On Repositories

A repository is a place to store and manage digital content. Additionally, many repositories display content as well a preserve it. Repositories play a key role in the dissemination of open access content, particularly for types of content that haven't traditionally had distribution platforms. Repositories are also the cornerstone of the green open access model, where versions of published materials are made accessible by other means like post-print or pre-print.

Repositories come in a few shapes and sizes, and through a variety of different software platforms. You're likely to see the following:

  • Institutional Repositories // Many academic institutions have their own digital repository for storing and sharing the research output of their faculty, staff, and students. UNB's official Institutional Repository is UNB Scholar.
  • Digital Collections Repositories // Similarly, a number of institutions have repositories containing archival or unique materials that have been digitized and made available for the public online.
  • Subject/Discipline-Based Repositories // Outside of the purview of specific institutions, some repositories represent certain fields of practice or study and collect/share materials by discipline.
  • Research Data Repositories // Many types of repository software have yet to tackle the challenges unique to displaying and sharing research data. However, the number of research data repositories are growing and they aim to make research data as open for reuse as possible.

"Can I share my work here?"

"I've been putting my articles in abcd.org. Does that meet my funding requirements?
- Pat C. Researchperson

There are a number of places that count as a managed repository that's discipline-based or institutional. If you have either a publisher PDF or post-print of your publication in our respository, UNB Scholar, you will be in compliance with most funder requirements. Additionally, it is very common for some disciplines to share their work in diciplinary repositories. The Open Access Directory at Simmons has an excellent list of disciplinary repositories.

It's often the case that faculty have been putting their content somewhere, though. Faculty in Chemistry or Math, for example, often share their content in arxiv.org. Arxiv is a managed, disciplinary repository with a great reputation. Other times, however, you might hear someone inquire about ResearchGate or Academia.edu. For all intents and purposes, these sites are not repositories. They are actually much more like academic Facebook than a managed repository, and, what's worse, if a journal's policies don't allow sharing of an item on social media, posting your articles there could be in violation of your contract with a publisher and could result in legal action.

If you're unsure as to where you might be able to share your publications safely, please contact your Scholarly Communications Librarian, Mike Nason.


Adapted from the CAUL/CBUA Scholarly Communications Committee Digital Scholarship Toolbox Gitbook.