Institutional repository

An institutional repository is an archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.[1][2][3][4]

An institutional repository can be viewed as a "...a set of services that a university offers to members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members."[5] For a university, this includes materials such as monographs, eprints of academic journal articles—both before (preprints) and after (postprints) undergoing peer review—as well as electronic theses and dissertations. An institutional repository might also include other digital assets generated by academics, such as datasets, administrative documents, course notes, learning objects, or conference proceedings. 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 in an open access repository, 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for an institution's scholarly research, and to store and preserve other institutional digital assets, including unpublished or otherwise easily lost ("grey") literature such as theses, working papers or technical reports.


Digital institutional repositories are document servers enabling researchers to archive their research output.[6] Worldwide institutions are starting to implement digital institutional repositories for digital formats of research. Scholarly output can be born-digital, in which no digitalisation is necessary before the research is included in a digital repository.[7] A digital institutional repository accessible through the Internet can improve the visibility, usage and impact of research conducted at an institution.[8]

The origin of the notion of an institutional repository are twofold:

  • Institutional repositories are partly linked to the notion of digital interoperability, which is in turn linked to the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and its Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The OAI in turn had its roots in the notion of a "Universal Preprint Service",[1] since superseded by the open access movement.
  • Institutional repositories are partly linked to the notion of a digital library—i.e., collecting, housing, classifying, cataloguing, curating, preserving, and providing access to digital content—analogous with the library's conventional function of collecting, housing classifying, curating, preserving and providing access to analog content.

In 2003 the function of an institutional repository was coined by Clifford Lynch in relation to universities. He argued that:

"... a university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution."[6]

Besides archiving research output institutional repositories can perform the functions such as knowledge management, research assessment and showcasing an institution's research output.[8]

The content of an institutional repository depends on the focus of the institution. Higher education institutions conduct research across multiple disciplines, thus research from a variety of academic subjects. Examples of such digital institutional repositories include the MIT Institutional Repository. A disciplinary repository is subject specific. It holds and provides access to scholarly research in a particular discipline. While there can be disciplinary repositories for one institution, disciplinary repositories are frequently not tied to a specific institution. The PsyDok digital repository for example holds German language research in psychology. SSOAR is an international social science full text-server.[6]

Open access repositories

See also: Open access by country

Institutional repositories that provide access to research to users outside the institutional community are one of the recommended ways to achieve the open access vision described in the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access. This is sometimes referred to as the self-archiving or "green" route to open access.

Repository 66 is a mashup that indicates the worldwide locations of open access digital repositories. It is based on data provided by ROAR and the OpenDOAR service developed by SHERPA.[9]

Developing an institutional repository

An institutional repository has been understood as a means to ensure that the published work of scholars is available to the academic community even after increases in subscription fees or budget cuts within libraries. The majority of research scholars do not provide free access to their research output to their colleagues in an organization. Institutional repositories provide scholars with a common platform so that everyone in the institution can contribute scholarly material to promote cross-campus interdisciplinary research. The development of an institutional repository redefines the production and dissemination of scholarly material within an academic community. The contents available on the institute’s website usually are removed after a few weeks. An institutional repository can provide a platform to manage institutional information, including web content. Institutional repositories have a number of benefits, including access to resources, visibility of research, and presentations of the contents.[10]

If an institution has decided to invest in a repository numerous resources exist to help librarians and other repository managers frame and answer such questions, including "A Librarian's Process for Building an Institutional Repository",[11]


The major institutional repository software platforms use a common open standard called OAI-PMH. This standard makes it not just possible to collect and move research output from one platform to another.

While a majority of the institutions run institutional repository software on local servers,[12] among new adopters, there is a strong preference towards cloud-based services. A survey commissioned by Duraspace found that 72% of respondents indicated that their institutional repository is a hosted service.[13] Institutions are choosing cloud-based solutions because such providers "enable institutions to easily get started with a hosted software service, with no need to provision local hardware, software, staff, or other infrastructure nor is there any specific technical skill or expertise required".[14] Also important to the decision to go hosted may be the understanding that a hosted institutional repository solution "frees a library from both hardware and software support, allowing staff resources to be directed to other publishing service functions such as consulting and workflow design."[15]


The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) states in its manifesto that "Each individual repository is of limited value for research: the real power of Open Access lies in the possibility of connecting and tying together repositories, which is why we need interoperability. In order to create a seamless layer of content through connected repositories from around the world, open access relies on interoperability, the ability for systems to communicate with each other and pass information back and forth in a usable format. Interoperability allows us to exploit today's computational power so that we can aggregate, data mine, create new tools and services, and generate new knowledge from repository content."[16]

Interoperability is achieved in the world of institutional repositories using protocols to which repositories should conform, such as OAI-PMH. This allows search engines and open access aggregators, such as BASE and CORE, to index repository metadata and content and provide value-added services on top of this content.[17]

The Digital Commons Network aggregates by discipline some 500 institutional repositories running on the Bepress Digital Commons platform. It includes more that two million full-text objects.

See also


  1. ^ a b Van de Sompel, H & Lagoze, C. (2000) The Santa Fe Convention of the Open Archives Initiativ. D-lib Magazine, 6(2).
  2. ^ Tansley, Robert & Harnad, Stevan (2000) Software for Creating Institutional and Individual Open Archives. D-lib Magazine, 6(10)
  3. ^ Harnad, S. (2005) The Implementation of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access. D-lib Magazine, 11(3).
  4. ^ Crow, R. (2006) The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper Archived 2011-02-04 at the Wayback Machine. Discussion Paper. Scholarly Publication and Academic Resources Coalition, Washington, D.C.
  5. ^ Lynch, Clifford. "Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age" (PDF). Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Smith, Ina (2015). Open access infrastructure. UNESCO Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 978-92-3-100075-1.
  7. ^ Smith, Ina (2015). Open access infrastructure. UNESCO Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-92-3-100075-1.
  8. ^ a b Smith, Ina (2015). Open access infrastructure. UNESCO Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 978-92-3-100075-1.
  9. ^ Lewis, Stuart. "About". Repository 66 Map Blog. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  10. ^ Bhardwaj, Raj Kumar. "Institutional Repository Literature: A Bibliometric Analysis." Science & Technology Libraries ahead-of-print (2014): 1-18
  11. ^ Stezano, Leo (March 2016). A Librarian’s Process for Building an Institutional Repository. Elsevier Library Connect
  12. ^ "OpenDOAR Chart - Usage%20of%20Open%20Access%20Repository%20Software%20-%20Worldwide". OpenDOAR. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  13. ^ "Managing Digital Collections Survey Results". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  14. ^ "Managing Digital Collections Survey Results Summary | DuraSpace". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  15. ^ "Search Publications | Association of Research Libraries® | ARL®" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  16. ^ "The Case for Interoperability for Open Access Repositories" (PDF). COAR. COAR. July 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  17. ^ Knoth, Petr; Zdrahal, Zdenek (2012). "CORE: Three Access Levels to Underpin Open Access". D-Lib Magazine. 18 (11/12). doi:10.1045/november2012-knoth.

Further reading

  • Bluh, Pamela; Hepfer, Cindy, eds. (2013). The institutional repository: benefits and challenges. Chicago: Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, American Library Association. ISBN 978-0838986615.
  • Buehler, Marianne (2013). Demystifying the institutional repository for success. Oxford: Chandos Publishing. ISBN 9781843346739.
  • Callicott, Burton B.; Scherer, David; Wesolek, Andrew, eds. (2015). Making institutional repositories work. West Layfayett: Purdue University Press. ISBN 9781557537263.

External links


Bepress is a commercial, academic software firm owned by RELX Group. It began in 1999 as the Berkeley Electronic Press, co-founded by academics Robert Cooter and Aaron Edlin. It makes products and services to support scholarly communication, including institutional repository and publishing software. Until September 2011 it also published electronic journals.

In August 2017, Bepress was acquired by RELX Group for an undisclosed amount, reported to be around £100 million ($129.3 million).


DSpace is an open source repository software package typically used for creating open access repositories for scholarly and/or published digital content. While DSpace shares some feature overlap with content management systems and document management systems, the DSpace repository software serves a specific need as a digital archives system, focused on the long-term storage, access and preservation of digital content.

Digital Commons (Elsevier)

Digital Commons is a commercial, hosted institutional repository platform owned by RELX Group. This hosted service, licensed by bepress, is used by over 500 colleges, universities, law schools, medical schools, healthcare centers, public libraries, and research centers to preserve and showcase their scholarly output and special collections.


EPrints is a free and open-source software package for building open access repositories that are compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. It shares many of the features commonly seen in document management systems, but is primarily used for institutional repositories and scientific journals. EPrints has been developed at the University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science and released under a GPL license.The EPrints software is not to be confused with "Eprints" (or "e-prints"), which are preprints (before peer review) and postprints (after peer review), of research journal articles (eprints = preprints + postprints).


Figshare is an online open access repository where researchers can preserve and share their research outputs, including figures, datasets, images, and videos. It is free to upload content and free to access, in adherence to the principle of open data. Figshare is one of a number of portfolio businesses supported by Digital Science.


Invenio is an open source software framework for large-scale digital repositories that provides the tools for management of digital assets in an institutional repository and research data management systems. The software is typically used for open access repositories for scholarly and/or published digital content and as a digital library.

Invenio is initially developed by CERN with both individual and organisational external contributors and is freely available for download.


The LOCKSS ("Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe") project, under the auspices of Stanford University, is a peer-to-peer network that develops and supports an open source system allowing libraries to collect, preserve and provide their readers with access to material published on the Web. Its main goal is digital preservation.

The system attempts to replicate the way libraries do this for material published on paper. It was originally designed for scholarly journals, but is now also used for a range of other materials. Examples include the SOLINET project to preserve theses and dissertations at eight universities, US government documents, and the MetaArchive Cooperative program preserving at-risk digital archival collections, including Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), newspapers, photograph collections, and audio-visual collections.A similar project called CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) "is a tax-exempt, 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization, governed by a Board of Directors made up of librarians and publishers." CLOCKSS runs on LOCKSS technology. Rutgers University Libraries have a webpage comparing LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, and Portico.

Mary Immaculate College

Mary Immaculate College (Irish: Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál), also known as MIC, is a College of Education and Liberal Arts. Founded in 1898, the university level College of Education and the Liberal Arts is academically linked with the University of Limerick. The College now has a student population of close on 5,000 enrolled in undergraduate programmes, an Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies programme and a range of postgraduate programmes at Diploma, MA and Ph.D level. The College has a student retention rate of 96% - one of the highest in Ireland.


MyCoRe (portmanteau of My Content Repository) is an open source repository software framework for building disciplinary or institutional repositories, digital archives, digital libraries, and scientific journals. The software is developed at various German university libraries and computer centers. Although most MyCoRe web applications are located in Germany, there are English-language applications, such as "The International Treasury of Islamic Manuscripts" at the University of Cambridge (UK).


Omeka is a free, open-source content management system for online digital collections. As a web application, it allows users to publish and exhibit cultural heritage objects, and extend its functionality with themes and plugins. A lightweight solution in comparison to traditional institutional repository software like DSpace and Fedora, Omeka has a focus on display and uses an unqualified Dublin Core metadata standard.Its software is currently being used by the New York Public Library, the Newberry Library, as well as many small museums and historical societies. The Missouri School of Journalism uses Omeka to share their archive of 38,000 photographs from the Pictures of the Year International contest.Developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Omeka was awarded a technology collaboration award by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and is used to teach curation.In November of 2017, The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media released Omeka S, a new version of Omeka designed for institutional use, providing the capability to host multiple sites which draw from a common pool of resources. Omeka Classic, the original project, will continue to exist alongside Omeka S with a focus on serving individual projects and educators.

Open-access mandate

An open-access mandate is a policy adopted by a research institution, research funder, or government which requires researchers—usually university faculty or research staff and/or research grant recipients—to make their published, peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers open access (1) by self-archiving their final, peer-reviewed drafts in a freely accessible institutional repository or disciplinary repository ("Green OA") or (2) by publishing them in an open-access journal ("Gold OA") or both.

Open-access repository

An open-access repository or open archive is a digital platform that holds research output and provides free, immediate and permanent access to research results for anyone to use, download and distribute. To facilitate open access such repositories must be interoperable according to the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Search engines harvest the content of open access repositories, constructing a database of worldwide, free of charge available research.As opposed to a simple institutional repository or disciplinary repository, open-access repositories provide free access to research for users outside the institutional community and are one of the recommended ways to achieve the open access vision described in the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition of open access. This is sometimes referred to as the self-archiving or "green" route to open access.

Open University of Catalonia

The Open University of Catalonia (Catalan: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC; IPA: [uniβəɾsiˈtat uˈβɛɾtə ðə kətəˈluɲə]) is an Internet-centered open university based in Barcelona, Spain.

The UOC offers graduate and postgraduate programs in Catalan, Spanish and English in fields such as Psychology, Computer Science, Sciences of Education, Information and Knowledge Society and Economics. Also, an Information and Knowledge Society Doctoral Program is available that explores research fields such as e-law, e-learning, network society, education, and online communities. It has support centers in a number of cities in Spain, Andorra, Mexico and Colombia.

Pacific Science

Pacific Science is an international, multidisciplinary, academic journal devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the Pacific basin, focusing especially on biogeography, ecology, evolution, geology and volcanology, oceanography, palaeontology, and systematics. It has been published by the University of Hawaiʻi Press since 1947, and serves as the official journal of the Pacific Science Association.

Volume 1 lists A. Grove Day as the editor in chief of a general editorial board for the University of Hawaii, where the editorship has remained. Leonard D. Tuthill of the Dept. of Zoology and Entomology served as editor of vols. 2-7 (1948–53); William A. Gosline of the Dept. of Zoology edited vols. 8-10 (1954–56) and vols. 22-25 (1968-71); and O. A. Bushnell of the Dept. of Microbiology edited vols. 11-21 (1957–67). The longest-serving editor was E. Alison Kay of the Dept. of General Science, then the Dept. of Zoology (from 1982), who edited vols. 26-54 (1972-2000), stepping down only after she retired. Gerald D. Carr of the Dept. of Botany edited vols. 55-58 (2001–04) and was succeeded by his departmental colleague, Curtis C. Daehler, from vol. 59 (2005).

The journal appears quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Its first electronic edition appeared in 2001 on Project MUSE, which continues to host archives of vols. 55 (2001) through 61 (2007). The most current electronic edition is available on BioOne, which also hosts archives going back to vol. 59 (2005).

Back issues of Pacific Science are archived online in the University of Hawaii at Mānoa's ScholarSpace institutional repository.


refbase is web-based institutional repository and reference management software which is often used for self-archiving. refbase is licensed under the GPL and written in PHP and uses a MySQL backend.

It can import and export a variety of standard bibliographic formats, including BibTeX, EndNote, RIS, ISI, MODS XML, PubMed, Medline, RefWorks, and Copac. It can generate formatted bibliographies and citations in LaTeX, RTF, HTML, and PDF. refbase also has advanced search features and can generate RSS feeds from searches. Links using DOIs and URLs can be added, as can links to files. refbase supports the Search/Retrieve via URL (SRU) and OpenSearch web services as well as COinS and unAPI metadata.

refbase packages have been put in the official Gentoo Linux and Mandriva Linux repositories and has been used by the United States Geological Survey.


Samvera, originally known as Hydra, is an open-source digital repository software product. Samvera main components are Fedora Commons, Solr, Blacklight, and HydraHead (a Ruby on Rails plugin and gem, respectively). Each Samvera implementation is called a "head".


SimpleDL is digital collection management software that allows for the upload, description, management and access of digital collections and is UTF-8 compatible. SimpleDL is not limited by format and is capable of handling documents, PDFs, images, videos, audio files, and data only objects. In addition to simple digital files, SimpleDL can also connect content so multipage documents, scores, or books can be uploaded and organized into chapters, books or by page number. SimpleDL can also combine any number of images into one display object. SimpleDL is mostly used by libraries, archives, museums, government agencies, universities, corporations, historical societies, and other organizations that wish to host a digital collection.

Zoologische Mededelingen

Zoologische Mededelingen is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal that publishes papers and monographs on animal systematics. The publisher is the National Museum of Natural History Naturalis in The Netherlands. The first issue of Zoologische Mededelingen appeared in 1915, as the official journal of Naturalis' predecessor 's Rijks Museum van Natuurlijke Historie. Earlier, the museum published Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle des Pays-Bas (volumes I-XIV, 1862-1908) and Notes from the Leyden Museum (volumes I-XXXVI, 1879-1914), which mainly covered the fauna of The Netherlands and the former Dutch colonies.

Zoologische Mededelingen is indexed in The Zoological Record and BIOSIS. A complete backlist of published volumes is presented on the institutional repository of Naturalis.

Projects +

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