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Research Guides

Scholarly Publishing and Open Access: Open Access Repositories

Overview of open access publishing and policies

Repositories - An Overview

Digital repositories are widely used as a mechanism for making scholarly works freely accessible on the web. Academic libraries are often involved in the creation and management of institutional repositories that focus on preserving and disseminating the scholarship produced by their institution’s faculty and students. This can include article pre-prints and manuscripts, technical reports, conference proceedings, data sets, and software, as well as theses and dissertations.  Institutional repositories are especially important for universities with open access policies that direct faculty to deposit final manuscripts of scholarly articles into repository.  They are further useful in helping researchers comply with funder mandates on the accessibility of research data. Libraries are also instrumental in creating repositories for the purpose of digitizing, preserving, and showcasing cultural heritage collections.

Disciplinary repositories, such as arXiv (physics, mathematics, nonlinear sciences, computer science, quantitative biology) and PubMed Central (biomedical and life sciences) perform the same sorts of services as institutional repositories, but for scholars within particular disciplines or groups of disciplines. Finally, grant funding agencies, such as federal agencies, create and maintain their own repositories to preserve and disseminate the research they support. These repositories include not only scholarly articles but also the data produced and compiled in the process of the funded research. 

What Is UW's ResearchWorks Archive?

The ResearchWorks Archive is the UW’s institutional repository. It provides a permanent, safe service for providing access to articles, technical reports, datasets, images and other file types produced at the University of Washington by faculty and researchers. The Archive enables University of Washington researchers and academic units to make their scholarly materials accessible to the world, at a stable URL, with the assurance that the materials will be maintained into the future.

Why Deposit Your Paper into the UW ResearchWorks Archive?

Increases citation impact

  • Provides world-wide visibility and accessibility via search engines such as Google, bringing many new readers to your content

Guarantees permanence

  • Assigns a stable, permanent URL to your work so readers will always be able to find it 

Ensures quick, efficient archiving of your scholarly work

  • Relieves you and your unit of the responsibility for system maintenance
  • Removes information technology barriers

Directory of Open Access Repositories - OpenDOAR

OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories.


SHERPA RoMEO is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis.

A social networking site is not an open access repository

“What’s the difference between ResearchGate,, and the institutional repository?”  Read this useful blogpost by Katie Fortney and Justin Gonder at the University of California Office of Scholarly Communication.