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Masato Onishi
(Kyoto University Library)

The Kyoto University

The Kyoto University Research Information Repository, known as KURENAI (Japanese for “crimson”), recently entered its fifth year, having opened in October 2006. To increase the visibility of Kyoto University’s research work and return its products to society as a whole, we have endeavored to collect the results of research done at the university, such as journal articles, doctoral dissertations, and departmental bulletin papers, and to make them accessible to the public through KURENAI. The contents of an institutional repository (IR) vary according to the nature of the institution and the purpose for which the IR was created. I would like to present the case of Kyoto University here as one example.

We collect journal articles by two methods. The first is asking individual authors for permission directly by e-mail. When we locate an article whose authors include a Kyoto University member in a database of scientific literature, we first check the publisher’s copyright policy, then ask the author personally for permission by e-mail. About 30 percent of these enquiries result in a deposit. Also, since FY 2009, where permission can be obtained, we deposit what we call “press-release articles,” that is, reports of high-impact results that have received press coverage. To gain access to cutting-edge work while it is as fresh as possible, we gather information by working with the public relations officers of the university’s departments. We have also arranged for a link to KURENAI on the university’s main website to increase its name recognition. Although the personal queries to the author take time and effort, they are also valuable as in-house publicity for KURENAI.

The second method is seeking permission through the collaboration of graduate schools and professors’ laboratories. The Graduate School of Engineering is building a research activity database for English papers, and each year it conducts a review of published output in the previous fiscal year at the laboratory level. As part of this survey, it asks authors for their consent to the papers being deposited in KURENAI, and it passes on the outcome and a list of articles to the library. We then contact the authors by e-mail as in the first method, but because we approach them in units of whole laboratories rather than individually, there is a higher rate of response, making our permissions processing more comprehensive and efficient. So far, this kind of liaison with a research database exists only at the Graduate School of Engineering, but we are exploring a similar arrangement with the Graduate School of Management.

Further, we are checking the copyright of past doctoral dissertations and digitizing and publishing those for which permission is obtained, while also developing a system to collect dissertations accepted in the future in electronic form. Since FY 2007, the Graduate School of Engineering has required doctoral candidates to provide a deposit form and an electronic file of their dissertation when they submit their request for its examination. Thanks to this systematic approach, we are now able to obtain permission from about 60 percent of those who receive doctorates in engineering. Recently, as the number of dissertations in the repository has grown, we have begun to receive individual requests from alumni in engineering and from students completing other graduate degrees who want to upload their theses. We expect that doctoral dissertations will be deposited in digital form in the National Diet Library in the future, and we intend to work with all the graduate schools to place digital collection on an institutional basis within Kyoto University itself.

Departmental bulletin articles make up the highest proportion of KURENAI’s contents. We currently provide access to over 90 departmental bulletins, a term which covers publications of various sizes issued by units of various kinds, such as graduate schools, laboratories, and research seminars. Bulletins are particularly valuable in the humanities and social sciences, where they serve as a forum for a graduate school or laboratory’s faculty and students to announce their findings, or for joint research done in a research seminar. In medicine, also, some bulletins fill an important need as a place to publish clinical case reports in Japanese, while original research articles tend to be published in English in international journals.

Many bulletins exist in print format only and have a limited circulation on and off campus, but some have a latent desire to increase their visibility by turning to a digital format and online access. To encourage the latter to upload to KURENAI, the library provides full financial and technical support for digitization and processing of permissions, including back numbers. Publication in KURENAI improves the odds of a paper being found by a search engine and also makes it possible to search for bulletin articles on CiNii. (NII Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator, which is one of the most popular databases for Japanese journal articles provided by National Institute of informatics Japan.) Due to advantages like this, one researcher told me, “This is the ideal medium for releasing interim findings, such as our research seminar’s reports, to the outside world.” As this suggests, bulletins may have different purposes from academic journals; they could be described as important outputs that make the university’s research and teaching activities visible.

We also collect publications issued by several academic societies and research groups in which Kyoto University researchers or laboratories have played a formative role. While the size of the organization is also a factor to be considered, further thought should be given to the role of IRs in disseminating results produced by research communities like these, which extend beyond the confines of the IR’s institution.

We at KURENAI are committed to continuing the work of actively gathering contents while sounding out the latent needs of the producers and users of scholarly information.