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Open Access

What are Institutional Repositories?

Institutional Repositories (IRs) are digital collections of the outputs created within a college or research institutions and provide a way to collect, preserve and provide access to scholarly work. This can include content produced by faculty staff and students.

Content in IR collections can include:

  • Copies of published journal articles
  • Conference papers and proceedings
  • Electronic theses and dissertations
  • Research Data
  • Working papers
  • Posters
  • Presentations
  • Monographs and book chapters

Open Access Institutional Repositories and Archives are designed to make this content widely available on the web. By following international standards like the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), contents are indexed and widely accessible through Google and other search engines. By opening up the scholarly content of an institution to the world, institutions showcase academic research with interested parties and encourage the development and sharing of interdisciplinary research.

Data Repositories

The Open Data movement is a subset of the broader Open Access movement that seeks to encourage the sharing of research data with other researchers as well as with the public at large. The Open Data movement promotes transparency in research, collaborative and team science, and the re-use and re-purposing of research data. Research data can be defined as "the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings." (OMB Circular 110). This broad category can include texts/documents, lab/field notebooks, maps, genomes, chemical compounds, medical records, survey results, interview transcriptions, biological images, EKG waves, and more. 

While some institutions preserve and provide access to research data through their institutional repositories, it is more common to find separate institutional or disciplinary repositories just for research data, due to the specialized nature of these materials. Data in the sciences is often shared through disciplinary repositories - some are highly specialized, such as GenBank, while others, like the Harvard Dataverse Network, cover the sciences and social sciences more broadly. 

Open data is also often found from governments that provide their administrative data to the public. The United States Census and American Community Survey are two of the most well known examples of this type of data, but many other countries have been making their data more open and accessible. The Open Knowledge Foundation maintains a web page that tracks open goverment data around the world.

OA Directories and Examples

Directories of Open Access and Data Repositories:

Some prominent OA Repositories:

Some Liberal Arts OA Repositories:

Some Prominent Data Repositories:

  • Dataverse:The Dataverse Network project develops software, protocols, and community connections for creating research data repositories that automate professional archival practices, guarantee long term preservation, and enable researchers to share, retain control of, and receive web visibility and formal academic citations for their data contributions.
  • Dryad: Dryad is a curated general-purpose data repository that makes the data underlying scientific publications discoverable, freely reusable, and citable. Dryad has integrated data submission for a growing list of journals; submission of data from other publications is also welcome.
  • figshare: figshare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citableshareable and discoverable manner. figshare allows users to upload any file format to be made visualisable in the browser so that figures, datasets, media, papers, posters, presentations and filesets can be disseminated in a way that the current scholarly publishing model does not allow.