It used to be that the record of scientific work was complete when it was all published in journals. For a select few – read "Nobel Prize winners" – your lab notebooks and correspondence were of interest. But it's becoming increasingly clear during the extraordinary information revolution in the life sciences that everything done in the lab needs to be captured, from journal club notes to eureka moments to lab parties. That means it's time for institutional repositories.

Despite rapid explosion of knowledge in the life sciences, the full promise of digitization, storage and curation is nowhere close to being fully realized. The large-scale discipline-specific repositories that quickly became mainstream in information-intense branches such as genomics and proteomics are just the tip of the iceberg.

The other seven-eighths comes in the shape of institutional repositories, such as MIT's DSpace, which provide the most comprehensive mechanism for digital preservation...

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