBER.1

In creating the Open Knowledge Repository, The World Bank has provided a feature rich database of information for multiple disciplines and areas of study which is easily available for researchers from all walk of life, manny of whom may not have had access to this type or caliber of material before.

This initiative has also enabled research centers, NGOs and libraries with smaller acquisitions and material budgets to better collect for, and provide a wide and rich vein of data and scholarship to their users.

The second facet that intrigues me is the use of institutional repositories. As modern society becomes more concerned with metrics and more institutions, researchers and nations produce ever growing mounds of literature and data for various purposes, we a confronted with the question o just what are we t do with it. Many knowledge producers have turned to Institutional Repositories as a way to preserve and order this information. Some, knowledge producers have even made these repositories available to the public. In this way repositories are poised to help, as seen in this instance, revolutionize the way that information is distributed and accessed.
It is also interesting that this announcement was made so recently. The 21st Century Scholarship @Hunter College Libraries presentation series is hosting a group of speakers addressing Institutional Repositories 25 April 2012. Institutional Repositories & CUNY: Present Use & Future Promise, will feature Professor Steven Ovadia (LaGuardia Community College), Lee Hachadorian, PhD(Center for Urban Research), and Professor Maura Smale (New York City College of Technology) will all be addressing different ways institutional repositories apply the preservation, presentation and possible distribution of scholarship at CUNY.
On an institutional level, the establishment of the Open Knowledge Repository provides a great opourtunity for researchers in the Hunter College community (and beyond) to access a high level of professional information that was highly regulated before. This decision highlights the potential benefits of institutional repositories and principles of open access for a global community that is continually looking to new sources for answers for continuing challenges.

For more information about Institutional Repositories & CUNY: Present Use & Future Promise please feel free to contact me, Jonathan Cain, at jca0033AThunter.cuny.edu

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