Skip main navigation

Publishing in Repositories

Learn more about repositories from Jessika Rücknagel in this article.
Github for desktop
© Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

What are repositories?

Publishing a work that has formerly been published in a closed-access journal, an anthology, or even as a monograph by a publisher is often referred to as secondary publishing, green open access or “self-archiving”. The most important platform for green open access publications are repositories. They are publication platforms and function as electronic archives for scholarly information and material of all kinds. Repositories offer a reliable platform for making scholarly content available worldwide free of charge, and independently of publishers. Operated by universities, research institutions or organisations, repositories serve either as institutional or disciplinary document servers. The latter contain subject-specific content and are usually available to authors for publishing scholarly works regardless of institutional affiliation. Institutional repositories, on the other hand, usually require that at least one of the authors has a connection to the corresponding institution. They represent an important pillar in the implementation of open access principles, especially the principle of long-term access.

Before a publication can be secondary published in a repository, the legal situation must be clear. It is important to note that when a work is formally published in a closed access venue, authors usually transfer exclusive rights of use to a publisher. In these cases, an open content licence, such as the Creative Commons (Creative Commons. About CC Licenses 2022) family of licences, cannot be granted for secondary publications. The secondary publication in the repository usually refers to the primary publication and thus also improves the visibility of the corresponding (primary) publication.

For primary publication, the choice of a repository can also be worthwhile. If you publish in a repository, you will be able to publish your work under an open licence, very often a Creative Commons licence. Traditionally, repositories do not provide peer review. They thus make it possible to publish materials that are not suitable for formal publication in a journal, but would be of interest to the scholarly community e. g. negative findings, working papers or other documentations of your research process. In this way, repositories help to promote new forms of scholarly communication. Qualification papers are also often published on institutional repositories.

© This work by Jessika Rücknagel is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
This article is from the free online

Openness in Science and Innovation

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now