Dr Niall Seery, VP for Academic Affairs and Regisytry, pictured with Jane Burns, Institute Librarian, and Professor Neil Rowan, Director of the Bioscience Research Institute at Athlone Institute of Technology.

Institutional Repository Launch | Making Research Accessible to the Wider Community

'As knowledge brokers, academic libraries are a critical component of the higher education landscape. Ours is the heartbeat of our institute'

Athlone Institute of Technology has launched its official online repository for academic research with the view to demonstrating the impressive footprint of its researchers and making their work accessible to the wider community. The institutional repository will act as a means for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of this intellectual output while representing the centralisation of research and scholarly output under the domain of the institute library.

Under this umbrella, the library is central to the development of scholarly communications, research data management services and digital scholarship engagement. “This repository is a game changer, it will be the living breathing home for research within the institute,” Jane Burns, Institute Librarian, said. “It’s not a final resting place for research output, far from it. Rather, it’s an enabler, and it creates the infrastructure to facilitate open access through the ‘Green’ route.”

Placing green open access scholarly research in a central repository has been shown to be one of the most impactful research communication strategies. Not only does it preserve academic research, but it also significantly increases one’s chances of being cited as it aids discoverability. “All scholarly material deposited in Research@THEA: AIT will be assigned a permanent link or url which will make enable the indexing of academic work in Google Scholar and other specialty academic search engines,” Ms Burns explained.

Currently, the majority of publishers will allow the final unpublished version (post peer-review) of a paper to be deposited into a research repository like Research@THEA: AIT, meaning that the repository version and the published version of a paper can be published and hyperlinked. “In effect, this means that academic papers get double exposure as both versions are discoverable via Google and Google Scholar,” she said. “It also increases the potential audience for the academic paper as it reaches those who may not have a subscription to the journal in which you have published.”

The new repository will also facilitate compliance with the National Open Research Forum (NORF) call for research producing organisations to support open access by making work available in a repository and enable researchers to meet funding stipulations from major funding agencies, such as Horizon 2020, who increasingly have open access requirements pertaining to the publication of research.

From a reputational perspective, the institutional repository will also enhance the institute’s international standing by showcasing its extensive research output on one platform. “This is a pivotal moment for Athlone Institute of Technology, an institute characterised by a commitment to academic excellence and rigour. Through this repository, it is fulfilling a necessary criteria for any prestigious third level, thereby increasing its ability to fulfill its regional mandate of ensuring the structured and balanced growth for the Midlands region,” Michael Doheny, Acting Joint Deputy Librarian, said.

Speaking at the launch of the institutional repository, Dr Niall Seery, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Registry, said: “As knowledge brokers, academic libraries are a critical component of the higher education landscape. Ours is the heartbeat of our institute. This repository, which has been driven by our academic librarians, will facilitate the dissemination of research not only within our walls or in specific research communities, but globally.” He continued: “Knowledge creation is a key differentiator that will inform our social and economic policies moving forward, and how we live as a society. At AIT, we are knowledge creators, innovators and leaders.”

Professor Neil Rowan, Director of the Bioscience Research Institute at Athlone Institute of Technology is the first academic to formally submit his research to the institutional repository. His paper entitled ‘Irish Staff Nurses Perceptions on Clinical Incident Reporting’ was co-authored by Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Des Cawley.

All academic staff, researchers and postgraduate students are invited to submit research to the Research@Thea:AIT repository. For more information, email the repository team (Michael Doheny, Assumpta Byrne, Rosarii Dunne and Tania Marsh) at repository@ait.ie.

An educational powerhouse defined by a commitment to academic excellence, rigour and applied education, Athlone Institute of Technology has enjoyed considerable successes in the academic arena this year, most notably being named ‘best in class’ for research across the technological higher education sector. Further solidifying its reputational prowess, the institute is among the top 25 colleges in the world for interdisciplinary research and was recently awarded ‘Best Academic Partnership’ at the prestigious national Education Awards for its part in developing SURE, Ireland’s first academic network dedicated to promoting undergraduate STEM research across the technological higher education sector. These accolades build upon the institute’s success in winning the Sunday Times Good University Guide ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ award in 2018 for its unwavering commitment to academic excellence and innovations in applied learning.

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