Institutional Repositories

Sharing enables new research to build on earlier findings. It not only fuels the further advancement of knowledge, it brings scientists and scholars the recognition that advances their careers. Faster and wider sharing of research material gives researchers broader and deeper access to the resources they need and exponentially increases the exposure for their work. Online archives of universities, colleges, funding agencies, and other institutions — known as “repositories” — are key components of the emerging digital research infrastructure and can help ensure the widest possible sharing of scholarly works.

There are over 1400 repositories worldwide which serve to collect, preserve, and provide free, unrestricted online access to all types of institutional research outputs — seamlessly linking data, knowledge, and scholars.

As a scholar, depositing research into your repository has many benefits:


  • Increased exposure. Repositories make your work available to everyone who may be interested. a growing body of evidence shows that, as a result of being openly accessible, publications are cited more frequently. See The Effect of Open Access and Downloads (‘Hits’) on Citation Impact: A Bibliography of Studies for a list of studies.
  • Universal access. While an article published in a journal may be available to only a few hundred subscribers, the same article when also posted in a repository is available to all, greatly enhancing the public value of research.
  • Easier information discovery. By opening their content to service providers such as Google, Google scholar, and OCLC, repositories allow Web users to search every item they hold.
  • New computational research techniques. Digital repositories open the door to new computational research techniques and pathways, such as text mining, creation of text-data linkages, and identifying and visualizing relationships that are not otherwise observed.
  • Persistent access. By depositing your works in a repository, they will have persistent URLs (a reference URL) that will never change — no more dead links. Unlike items on ever-changing personal Web sites, works in repositories are available to whoever needs them, whenever needed.
  • Long-term preservation. Digital repositories are managed by your library, which is committed to long-term access to and preservation of the collection. The library will ensure ongoing maintenance and back-ups.
  • Wide range of content. Digital repositories collect more than just journal publications; they also collect other types of materials, such as conference proceedings, images, and sometimes research data — enabling you to integrate and provide access to a wide range of materials.
  • Benefit to students. Since no library can afford to subscribe to all the resources students need, putting your works in a digital repository ensures students everywhere can read and learn from them, creating an important new layer of information that is readily accessible. Students, who are early adopters of open approaches, are also benefiting from digital repositories by depositing their theses and dissertations — broadening the reach of these important works.
  • A new information landscape. Institution-based repositories complement other types of repositories, such as the u.s. National Institutes of Health’s PubMed Central, Theses Canada, and data repositories. In the future, the contents of these repositories will be linked and interoperable — enabling unprecedented usability and analysis. Content that is openly accessible offers tremendous opportunities for advanced searching and new discoveries.

The text of this page is extracted from the “Greater Reach for Your Research” pamphlet, published by CARL and SPARC.