Institutional repository


An institutional repository (IR) is an archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.[1] Academics also utilize their IRs for archiving published works to increase their visibility and collaboration with other academics.[2] However, most of these outputs produced by universities are not effectively accessed and shared by researchers and other stakeholders.[3] As a result academics should be involved in the implementation and development of an IR project so that they can learn the benefits and purpose of building an IR.[citation needed]

An institutional repository has been defined as "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."[4] 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 (ETDs). An institutional repository might also include other digital assets generated by academics, such as datasets, administrative documents, course notes, learning objects, academic posters or conference proceedings. Deposit of material in an institutional repository is sometimes mandated by an institution.[5]

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 less formally published grey literature such as theses, working papers or technical reports.



Institutional repositories can be classified as a type of digital library. Institutional repositories perform the main functions of digital libraries by collecting, classifying, cataloging, curating, preserving, and providing access to digital content.

Institutional repositories enable researchers to self-archive their research output and can improve the visibility, usage and impact of research conducted at an institution.[6][7] Other functions of an institutional repository include knowledge management, research assessment, and open access to scholarly research.[7]

In 2003, the functions of an institutional repository were described by Clifford Lynch in relation to universities. He stated 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]

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 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 disciplinary repository, for example, holds German-language research in psychology, while SSOAR is an international social science full-text server.[6] Content included in an institutional repository can be both digitized and born-digital.[8]

Open-access repositories


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.

Developing an institutional repository


Steps in the development of an institutional repository include choosing a platform[9] and defining metadata practices.[10] Designing an IR requires working with faculty to identify the type of content the library needs to support[11] Marketing and promoting the Institutional repository is important to enhance access and increase the visibility of the researchers. Libraries will also need to target their marketing efforts to different groups of stakeholders. They may generate faculty interest by describing how an IR can support research or improve future findability of articles[12]



Most institutional repository software platforms can use OAI-PMH to harvest metadata.[13] For example, DSpace supports OAI-PMH.[14]

A 2014 survey commissioned by Duraspace found that 72% of respondents indicated that their institutional repository is hosted by a third party.[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 by using protocols such as OAI-PMH. This allows search engines and open access aggregators, such as BASE, CORE and Unpaywall,[17] to index repository metadata and content and provide value-added services on top of this content.[18]

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

See also



  1. ^ Crow, Raym (2002). "The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper". ARL (223): 1–4.
  2. ^ Ukwoma, Scholastica C.; Dike, V. W. (2017). "Academics' Attitudes toward the Utilization of Institutional Repositories in Nigerian Universities". Portal: Libraries and the Academy. 17 (1): 17–32. doi:10.1353/pla.2017.0002. ISSN 1530-7131. S2CID 64042164.
  3. ^ Safdar, Muhammad (2021-01-01). "Students' Perception about Institutional Repository and Impact of Electronic Contents on their Research: A Pakistani Perspective". Library Philosophy and Practice (E-journal).
  4. ^ Lynch, Clifford (2003). "Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age" (PDF). ARL Bimonthly Report (226). Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  5. ^ Harnad, Steve; McGovern, Nancy (2009). "Topic 4: Institutional repository success is dependent upon mandates". Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 35 (4): 27–31. doi:10.1002/bult.2009.1720350410. hdl:2027.42/62145. ISSN 1550-8366.
  6. ^ a b c Smith, Ina (2015). Open access infrastructure. UNESCO Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 978-92-3-100075-1.
  7. ^ a b Smith, Ina (2015). Open access infrastructure. UNESCO Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 978-92-3-100075-1.
  8. ^ Smith, Ina (2015). Open access infrastructure. UNESCO Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-92-3-100075-1.
  9. ^ Callicott, Burton B.; Scherer, David; Wesolek, Andrew (2015). Making Institutional Repositories Work. Purdue University Press. p. 1. hdl:20.500.12657/31579. ISBN 978-1-61249-422-7.
  10. ^ Mering, Margaret (2019-06-14). "Transforming the Quality of Metadata in Institutional Repositories". The Serials Librarian. 76 (1–4): 79–82. doi:10.1080/0361526X.2019.1540270. ISSN 0361-526X.
  11. ^ Marsh, Corrie; Wackerman, Dillon; Stubbs, Jennifer A.W. (2017-05-01). "Creating an Institutional Repository: Elements for Success!". The Serials Librarian. 72 (1–4): 3–6. doi:10.1080/0361526X.2017.1297587. ISSN 0361-526X. S2CID 63263227.
  12. ^ Marsh, Corrie; Wackerman, Dillon; Stubbs, Jennifer A.W. (May 2017). "Creating an Institutional Repository: Elements for Success!". The Serials Librarian. 72 (1–4): 3–6. doi:10.1080/0361526X.2017.1297587. ISSN 0361-526X. S2CID 63263227.
  13. ^ "OAI-PMH Metadata Delivery for Catalogs and Institutional Repositories". EBSCO Connect. 2018. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  14. ^ "OAI - DSpace 6.x Documentation - LYRASIS Wiki". Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  15. ^ "Managing Digital Collections Survey Results". Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  16. ^ "The Case for Interoperability for Open Access Repositories" (PDF). COAR. July 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  17. ^ Dhakal, Kerry (15 April 2019). "Unpaywall". Journal of the Medical Library Association. 107 (2): 286–288. doi:10.5195/jmla.2019.650. PMC 6466485.
  18. ^ 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

  • Finlay, Stephen Craig, ed. (2021). The complete guide to institutional repositories. Chicago: ALA Editions. ISBN 9780838948101.
  • Callicott, Burton B.; Scherer, David; Wesolek, Andrew, eds. (2015). Making institutional repositories work. West Layfayett: Purdue University Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt1wf4drg. ISBN 9781557537263.
  • 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.
  • Ranking Web of World Repositories
  • List of repository software on Libopedia
  • Practical guidelines for starting an institutional repository
  • Peter Suber (ed.). "(Institutional repositories)". Open Access Tracking Project. Harvard University. OCLC 1040261573. News and comment from the worldwide movement for open access to research