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FAQ: Institutional Repositories and Open BU

See also: Open Access FAQ

What is an institutional repository?

An institutional repository is a single, online place where a community (in this case, Boston University) gathers and preserves scholarly output produced by its members and makes these materials available to the world at large for free (copyright permitting). This scholarly output may include both publications in peer-reviewed journals and materials not published elsewhere (data sets, preprints, postprints, syllabi, theses and dissertations, etc). Books are not typically included in institutional repositories. 

What is Open BU?

Open BU is the institutional repository of Boston University. Open BU is freely accessible to the public, and as such, is open access.

Where will all these materials live?

They will be stored on computer servers owned and maintained by BU.

How is this different from self-publishing on my own website/blog/etc?

If you have a static website that is periodically updated then you know how difficult it is to keep it up to date. As a researcher or a faculty member, it is possible for us to help you manage your materials in a central location, in standardized formats, and in ways that allow for more effective search and retrieval.

Can my articles be used to provide search or other services by companies such as Google?

Yes. Google and other search engines will pick up materials located in Open BU. This exposure is a major benefit of open access. Each object (article, video file, etc.) will be tagged with metadata that, while not modifying the object itself, allows indexing systems such as Google Scholar to harvest your work and ensure wider visibility of that work.

How will BU deal with technological obsolescence (that is, long term access to file formats that may become dated), both in regards to archival software and software used to create/view/use works in the first place?

While we work to adapt to the latest technological developments in file formatting, we encourage the preservation of data in open, sustainable, internationally standardized formats such as PDF and XML. If you have questions about which file formats can be maintained and preserved within Open BU please Contact Us.

Does publishing in Open BU affect my copyright?

Authors in Open BU grant BU a non-exclusive license that does not necessarily preclude activities that involve payment. As long as any charges imposed on processing and/or publication are intended to cover the costs of these activities, and not make a profit, the activities are in compliance with the spirit of open access.

How do I know whether the journal I published in allows placement of my manuscript in Open BU?

You can consult your agreement, the publisher's website, or SHERPA/RoMEO, a searchable database of many publisher's open access and institutional repository policies. Most major publishers will allow you to place a version of your article into an institutional repository, but they request that you not use the publisher's version, and instead post a pre-print or post-print manuscript.

If you have not yet signed a publication agreement, we encourage you to find out your publisher/journal's self-archiving policy before signing. Some publishers already have self-archiving permission as a standard feature of their agreements. If yours doesn't, or is too restrictive, consider adding a standard publication addendum, with which many publishers are already familiar. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has a short write-up on copyright management and your rights as an author. Their standard addendum is downloadable from that page. Additional addenda for authors, made available from different organizations, can be found here.

Some publisher policies will only allow for pre-print (or post-print) manuscript of my article in an institutional repository. How are post-print and pre-print defined?

How do I submit articles to Open BU?

Soon, we will introduce an application called Publication List with which you can post your CV and other material. Material will be transfered from Publication List and placed in Open BU when publisher agreements allow. If you currently have material you'd like to place in Open BU, please Contact Us and we can either give you an account or place articles in Open BU for you.

Can I submit class materials such as presentations and syllabi?

Yes, you can submit formats such as word documents, power point slides, and small movie files. Please Contact Us to set up an account in Open BU or to have us submit the material for you.