3.7 OA Repositories

Open Access repositories may be institution-based, increasing the visibility and impact of the institution, or domain based collections like the economics repository RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) or the physics repository,arXiv. Institutional repositories are digital collections of the scholarlyoutputs created within an organization, university or research institution. Although the purposes of repositories may differ (for example, some universities have teaching/learning repositories for learning resources), in most cases they are built to provide Open Access to the institution’s research output.There are presently over 1,400 repositories around the globe. For the past three years the number has been growing at an average rate of one per day. Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) furnish the statistics and information regarding where they can be found.

Repositories help in scholarly communication

Repositories form an everlasting and critically significant part of the scholarly communication process. Their first role is to make available the Open Access literature. In addition to that, services may be added to repositories to provide extra functionality. For example, a usage-reporting service gives authors and the institution information on how the content of the repository is being used. This in turn acts as boosting factor for the researcher and for the institute that he belongs to. A search service may enable users find specific items more easily. A service that organizes content in specific ways may help authors, for example, to download a list of articles into their CV, or aid institutions in assessing the institution’s research programs for reporting data to governments or for other statutory requirements. Repositories also play a significant role in the publishing process.


The OpenDOAR service is responsible for providing a quality-assured listing of open access repositories around the world. OpenDOAR staff harvest and allocate metadata to allow categorization and analysis in order to assist users in exploitation of repositories. Each of the repositories has been visited by OpenDOAR staff to ensure a high degree of quality and consistency in the information provided. OpenDOAR is mainly a service to boost and support the academic and research activities of the global community. OpenDOAR maintains a comprehensive and authoritative list of institutional and subject-based repositories. It also encompasses archives set up by funding agencies such as

  • National Institutes for Health in the USA
  • Wellcome Trust in the UK and Europe.

Users of the service are able to analyze repositories by location, type, the material they hold and other measures. One key point about OpenDOAR is that this information is of use not only for users wishing to find original research papers but also for third-party service providers, like search engines or alert services, who require an easier means to use tools for developing tailored search services to suit the needs of specific user communities.

OpenDOAR aims to:

  • Survey the growing field of academic open access research repositories and categories them in terms of locale, content and other measures.
  • Produce a descriptive list of open access repositories of relevance to academic research.
  • Provide a comprehensive and authoritative list for end users wishing to find particular types of, or specific repositories.
  • Deliver a comprehensive, structured and maintained list with clear update and self-regulation protocols to enable development of the list.
  • Play a prominent international role in the organization of and access to open access repository services.
  • Support Open Access outreach and advocacy endeavors within institutions and globally.

3.7.1 Institutional Repositories

An institutional repository is an online archive for assembling, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution. For a university, this includes materials such as academic journal articles, both before (preprints) and after (postprints) undergoing peer review, as well as digital versions of theses and dissertations. It might also include other digital assets generated by academics, such as administrative documents, course notes, or learning objects. Deposit of material in an institutional repository is sometimes mandated by that institution.Some of the main objectives for having an institutional repository are to provide open access to institutional research output by self-archiving it, to create global visibility for an institution's scholarly research, and to store and preserve other institutional digital assets, including unpublished or otherwise easily lost grey literature such as theses or technical reports.

Some of the repositories around the world are:

I Repositories in Asia Pacific

Open Access in Asia Pacific started in the form of subject gateways and as informal collections of articles on web pages and directories. Subsequently the region witnessed the transition to Open Access journals and full text repositories and digital libraries. Research departments, institutions and universities and coordinating bodies of higher learning are the major contributors to Open Access though some dedicated OA publishers have also contributed. Asia Pacific hosts several repositories and digital libraries as Open Access. The repositories often are based upon documents types such as theses and dissertations while many others are domain specific such as the Indus service in Agricultural Domain. However, some countries have shown constant progress, some in spurts of activities and some others are yet to begin with repositories as is shown in the country-wise reports in Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific is the third biggest contributor to OA content contributing to 16.6% of the total institutional repositories. Asian region is host to about 346 repositories and Australasian region hosts 79 repositories. Japan (39%), Taiwan (16.8%) and India (15%) are major contributors in Asia.[source: OpenDOAR]


India has seen rapid and drastic growth in digitized and born digital data. Major part of the information produced may be attributed to government research establishments such as CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) laboratories, institutes of higher learning mostly universities, both central and state level universities and reputed institutes such as IITs (Indian Institute of Technology), IIMs (Indian Institute of Management). R&D organizations such as Regional Research Labs, Industrial R&D divisions also contribute to scientific data.With advocacy for OA access some major research councils such Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the National council for education, teaching and research have moved towards OA policies and mandates in India. It can be said that open access acceptance is growing both in public sector information as well as in academic institutional mandates. According to Registry of Open Access Repositories, in India, there are over 70 repositories.

Major National Projects and Initiatives include:

  • eGyankosh
  • ePrints@IISc
  • OpenAgri
  • Mahatma Gandhi University - Online Theses Library
  • NISCAIR's Online Periodicals Repository
  • OpenMED@NIC
  • Shodhganga@INFLIBNET Centre
  • CSIR repositories

II Repositories in Africa

Open Access (OA) movement in Africa is growing. Over 300 OA journals are published in sub-Saharan Africa and there are over 40 OA repositories in the region with many being planned. Although there have been great strides in OA in the region, more awareness raising, advocacy work as well as capacity building are still needed to introduce OA policies and mandates in the region and to convert subscription-based journals into OA journals. Fostering activities are needed to launch new OA journals and to set up OA repositories as well as to make them sustainable and encourage researchers and students to self-archive.

South Africa

South Africa is a leading African country in terms of Open Access (OA) policies on the governmental level and grass-roots OA initiatives in universities and research organizations.All11 traditional universities (or at least their departments), two universities of technology (Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Durban University of Technology), three comprehensive universities (University of Johannesburg, University of South Africa and University of Zululand) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have set up OA repositories.University of Pretoria and University of Johannesburg have adopted OA policies (mandates) to ensure that results of researches funded byinstitutions are made freely available.Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) manages the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) SA a premier OA searchable full-text journal database that covers a selected collection of peer-reviewed scholarly journals (20 OA journals and growing) implementing recommendations from its Report on a Strategic Approach to Research Publishing in South Africa. SciELO SA is funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology and endorsed by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).43 OA journals are registered in DOAJ (the Directory of Open Access Journals covering free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals).

Major National Projects and Initiatives include:

  • Scientific Electronic Library Online
  • AOSIS OpenJournals
  • Health and Medical Publications Group
  • The Human Sciences Research Council Press
  • African Journals OnLine
  • Open Access, A2K and Scholarly Communication

III Repositories in Europe and North America

Open Access in Europe and North America presents a varied picture from countries with the most OA depositories and journals globally, national funding mandates and OA legislation (USA) to those with limited internet connectivity (e.g. Albania). Although OA developments often follow economic development this is not always so: Moldova, for example, in partnership with INASP and eIFL, has developed active OA programmes. Its work with eIFL has enabled a consortium of international recognition with representation at UN World Intellectual Property Organization.(Global Open Access Portal)According to the latest data available on DOAJ and ROAR, throughout Europe there are now more than 200 repositories with a further addition of almost 100 repositories in North America (UA and Canada). More than 4000 of DOAJ’s OA journals are from Europe and North America.

Major Projects

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) is a service that provides access to quality controlled Open Access Journals. According to its stated objectives, the directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use an appropriate quality control system, and it will not be limited to particular languages or subject areas. The aim of the directory is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals thereby promoting their increased usage and impact.

DRIVER II(Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research)DRIVER has established a network of relevant experts and Open Access repositories. DRIVER-II consolidates these efforts and transform the initial testbed into a fully functional, state-of-the art service, extending the network to a larger confederation of repositories. DRIVER is integral to the suite of electronic infrastructures that have emerged in the worldwide GÉANT network and is funded under the e-Infrastructures by European Commission's 7th framework programme.

e-SciDR (Towards a European Infrastructure for e-Science Digital Repositories) e-SciDR is a study led by the Digital Archiving Consultancy on behalf of the European Commission to drive forward the development and use of digital repositorieswidely defined constructs from data to publications to tools, in the EU in all areas of science and the humanities to the earth sciences.

OpenDOAR directory OpenDOAR is a directory of open access repositories, searchable by location, contents and statistics. OpenDepot allows all academics worldwide to deposit their research in an Open Access repository.

B. Disciplinary Repository

A disciplinary repository (or subject repository) is an online archive containing works or data in a particular subject area or domain. In contrast to institutional repositories, disciplinary repositories can accept work from scholars from any institution. A disciplinary repository shares the roles of collection, dissemination and archiving of work with other repositories, but is focused on a particular area. These collections can include academic and research papers.

Some of the popular disciplinary repositories are as follows:

arXiv: The arXivis an archive for electronic preprints of scientific papers in the fields of physics, mathematics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology and statistics which can be accessed via the world wide web. In many sub-fields of mathematics and physics, almost all scientific papers are self-archived on the arXiv. (http://arxiv.org/).

RePEc : RePEc(ResearchPapers inEconomics) is a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers in 74 countries to enhance the dissemination of research in economics. The heart of the project is a decentralized database of working papers, journal articles and software components. The RePEc database holds over1,060,000 items of interest, over 925,000 of which are available online (http://repec.org/)

MEDLINE: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, or MEDLARS Online is a bibliographic database of life sciences and biomedical information. It includes bibliographic information for articles from academic journals covering medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care. MEDLINE also covers much of the literature in biology and biochemistry, as well as fields such as molecular evolution. The database is freely accessible on the Internet via the PubMed interface. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/pmresources.html)

PubMed Central: PubMed Central is an open access digital database of full-text scientific literature in biomedical and life sciences. It grew from the online Entrez PubMed biomedical literature search system. PubMed Central was developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) as an online archive of biomedical journal articles. Access to PubMed Central is free and unrestricted. Participation in PubMed Central is voluntary and publishers can deposit journal articles at any time. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed)Other disciplinary repositories include:

  • AgEcon: Agriculture and Applied Economics (http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/)
  • Astrophysics Data System - Astrophysics (http://adswww.harvard.edu/)
  • CiteSeer - Computer and Information Science (http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/index)
  • Dryad - Biosciences (http://datadryad.org/)
  • PhilPapers - Philosophy (http://philpapers.org/)
  • Social Science Research Network - Social Sciences (http://www.ssrn.com/en/)

Last modified: Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 11:57 AM