Stirling’s Super STORRE goes Global

On 9th April the University announced that it had become the first academic institution in the UK to oblige staff to make all their published research available online. This press release on the Portal has further details.


Professor Ian Simpson, our Deputy Principal (Research and Knowledge Transfer), was quoted:


“We believe that the outcomes of all publicly funded research should be made available as widely as possible. By ensuring free online access to all our research output, we will maximise the visibility and impact of the University’s work to researchers worldwide.”


Many UK institutions now have an Open Access research Repository – the OpenDOAR registry lists 92 institutions ( ), and across the world there are many more; the specialist search engine OAIster now searches across 950 repositories ( ).


The news from Stirling caused a flurry of comment on blogs and email lists, however, not only because it was important news in the world of open access to research, but also because it sparked a debate about whether Stirling really was first in the UK to oblige staff to add their published research.


Around the same time as our own press release the University of Southampton also announced its own University-wide mandate at the Open Repositories Conference. The news caused a flurry of comment on blogs and email lists with suggestions that these university mandates would be the first of many.


Peter Suber, an independent policy strategist for open access and Senior Researcher at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition blogged on this very topic:


“…no matter how the priorities turn out, both policies deserve kudos and recognition as trailblazers. The fact they were the first two in the UK , and nearly simultaneous, shows the ripeness of the idea. There should be many more to come.”


Well, so far that’s the rhetoric, but what does this decision to make our research publications freely available mean in practice?


The regulations will come into place from September 2008, and will apply to publications from January 2007 onwards. Currently Information Services is running a pilot with a small group of academic staff to sort out the detail of the best methods of submitting published articles to the Repository, now officially named: “STORRE: Stirling Online Research Repository”. So keep a look out over the next few months for recommendations on how submissions are to be organised.


If you’d like to be involved in the pilot please do get in touch, or else simply start submitting. There’s a brief guide at: .


Our research students have been successfully submitting their theses to STORRE since 2006, and we hope this expansion into other scholarly works will greatly increase the readership, and citation rates, of Stirling ‘s research.


You can search STORRE from the University Portal. Choose the STORRE link from the Working at Stirling tab. You can browse by Author, Title, Date, or search by keyword, including searches of the full text.


Perhaps the best way to demonstrate the visibility of the repository is via a Google search. For example, Google for: ‘red grouse research’. The top link out of 85,000 possible answers is from the University of Stirling repository. Or Google for: ‘democracy in post-communist Europe ‘, again, the repository comes near the top.


There were a number of responses to Stirling ‘s press release, but two in particular stood out. The first was from the blog of Peter Murray-Rust. Peter worked at Stirling University for a number of years, leaving in 1982, and is now Reader in Molecular Informatics at the University of Cambridge . Peter said:


“It is clear decisions like this, pushing the frontiers of Open Access, help to change the world. The more that this happens, the greater the courage it gives to others. Stirling – as a new (1967) University was always keen to innovate and I’m proud to feel part of this.”


The second was an email we received from Barbara Kirsop from the charity Electronic Publishing Trust for Development ( ). Here’s an excerpt:


“Congratulations to STORRE! This makes another valuable source of free research information for those in the developing world unable to afford journals.”


This sort of feedback reminds us that it’s not about who came first, what matters is the taking part.


Clare Allan (Library Liaison and Training) and Michael White (Centre for e-Learning Development)
Joint Repository Managers