Does Tenure Matter? Factors Influencing Faculty Contributions to Institutional Repositories
Institutional repositories (IRs) provide colleges and universities a way to ensure stability of access to and dissemination of digital scholarly communications. Yet, many institutions report that faculty willingness to contribute to IRs is often limited. This study investigates faculty attitudes about IR contributions by tenure status and category of material. METHODS
Two focus group interviews were conducted in the spring of 2009 among English department faculty at a large Midwestern university. One group consisted of tenured faculty and the other of tenure-track and adjunct faculty. RESULTS
Both groups recognize the benefit of open access to research materials but expressed concern about their intellectual property rights. Untenured faculty spoke more about nonprint research. Both groups also shared concerns about contributing instructional materials, primarily in regard to plagiarism and outdated materials. In regard to faculty service, the tenured group discussed many items they would contribute, while the untenured faculty mentioned very little. DISCUSSION
Some minor differences emerged related to experience and tenure status in regard to contributing research and instructional artifacts, but the major variation was the strong support tenured participants gave for contributing service items, compared to the untenured faculty, who did not view this category positively. Tenured faculty viewed the IR as a way to document their own service activities, investigate those of colleagues, and had fewer concerns about plagiarism or other negative effects in the service category. CONCLUSION
Promoting faculty contribution of service-related items to an IR may be a way to encourage larger numbers to participate.
Published on 15 May 2012.