Information about Building Open Access Repositories
Institutional repositories are relatively quick and inexpensive to put together, using a standard web server and software and free-to-download Open Source software. There are a number of software systems which can be used: the two most popular are EPrints.org software and DSpace. Both are free to download and Open Source.
The Open Archives
Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) provides an application-independent
interoperability framework based on metadata harvesting which ensures that Data
Providers (repository managers) administer systems that expose metadata in a way
that can be harvested by Service Providers (such as search engines) to build value-added
DRIVER has identified key issues currently hampering the discovery and
access of materials held in OA repositories and has developed
Guidelines for Content Providers to address these issues. A key recommendation
of the DRIVER guidelines is that repository managers implement metadata
'sets'. This will allow metadata records which link to full text, to be
easily distinguished from metadata-only records and allow search services
to provide full text searching. DRIVER worked with software developers
to develop software specific solutions to meet this requirement. If you
are interested in learning more about the guidelines please contact the
The software can be installed on a standard server, costing about Euro2,100. It should take a technical officer between 2 and 5 days to get it all working, at a probable cost of approximately Euro1000. Experience from the SHERPA project shows that further customisation work is required during the first 6 months of the repositorys life. This includes developing the look and feel of the service, and ensuring it is fitted into the support and maintenance procedures of the institution. We estimate this adds up to 15 person days work over the course of 6 months, a possible cost of about Euro3000. Thereafter, ongoing technical work can normally be absorbed within an institutions standard maintenance routines.
The major effort in building an institutional repository is therefore not technical, but involved in the processes, policies and information environment of an institution.
The level of work depends on the scope of the repository and the level of integration with other services. For example, will it be a simple repository holding only research articles? Or will it include multimedia objects and be integrated into the institutional virtual learning environment?
Experience has shown that it is better to start with a simple, focussed repository and get this operational, before adding further elements. SHERPA in the UK has identified a number of common problems encountered and you may find it useful to review these early in the development of your repository.
Populating the repository has its own costs. At present, the major costs are in advocacy promoting the service and persuading academics to deposit articles in the repository. This cost would, of course, be eased if there was a mandate from the institutions requiring authors to do this themselves as part of their work. Research shows that most academic authors would be happy to deposit their materials in a repository if required to do so ( Swan, A. & Brown, S.N. (2004) JISC/OSI Journal Authors Survey Report).
The pages in this section of the website looks at specific issues of software and personnel, integration and advocacy. These can be accessed by the links on the left.
Last updated: 04-Feb-2010