A digital repository is an online archive for the storage of digital objects; these can range from digital archives, moving or still image galleries, manuscripts, anything that is in electronic format and needs a place to be stored either in the short or longer term.
An open access repository is a digital repository where the content is freely available to download and reuse (sometimes with restrictions), where no login or subscription is required.
An institutional research repository is a digital repository for the storage of outputs from research undertaken at an organisation; these can be wholly open access repositories, closed access, or a mixture. Content that you might expect to find in an institutional research repository are: research papers, working papers, reports, datasets, and other digital objects resulting from research.
Queen Mary’s institutional research repository
Our institutional research repository is Queen Mary Research Online (QMRO); the repository is a mixture of open and closed access content. It contains articles, book chapters, reports, theses, datasets, podcasts and more.
Subject (sometimes called disciplinary) repositories bring together digital content from similar research or areas of interest onto one platform; they are seen as a good way to present the results of research by collection/theme.
Some examples of subject repositories are:
- arXiv - in the high energy physics, mathematics, computer science
- bioRxiv – biological and biochemical sciences
- Social Science Research Network (SSRN) – a range of subjects in the social sciences
- Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) – economics and finance related
- PubMed Central and Europe PMC – content in health and health-related sciences
For an extensive list of open access repositories that are subject or academic based, check out OpenDOAR. It allows you to search for repositories and also within repository contents.
Platforms with repository features (document storage) but that are not repositories
There are platforms for researchers to network and collaborate that do not fall into the traditional category of a repository, but that may have a repository function. These platforms often have controls on access to content, such as requiring login, that mean they are not considered open access. These include: