Irish Universities Association launches IReL-Open Project

Posted on: 20 May 2008

The IReL-Open Project, an Irish Universities Association (IUA) initiative, was launched in Trinity College on Friday, May 16th.  The IReL-Open Project is building online open-access institutional repositories in all seven Irish universities which will be linked together through a National Research Portal. For the first time, Irish research will be made freely available on a worldwide scale.

The IUA librarians have undertaken a three-year project to create digital stores of publications in the Irish universities and to link these together through a national portal. This innovative project has the potential to establish Ireland as a world leader in the dissemination of its research using the internet.

Through an innovative integration of systems, research papers produced in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) are now freely available to users of, the all-island research portal.  The database of expertise information is directly populated from the knowledge management systems of the island’s universities and institutes of technology. Now, users of the portal will be able to view the full text of publications from Trinity College Dublin.

For many researchers and academics, reputations can be established with a single publication in a renowned journal. All hope their published work will be cited by other researchers. The reputation of an individual and their institution can be elevated by citations – journal citations are even increasingly used to gauge a country’s R&D output. According to Niamh Brennan, TCD Programme Manager, studies have shown that citations increase from 50 to 250% when papers are catalogued by the main search engines.

Frank Gannon, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland gave the keynote speech on the role and importance of open access to research. This was followed with demonstrations from Suzanne Redmond Maloco, NUI Maynooth, Niamh Brennan, Trinity College Dublin, and Rachel Hill, Dublin City University. The event attracted delegates from funding and government agencies as well as the Institutes of Technology.

The project which is managed by the IUA Librarians’ Group is supported by the IUA and funded through the HEA Strategic Innovation Fund.