“Interpretive flexibility” is the term that sociologists use to describe the human capacity to adapt the tools that they are offered to achieve the ends that they desire. The Web, for example, was designed as a technology for exchanging information, but it has come to be used as a means to share social experiences. Similarly, repositories were designed to extend the Web’s support for the long-term accessibility of scholarly information, but now we are starting to see them being used to support scientific data gathering, data analysis, and the management and evaluation of the research process itself. As research challenges drive research institutions to become less siloed and more interdisciplinary, I predict that in the in the future we will see research institutions being reconstituted around the social sharing of knowledge and the hubs of their knowledge generating practices: their repositories.

— Leslie Carr is a senior lecturer in the Web and Internet Science research group at the University of Southampton and the director of its Web Science Doctoral Training Centre. He leads the EPrints Repository software team and is the director of EPrints Services.  He blogs about the his repository management experience at RepositoryMan.blogspot.com.