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Durham Research Online
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Durham Research Online

DRO is an institutional repository, a database of records describing Durham University's research outputs. The full-text of an output is attached to its record if the copyright agreement with the publisher permits. Usually the author's final, peer-reviewed manuscript - the post-print - rather than the published version.

DRO is part of a global network of Open-Access (OA) repositories. Their purpose is to provide free access to research, much of it publicly funded.

Author deposit of post-prints in repositories is known as author self-archiving or the Green route to Open-Access.

Key characteristics of repositories

  • Contents can be used free of charge
  • No registration process or institutional subscription required
  • Full-text available if copyright agreements with publishers permit
  • Usually the author's final, peer-reviewed manuscript - the post-print - is deposited

Open-Access drivers

  • Availability of Internet technologies able to disseminate digital information to a global audience
  • Growth in the volume of research literature
  • Rising costs of academic journals

No research institution, however prosperous, can now afford access to all relevant research literature.


Types of repository service

  • Institutional repositories

  • Subject repositories

  • Funders' repositories

  • Cross-repository services
    • Examples: OAIster hosted by OCLC and BASE hosted by Bielefeld University Library in Germany. These repository harvesting services gather and index the contents of numerous, scholarly repositories and provide users with a single search form.

Other routes to Open-Access publication

Authors can make their work Open-Access in ways other than self-archiving in repositories:

  • Open-Access journals

    • Contain scholarly, peer-reviewed articles freely available to readers. Use the Directory of Open-Access Journals (DOAJ) to view a list of over 5,000 titles. The publishers finance their operations in different ways:

    1. Authors pay the publisher a publication fee or 'Article Processing Charge' (APC). Costs vary, but can be up to £3,000. Some research funders allow APCs to be included in grant applications. The 'Author-pays' option is known as the Gold route to Open-Access.

    2. Authors' institutions pay the publisher - a variant of the above 'Author-pays' Gold Open-Access. Example: BioMed Central. Payment options include an annual subscription or quarterly payment in arrears to publish articles in BioMed's journals written by the institution's authors. Articles are peer-reviewed before being accepted for publication.

    3. Subsidy by the institution or professional society hosting the journal. Revenue from membership fees or subscriptions to any printed version of the journal may be used to fund the Open-Access version. Use the Directory of Open-Access Journals (DOAJ) to search for Open-Access journals which do not charge a publication fee.

  • Hybrid journals

    • Journals which contain a mix of Open-Access articles alongside subscription-only articles. Many of the large, commercial publishers now offer authors or their institutions the option to pay to make their articles Open-Access. Examples: Wiley-Blackwell (OnlineOpen) ; Springer (Open Choice) ; Taylor & Francis (iOpenAccess).

  • Open-Access books and monographs

    • Although Open-Access came to prominence in the area of journal publishing, there have been significant developments in book and monograph publishing. Contrary to some expectations, the availability of Open-Access versions of hard-copies seems not to have reduced print sales. A number of University Presses are exploring this new means of scholarly dissemination. Example: the 'Open Access Publishing in European Networks' project OAPEN - a partnership including Amsterdam University Press, Manchester University Press and G√∂ttingen University Press.