Open Access Week Scholarly Communication

Institutional Repositories

Learn about institutional repositiories and why they are beneficial to researchers.

An institutional repository, also known as a digital repository, is “a digital archive of an institution’s intellectual output” (Canadian Association of Research Libraries, n.d.).

Such repositories are typically managed by libraries and offer local and convenient infrastructure from which digital materials (articles, images, posters, etc.) are stored, managed, and re-used (Semple, 2006; CARL & SPARC, 2008).

Institutional repositories offer the following benefits:

  • Increased exposure and discoverability: Repository content is accessible freely online and usually discoverable through services such Google Scholar (CARL & SPARC, 2008). 
  • Increased metrics: According to download statistics, repository content sees increased value through exposure, citation counts, and downloads (CARL & SPARC, 2008; Demetres et al., 2020).
  • Persistent access: Works deposited into a repository are assigned a persistent URL or Digital Object Identifier (DOI), allowing for uninterrupted access.
  • Long-term preservation: The librarians who manage institutional repositories are committed to providing long-term access and preservation of collections (CARL & SPARC, 2008). 
  • Wide range of content: In addition to journal articles, institutional repositories have the capacity to house other types of materials, such as conference proceedings, images, and poster presentations (CARL & SPARC, 2008).

High the importance of institutional repositories has been a priority for academic and scholarly communications organizations, such as the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). 

A list of Canadian institutional repositories is available on the CARL website: https://www.carl-abrc.ca/advancing-research/institutional-repositories/repos-in-canada/