The Role of Institutional Repositories in Promoting Open Access
Institutional Repository Open Access

The Role of Institutional Repositories in Promoting Open Access


Is your institution committed to the Open Access movement? A great way to demonstrate or reaffirm your commitment is to undertake the grind of building and maintaining an institutional repository.

Implementing Open Access mandates is challenging. But when you have a repository that the institution can control and benefit from, the potential becomes limitless. Together with breaking down access barriers, you will be able to improve visibility, gain international exposure, and raise your institution's profile.

To get a deeper understanding of the premise, join us as we discuss why institutional repositories are essential for Open Access.

Let's get started.

Why Are Institutional Repositories Essential to Meet Open Access Goals?

Before we begin, let’s review the goals of the Open Access Movement. Since its emergence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the aim of the Open Access Movement have included (but not limited to):

  • Democratize access and increase the visibility of research output
  • Enable scholarship and research data to be mined, used, and reused
  • Maximize the ROI of research by ensuring the learnings are freely available
  • Inspire further research

Broadly, every institution committed to Open Access will hope to achieve these objectives through its different initiatives. Now when institutions have their own repositories, meeting these goals becomes much easier. Here’s how:

1. Offers Greater Control

Unlike third-party repositories, you can assert greater control over a repository that your institution owns. How does it help? Well, it allows you to build a repository that is in sync with your Open Access Policy.

For instance, if the policy states that tables and figures related to research can be made available publicly, you can ask the repository software providers to make it a part of the deposit workflow.

Institutional Repository of IIT Madras

With technology, learning methods, and copyright rules changing rapidly, owning a repository gives you the flexibility to make changes when required. It also reduces the power imbalance in the publishing industry, as institutions do not have to depend upon publishers to make their content widely available.

2. Acts a Centralized Platform

Without a repository, the scholarly output produced by your institution will continue to remain in silos. Some papers may be stored in departmental libraries, others in archives, and grey literature like slideshows in Google Drives or personal hard drives of authors. How can you make the corpus Open Access when it is not indexed or navigable?

An open-access institutional repository solves this problem. It ensures that each deposit is neatly categorized based on the author's name, co-contributors involved, content type, keywords, department, and other details. Visitors will be able to find what they are looking for in minutes.

3. Integrates Open Access With Other Campus Activities

To promote Open Access in your institution, you need buy-in from faculty, researchers, and students. Building an open access repository is an excellent step toward that. It gives key stakeholders a first-hand understanding of the concept, its benefits, and why it must be sustained.  

University of California allows members to deposit seminar and conference-related resources too

The scholarly communication office should work closely with student and faculty liaisons to ensure the repository is part of the curriculum and campus activities. It could be as simple as encouraging workshop and conference participants to upload presentations and papers created in connection with the event to the repository. Over time, these efforts will help you educate and develop awareness around Open Access and make it a critical part of your institution’s fabric.

4. Makes it Easier to Meet Open Access Mandates

Nowadays, it has become a standard practice for universities to set up an Open Access Policy which requires its faculty and researchers to make a version of their articles publicly available where possible. In addition to this, the arrival of initiatives like Plan S has led to a greater push toward making public-funded research widely available.

University of Southhampton's Open Access Policy requires students to upload articles to their institutional repository

The best way to meet these requirements is to have an institutional repository. Apart from compliance, it leads to greater visibility and more citations, which can, in turn, improve your institution’s reputation and rankings.

5. Open Up PDFs Hidden Behind Paywalls

Identifying and discovering copyright information of your research corpus is a challenging task. It gets even more demanding for your library staff when they don’t have a centralized platform to record and track this information. In the end, the access to your research output will be limited, diminishing its potential impact.

Open up PDFs hidden behind paywalls

If you have a Typeset-powered repository, you will be able to tackle this challenge with relative ease. The solution comes with Copyright Detection Technology that allows your library staff to identify embargo dates, determine what version can be made publicly available, and more.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that institutional repositories enable universities and research organizations to be more independent and meet Open Access mandates with relative ease. On top of that, it is a great way to educate students about the benefits of Open Access. If this movement is to sustain, it must gain support among the next generation.

It gets much easier to run an open access repository when it is hosted on Typeset. With its integrated writing and publishing tools, copyright detection technology, streamlined deposit and approval workflows, including search-friendly indexing, you will be able to manage and showcase your research output seamlessly.