Open Access

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Overview in the scholarly life cycle

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What Open Access and Institutional Repositories are about

According to Wikipedia ( "In publishing, open access (OA) is free online access to articles that have traditionally been published in scholarly journals. Most open access material in this context is distributed via the World Wide Web. There are several variations in open access publishing:

  • "Gold OA": A fully open access journal hosted by the publisher with no barriers to online access.
  • Hybrid open access journals provide open access only for some articles, those for which payment is made on behalf of the author.
  • Delayed open access journals open access to particular articles only after a period of embargo.
  • "Green OA" is open access self-archiving (deposit by its authors) of material which may have been published as non-open access.

Institutional Repositories

An Institutional Repository is an online locus for collecting, preserving, and disseminating -- in digital form -- the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.

For a university, this would include materials such as research journal articles, before (preprints) and after (postprints) undergoing peer review, and digital versions of theses and dissertations, but it might also include other digital assets generated by normal academic life, such as administrative documents, course notes, or learning objects.

The four main objectives for having an institutional repository are:

  1. to create global visibility for an institution's scholarly research;
  2. to collect content in a single location;
  3. to provide open access to institutional research output by self-archiving it;
  4. to store and preserve other institutional digital assets, including unpublished or otherwise easily lost ("grey") literature (e.g., theses or technical reports).

The origin of the notion of an "institutional repository" [IR] are twofold:

  1. IRs are partly linked to the notion of digital interoperability, which is in turn linked to the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and its Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The OAI in turn had its roots in the notion of a "Universal Preprint Service,"[1] since superseded by the open access movement.
  2. IRs are partly linked to the notion of a digital library -- i.e., collecting, housing, classifying, cataloguing, curating, preserving, and providing access to digital content, analogous with the library's conventional function of collecting, housing classifying, curating, preserving and providing access to analog content.

There is a mashup indicating the worldwide locations of open access digital repositories. This project is called Repository 66 and is based on data provided by ROAR and the OpenDOAR service developed by the SHERPA. Data from this service indicates that as of 2007[update], the most popular IR software platforms are Eprints, DSpace, and Bepress.

Open Access in South Africa

DRIVER wiki on Open Access in South Africa:

openDOAR list of South African Institutional Repositories: