Digital repositories have great potential for value added services and offer a range of benefits to researchers, institutions and the global research community. Open access repositories offer additional advantages by taking the results of research that has already been paid for and making it freely available on-line. This process can have significant advantages for individual authors, for researchers, for institutions and for the process of research generally by allowing improved management of intellectual outputs and freeing up the process of dissemination. Perceived benefits include:

For the researcher:

  • Increased visibility of research output and consequently the department and the institution
  • Potentially increased impact of your publications by you as an author at the institution. Research made freely available can be disseminated more widely and have greater impact. Work done on citation analysis has demonstrated that research that is made freely available is going to be easier to cite
  • In fast moving subjects such as Electronics, researchers can make preprints (as opposed to peer reviewed papers) available via a repository, to establish that they were first and to get feedback
  • Helps you manage and store digital content connected with your research, including the underlying research data
  • Helps researchers manage the likely requirements of funding bodies for publications to be made available in a repository. The role of funders and their mandates is explored more elsewhere on this site.
  • Provides the possibility to standardise institutional records e.g. Academic's CVs and published papers
  • Allows the creation of personalised publications lists
  • Offers usage metrics so researchers can determine hit rates on specific papers
  • Creates the potential to undertake citation analysis through following links to papers held in other repositories.

For the institution:

  • A repository can interoperate with other university systems and maximise efficiencies between them by sharing information
  • Increases visibility and prestige of institution (depending on content contained)
  • Repository content is readily searchable both locally and globally
  • Allows an institution to manage their intellectual property rights by raising awareness of copyright issues and facilitating the recording of relevant rights information
  • A repository that contains high quality content could be used as 'shop window' or marketing tool to entice staff, students and funding
  • Repository can store other types of content that isn't necessarily published, sometimes known as 'grey literature'
  • Learning and teaching materials previously locked away in Virtual Learning Environments for specific courses could be stored centrally to increase the potential reuse, repurposing and sharing of the materials
  • A repository may be an important tool in managing an institution's RAE submission
  • Repositories could provide cost savings in the long run provided that a significant amount of content is deposited in them
  • Offers greater flexibility over websites with better security and preservation of various kinds of digital materials through the collection of standardised metadata about each item.

For the global community

  • Assists research collaboration through facilitating free exchange of scholarly information
  • Aids in the public understanding of research endeavours and activities.

Find out more from the JISC Digital Repositories infoKit