|"DSpace Archiving Project for Research Will Get $500,000 Shot in the Arm"|
July 17, 2007
The Chronicle of Higher Education
"The DSpace Foundation, drawing on $500,000 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hewlett-Packard, will help hundreds of colleges, museums, and other nonprofit groups using DSpace, a program that helps institutions establish archives of research papers, data sets, images, and journal articles that the public can access freely. The foundation will offer technical advice to developers who are refining the software and help them integrate it with other applications. The foundation also will promote a wider distribution of the archives. The formation of the foundation is scheduled to be announced today.
MIT's libraries and HP said they had developed DSpace to promote collaboration among researchers, spark new ideas for study, and make scholars' intellectual output freely available to all.
Michele Kimpton, the foundation's executive director, said that at least 230 institutions, half of which are in the United States or Britain, are using the DSpace software.
"The community was getting too large, and the amount of code and diversity of applications was getting too big to have no infrastructure behind it," she said.
But while hundreds of institutions have installed the software, many are still struggling to get faculty members to fill their databases with material. Academic librarians say many scholars justifiably worry that publishers will reject their work if it has been in an open archive. Others prefer promoting their research through personal Web sites, even though those venues are less secure than archives.
Even MIT has strained to sell the archive to its faculty members.
Only after officials there began an aggressive marketing campaign and streamlined the submission process a few years ago did the archive take off. In 2004 MIT's DSpace had only 4,000 items in it; now it has 11,000.
Geneva L. Henry, executive director of the digital-library initiative at Rice University, supports the creation of the foundation, which is located at MIT. The 13-member DSpace Federation Governance Advisory Board, on which she served, had advocated just such an organization to oversee the growth of DSpace. The board believed that DSpace was hindered by a widely held view that it was "owned" by MIT and HP, and that a nonprofit governing group would -- in the long term -- help eliminate that perception and attract more financial contributions.
"The whole idea behind an open-source community is that it belongs to the community," she said. "It has a diverse base."
Ms. Kimpton, who was a director at the Internet Archive, said part of her role would be to raise money from corporations and other foundations for DSpace. She said she expected to hire a staff of three to five people."