In the spirit of open access week this month, as a former institutional and international disciplinary repository manager, I’d like to look at how we can use better stakeholder management methods to help achieve library aims in filling their repositories.
Over 2,200 repositories exist worldwide (opendoar.org). However, how far is your repository providing a comprehensive and accurate picture of your institution’s research output? Do you have an institutional policy, and if so, is it being followed? How can your stakeholders help others comply with your policy, help you revise it or motivate others to deposit their work?
1. Identify the stakeholders who will help you fill your repository
Who are the influencers and key players who can help you make your research more visible and openly accessible?
Senior university management
How are you supporting the current higher strategic goals of your institution through open access deposit? Are you specifically focussing on your senior management’s priorities? What areas of research does your institution want to be more renowned for in future years? Explore opportunities with your policy makers, deans and other research managers to demonstrate that your repository can help them fulfil their needs as well as yours.
Does your institution have an Open Access mandate, and if so, is it being followed and seeing the deposits you aim for? When was the last time you engaged with your policy makers to evaluate it and review it? Now might be a good time.
Institutional facilities and services
Which service institutions across your institution can facilitate the growth of the academic output of your repository? Research support services, ICT, PR and communications, policy development, publishing facilities and others often share your agenda to facilitate access to your institution’s research results. Where costs are tight and activities are on the increase, now might be the time to relook at optimising efficiency here by working more closely together and by utilising each others’ strengths. The library can take this initiative if it hasn’t already done so.
Research assessment management
How is your repository supporting your institution to improve its global positioning? Can you help contribute to further up your rankings, and to enhance the visibility of your institution’s research profile? For example, talking to IT to help improve SEO can support you, as can talking to your research community about their current information-sharing practices.
Are you following or are you even part of discussions around new experiments with the accreditation of research in the areas where disciplines are not well supported by current impact factors such as the Humanities? You may already be offering repository statistics and other metrics such as altmetrics that support these communities in demonstrating their impact on the wider scholarly community. If not, this might be the time to consider providing this in return for their content.
What contribution is your repository making to the evaluation of your research output through your Current Research Information System? Is your Current Research Information System lead satisfied with its results? If not, work with your CRIS manager on this challenge and streamline processes between your IR and the CRIS to get the outputs you both want.
Researchers, research groups, departments, faculty
Who are the leading lights in their areas of research in your institution and who has the greatest influence? What prestigious new project, research group or department has recently started that could benefit from getting more visibility to their research? For example, you can increase their visibility by creating web pages with strong SEO using their open access content or help them get seen where they want to be seen in their online places of preference such as Google or Pubmed.
Which departments are championing open access, and which are not yet? Influential individuals, departments or faculty that were not previously ready to buy into open access, now have more peers and good practices to refer to. Approach them anew and put them into contact with OA peers.
Will new prestigious staff help your cause? New staff coming from an institution where open access was more embedded and played a significant role are probably quite ready to contribute and encourage other peers. Faculties may have new managers or secretaries who play a key linking–pin role in communicating on open access within faculties; get to know them.
Can you get newly tenured colleagues to now provide you with their open access material?
Do you keep a tab on new publications, or are you alert to what research has made the news? Do you have a relationship with these news-makers, and are they sharing their work open access?
Consider contributing to scholarly communication by helping the visibility of research related to a hot topic by approaching researchers publishing in this hot area and taking this as an opportunity to get their work more visible and used at a relevant time where they will see their citations rise.
What interesting content can be used to create new knowledge in the use of semantic technologies, e.g. in the digital humanities?
Are your institution’s university press or publishing efforts achieving their goals? And what publications are particularly costly for you as a library? You could contribute to increasing the visibility of certain research by working together with your scholarly communication units and academics on experimenting with new publishing models such as overlay journals.
Practitioners, the business and professional communities
Is your library also serving professional or business communities or health practitioners for example? If so, more open access content will support a broader pool of local professional users. Ask these groups about their content needs or how they’d want it packaged, targeting them could bring more revenue to your library.
The library community
When was the last time you talked to your peers about what works for them and what not when populating their repositories? Do you know the good and bad practices of your peers, and do you share yours? Consider talking to three peers to share ideas and experiences; addressing issues together is both more enjoyable and more constructive.
These are some of the stakeholders you can address specifically to help build your repository.
List the ones that will help you achieve your aims for the coming period and become aware of their relationships and influence by plotting them on a stakeholder map.
2. Create a stakeholder map
List the stakeholders who you want to approach to help grow your repository by name and/or function. Plotting them on the matrix graph below will show you your stakeholder’s influence and interest in your idea. You may well become aware of how many influencers and key players you still need to convert.
• Key players have the most influence and interest in what you do.
• Influencers have less interest in your initiative at this stage but they are influential so important.
• Your Fans are keen followers but lack influence to have a significant effect on what you plan to do.
• The Curious are stakeholders with less power and less interest in your initiative.
3. Create a short stakeholder summary
Create a Short Stakeholder Mapping Summary and prioritise each stakeholder based on their Influence and Interest. This will help you prioritise who you invest your efforts in first which depends on your aims. For example, is your goal to get as much content in as possible, to get more of a structural deposit, a higher percentage of your annual academic output or to get more high quality content?
The Fans are the ones who will get your numbers up with a low amount of effort. Influencers and Key Players can have significant effects on increasing the quality of your repository or in getting more regular deposits through their institutional standing.
4. Create a detailed stakeholder analysis
The next step is to create a more detailed stakeholder analysis to provide you with a concrete strategy for how to communicate with whom to achieve your goals in growing the content of your repository. On thoroughly analysing and listing your stakeholders’ needs, their impact on your repository and its impact on them, you will be able to target them much more effectively. The benefits for your stakeholder or his/her concerns will become much more transparent.
5. Create a stakeholder communication plan
From your Detailed Stakeholder Analysis, you have learnt more about what kind of an effect your stakeholder may have on populating your repository.
This information will allow you to determine what you will communicate to your stakeholder, and how in order for you to open the door to more content for your repository. Define your communication strategy here to form your Stakeholder Communication Plan.
You are now well prepared to enter into a great conversation with the stakeholders who can help you achieve your repository content goals. You will find that they will be far more likely to help you if you have invested time in looking at things from their perspective and addressing that when approaching them.
Don’t take your eye off the ball (stakeholder) and make it happen!
What is your strategy for increasing your repository’s content? There are so many out there. What are your dos and don’ts?
Are you already using a structured stakeholder management method to help build your relationships with your management, researchers and content providers?
Share your experiences with other readers below