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NOAA Institutional Repository as a Catalyst for Organizational Change

Jennifer Fagan-Fry

Jennifer Fagan-Fry

Jennifer Fagan-Fry, NOAA IR Manager, NOAA Central and Regional Libraries, said that NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, and its research covers from the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the sun. The central library is a network of over 20 libraries across the country. It collects current and historical NOAA publications and data and maintains the collection inherited from NOAA’s predecessor agency. The NOAA IR includes over 18,000 NOAA authored publications and sponsored ones, and grey literature (Technical Reports and Memoranda) dating from 1970 to the present. The IR is open to the public. NOAA has an IR to comply with the 2003 White House Office of Science and Technology policy memo that mandated public access to research.

Before the IR: NOAA was formed in 1970 and consisted of 6 different areas of research. The research was organized into “Silos of Excellence”. There was a lack of agency-wide policies and procedures and little communication between the offices. Access points were isolated. Publications were scattered across the web: on journal publisher sites, on NOAA office and program sites, in university IRs, and on social networking sites.

After the IR was established, it became the primary place for NOAA publications. OA publishing increased and is now a requirement for some grants. There is an easier submission process to the IR so people are encouraged to publish in OA whenever possible. There is a movement towards standardized publishing process. The IR is designed to provide long term access and preservation of research. Communication between offices has improved. Data sets have been linked as have been publications, R&D projects and outcomes, and grant information.  Coordination between offices for submission has improved so duplication has decreased.

The library’s role: increased profile and services. It has become more vocal and is doing more outreach. Anything in the IR is not in the library catalog which has caused a shift in cataloging practices. The IR is indexed by Google, but the catalog is not.

The biggest change for the library and IR is enforcement of Section 508 which requires electronic information and technologies to be available for people with disabilities. It was not enforced at NOAA prior to the IR. Now, all submissions to the IR go through 508 quality checks, which caused a lot of resistance and a drop in submissions. A LibGuide was created, and submissions increased and have exceeded previous levels. This was the biggest cultural shift in the agency.

Ongoing challenges:

  • Getting buy in from stakeholders, authors, etc. and creating an enforcement mechanism for submissions or participation.
  • Resources: tools, staff to process and manage submissions.

Going forward, the library will become the publishing clearninghouse for NOAA, data sharing, ORCID integration, and internal reporting tools will be established.

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