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Scholarly Communications

The scholarly communications and publishing ecosystem, including formats of academic literature (journals, monographs, edited collections), research impact, grants, copyright, Open Access, Open Educational Resources, and non-academic publishing.

Why Repository-Based OA?

 Green Open Access, where you share (self-archive) your work in a repository, is one of the original forms of OA. There are a number of advantages to green OA, though there are also some major potential drawbacks.  

Benefits of Green OA

  • Self-archiving in a repository would allow you to publish in a non-OA journal if you want to and still make a version of your work open. 
  • Self-archiving is generally free. 
  • Green OA articles are cited on average 33% more (Piwowar et al., 2018).

Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., Farley, A., West, J., & Haustein, S. (2018). The state of OA: A large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, 6, e4375.

Potential Downsides of Green OA

  • You usually have to take the time to identify a repository and submit the work to be archived in addition to the normal publication process. 
  • Your publisher may place restrictions on your ability to self-archive, including that
    • You may not get to choose which version of the article is made open,
    • You might have to wait through an embargo period before your self-archived version can be made public, and
    • Your publisher might also place restrictions on where you can archive your work. 

Green PLOS Open Access logo is decided into the public domain using a CC0 dedication

Types of Repositories

Repositories can be divided into two categories:

Identifying Your Journal's Self-Archiving Policy

  • As noted in the potential downsides above, your journal's publisher may place limits on your ability to green self-archive in a repository or even forbid it all together. 
  • These policies should be located on a journal or publisher's site, though where they are is not standardized.
  • It might be easier to find them through Sherpa Romeo, which is a directory of journal OA policies

Search Sherpa Romeo

  1. You can search for OA policies by journal title and ISSN or by publisher.
    Sherpa Romeo homepage with the keyword "nature" in the search field "Journal Title or ISSN" and field displaying the autocomplete result "0028-0836, 1476-4687 Nature"
  2. Selecting a result will take you to its record page. At the top of the record you will see publication information, including a link to the journal, confirming you have the source.
    Romeo record for Nature, including headings for Publication Information (Title, ISSNs, URL, and Publisher) and Publisher Policy (subheadings Published Version, Accepted Version, and Submitted Version)
  3. Below the Publication Information is the Publisher Policy section, which has subsections for the Published Version (version of record), the Accepted Version (postprint), and the Submitted Version (preprint).
    • There may be multiple sections for any given version if a publisher has different OA pathways.
    • Each version will have a number of icons (described on the Sherpa Romeo About page) providing quick information about the OA policies for each version. This will include for green self-archiving and if it is an OA or hybrid journal. 
    • Click the version for name for expanded information. 
    • Following this, Sherpa Romeo will include links to all of the journal or publisher's listed OA policies so you can find complete details and confirm the record information. 

Discipline or Subject Repositories

  • A discipline or subject repository will collect work specific to an area of academic knowledge. 
  • Their focus can range widely in scope from broad subjects to narrow subdisciplines. 
  • Some repositories are community or member run (ex. arXive), others connected to a particular government institution or funder (ex. the National Institutes of Health's PubMed Central), and some are run by publishers (ex. Elsevier's SSRN).
  • They may focus on different types of formats, from archived peer-reviewed articles and conference publications to research data and software. 
  • Some exist just as open storage of materials. Others, especially those that focus on preprints, will also include feedback mechanisms to improve the published work. 
  • Since there are so many considerations for selecting a repository, you might want to ask a fellow researcher for suggestions or use the Directory of Open Access Repositories. 

Identifying Repositories with the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR)

OpenDOAR is a directory of nearly 6,000 repositories worldwide. If you are not familiar with a repository in your discipline, OpenDOAR is a great place to search. 

Search OpenDOAR

  1. If you think you know the name of a repository you want to learn about, use the Repository Name search bar. It will offer autocomplete options for the words you enter.
    OpenDOAR homepage with "pubmed" entered in the field labeled "Repository Name Search." The autocomplete option "PubMed Central" is displayed.
  2. If you do not have the name or part of the name for a repository, select the Advanced Search button below the search bar.
  3. In the advanced search, you can pull up a list of repositories using a number of features, including types of repositories, what content they accept, the subject area they cover, and geographic location.
    OpenDOAR advanced search form. In the field "Repository Type" the checkbox "Disciplinary" is selected, and in the field "Content Types" the checkbox "Journal Articles" is selected.
  4. For each result, you will see a record page for the repository. This includes information about the repository such as content collected and subject areas, information about the sponsoring organization, and links to Open Access policies.
    Record for PubMed Central, showing linked headings for Repository Information, Organization, and Open Access Policies

Institutional Repositories

  • Institutional repositories are tied to a specific university, government agency, or similar research institution.
  • They are generally multidisciplinary and tend to collect any type of materials that are produced by the staff  and faculty of their institutions. 
  • Because of this, institutional repositories provide a way to warehouse all of your publications and other work in one place.

The University of Memphis logoThe University of Memphis Digital Commons

Digital Commons is the institutional repository for the University of Memphis. Its mission is to collect any product from the work of UofM faculty and staff. 

Digital Commons is designed to host a wide variety of materials, including UofM dissertations and theses and University Libraries' digitized special collections and government publications.  

Submit Your Work

The University of Memphis Digital Commons will soon expand to include Open Access content. For further information, contact Dr. Kenneth Haggerty, Digital Initiatives Coordinator, at