. . . opening access to research  

OpenDOAR: The Directory of Open Access Repositories

Service  | Introduction  |  Service Scope  |  Aims  |  Project Team  |  Staff  |   Management   |   Funding  |   Presentations

Service Site

The OpenDOAR service provides a quality-assured listing of open access repositories around the world. OpenDOAR staff harvest and assign metadata to allow categorisation and analysis to assist the wider use and exploitation of repositories. Each of the repositories has been visited by OpenDOAR staff to ensure a high degree of quality and consistency in the information provided: OpenDOAR is maintained by SHERPA.

Introduction to the project

A multiplicity of Open Access research archives have grown up around the world, mushrooming in recent years in response to calls by scholars, researchers and open access advocates to provide open access to research information. There are a number of different lists of repositories and open access archives, but at present there no single comprehensive or authoritative list exists which records academic open access repositories.

Beyond these basic listings there is a need to move from cumulative lists to a more structured information service, cataloguing and describing repositories. Users need to know the scope and comprehensiveness of the information they find and be given features which facilitate the use of that information. For example, features to search, filter, analyse and query the descriptions of each repository.

Repositories need to be categorised with clear information on their policies regarding tagging peer-reviewed/non-peer-reviewed material, their subject coverage, the constituency they draw on for content, their collection and preservation policies, etc. Where this information does not exist, repositories should be encouraged to provide it as a means to further improve their visibility and the use of the content that they hold.

Therefore there is a need for a dependable listing of the academic e-print research repositories that are available world-wide, to underpin the outreach of the Open Access movement. OpenDOAR has been set up to provide this service.

Service Scope

OpenDOAR is constructing a comprehensive and authoritative list of institutional and subject-based repositories. It also encompasses archives set up by funding agencies like the National Institutes for Health in the USA or the Wellcome Trust in the UK and Europe. Much valuable work has already been conducted in listing repositories in different countries and OpenDOAR is building on this existing knowledge. OpenDOAR is therefore primarily a service to enhance and support the academic and research activities of the global community.

Users of the service are able to analyse repositories by location, type, the material they hold and other measures. This key point about OpenDOAR is that this information is of use not only to users wishing to find original research papers but also for third-party service providers, like search engines or alert services, who need easy to use tools for developing tailored search services to suit specific user communities.

OpenDOAR takes its place within a suite of support initiatives for the development of Open Access repositories. SHERPA currently runs three such general support initiatives. SHERPA compiles and maintains the RoMEO service, which gives summaries of the archiving rights that different publishers allow authors to retain. To complement this, SHERPA is developing the JULIET service, which summarises the archiving responsibilities and requirements that funding agencies give as a condition of funding grants. OpenDOAR is the third part of this repository service, listing available open access repositories.

Service Aims

OpenDOAR aims to:

Going through the OpenDOAR

The tasks within the initial OpenDOAR activities cover work to examine and clarify the emerging structure of the world-wide repository network. The work on classification and on metadata in progress will allow innovative and focussed search services, wherever they are based, to more efficiently identify required resources. As regards the listing itself, users can be assured of its sustainability, maintenance and authority.

There are several expected user-groups for OpenDOAR including researchers, browsers, service-providers, data-miners, administrators and funders. Each of these possess their own expectations, needs and perspectives. The information gathered is therefore analysed and represented in such a way as to satisfy the information requirements of all of these groups.

Given the ability to identify, sort and locate different repositories it is expected that new services and uses will develop. One example of this is the development of overlay journals; such emergent capabilities will be facilitated by the use of a comprehensive, structured and maintained list.

Opening further

OpenDOAR is in no way in competition with OAI registration, since the service intends to categorise repositories in ways that are not supported by normal OAI registration. Indeed the current registration protocol requires complete repository details to a level which some find problematic and for this, and other, reasons there are open access repositories which have not registered with OAI. OpenDOAR is actively searching for repositories to list and hopefully offers a straightforward registration process that will ensure that there will be significantly fewer omissions.

Repositories registered or included within OpenDOAR will be more visible and will naturally have their contents more easily found by researchers. While search services can be aware of repositories for metadata harvesting through a basic list or register, with rapidly expanding numbers of sites individual repositories and pieces of content will become harder to find amongst a larger number of search results.

With OpenDOAR allowing for repository listing by the content types it contains or the constituency it serves, a greater level of precision can be given to the searching process. In this way there is an increased chance for end-users to find a particular repository or for a search service to clearly flag an individual eprint or piece of research.

OpenDOAR to the future . . .

The initial OpenDOAR activities have been funded through to Mid-2006. During this time the list is being established and developed, but plans are also being laid for the long-term continuation of the service for the Open Access community for the foreseeable future.

Project Team

OpenDOAR is being developed and maintained by the University of Nottingham as part of a portfolio of work in Open Access and repositories under the SHERPA umbrella. OpenDOAR was started and initially developed by the University of Nottingham, UK and Lund University , Sweden.

The funders of the OpenDOAR project (OSI, JISC, SPARC Europe and CURL) have asked the SHERPA team at the University of Nottingham to complete the current development work. The decision to base the project at a single institution has been taken to ensure that OpenDOAR development work remains closely coordinated, and will continue to offer a high quality service for the remainder of the current project. A decision will be made in due course on the hosting of any ongoing OpenDOAR service, after the end of the current project.


Project Director

Stephen Pinfield, Nottingham


Project Manager

Bill Hubbard, Nottingham


Development Officer

Gareth Johnson, Nottingham

Technical Officer

Peter Millington, Nottingham

For further information about OpenDOAR and the work of the project, then please contact Gareth through the details above.

Project Management

Day to day management is under the control of the Project Manager, with oversight by the Project Director. The SHERPA Management Group has oversight of project work, with the CURL Executive Director as a representative of OpenDOAR funders. Close liaison is maintained with project funders in the direction and scope of project work.


The importance and widespread support for the project can be seen in its funders, led by the international Open Society Institute (OSI), which is a major player in advocacy for the spread of open access to the world's research findings. The UK funding body JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) has also backed the 18 month project, as part of a larger programme of funding for repository development in UK institutions. There has been additional contributory funding from the Consortium of Research Libraries (CURL) and from SPARCEurope - an alliance of European research libraries, library organisations, and research institutions.

The Open Society Institute (OSI) is a private foundation that links a group of autonomous foundations in more than 50 countries. It acts to support initiatives to promote open societies through policy development and direct support in education, human rights, media and social reform. As an initiative from the OSI, a meeting was convened in Budapest which led to the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) for scholarly communication. Further work from the OIS through the Open Access Project builds upon the principles outlined in the BOAI and aims to assist the international effort to make research articles in all academic fields freely available online.

The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)supports further and higher education in the UK by providing strategic guidance, advice and opportunities to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in teaching, learning, research and administration. The JISC has funded a number of projects and development in the field of Open Access, most notably the JISC FAIR Programme, which supported the examination of issues relating to Open Access repositories in UK universities. The SHERPA project was funded from the FAIR Programme.

The Consortium of Research Libraries (CURL) is an organisation based in the UK and Ireland, bringing together the libraries of major research institutions. CURL's mission is to help institutions to share research resources for the benefit of local and international research. It has a vision of a hybrid distributed library of the future and works to facilitate both desktop and physical access to research material.

SPARCEurope is an alliance of European research libraries, library organisations, and research institutions. SPARCEurope is active in promoting change in scholarly communication through supporting new publishing models (in particular, open access models). SPARC Europe collaborates with the international SPARC organisation based in Washington, DC, but it develops Europe-focused initiatives.

The OpenDOAR project would like to acknowledge the funding for the project work from these bodies with warm thanks, as without this support it would have been impossible to proceed.

Project Documents and Presentations

In addition to general advocacy work and presentations produced by the SHERPA team, the following presentations have been made on OpenDOAR work


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