Report on Open Repository Development in Developing and Transition Countries


Work data:

Type of work: Report


Open Access


Over the course of six months, 49 repositories from 20 countries on three continents participated in this survey. The following countries are represented: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Namibia, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan, Ukraine, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

As of May 20, 2010, The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) lists 277 repositories from these 20 countries (160 of those repositories (58%) are from Brazil, India and Taiwan). The repositories responding to this survey are not necessarily listed in ROAR.

There is a large diversity in size, geographic location, and cultural environment among the responding institutions. The survey does not compare responses among different countries or regions, nor try to identify characteristics of repository development in specific countries. There are undoubtedly a great many local challenges and circumstances that are not reflected in the survey data. Instead the survey attempted to gather information from a broad spectrum of institutions in developing and transition countries in order to get a better understanding of the current state of repository development in these countries and to identify general trends and challenges.

Some general findings of the survey include:

  • 66% of responding institutions maintain a digital repository for research output, and 15% maintain more than one digital repository for research output. 6% use a hosted service provided by a third party or vendor, and 4% of responding institutions use a hosted option provided by another member of their consortium or collaborative group.
  • Visibility, access, and preservation were the most important motivations cited by participating institutions to establish a repository. Other motivations included the need to evaluate researchers and departments, and as a response to requests from faculty.
  • The responses show an increasing rate of growth of repositories over the last several years, and indicate that these repositories are for the most part very new services. The repositories at nearly one-fourth of the participating institutions had been publicly accessible for less than a year at the time of the survey, and over 60% had been accessible for less than three years.
  • Libraries play a major role in advocating and maintaining repositories. By far the majority of participating institutions (88%) answered that the library actively advocated the establishment of a repository. The Information Technology department was the second most mentioned unit, cited by 28% of participating institutions. Other departments mentioned include administration (18%), academic departments (16%), and the research office (14%). In addition, 79% indicated that the repository was supported by funds from the library’s operating budget.
  • Electronic theses and dissertations are the most common type of material in the responding institutions’ repositories. Other common material includes full-text of research articles as peer-reviewed postprints, journals published from the institution, and conference papers. Preprints were far less common, as were audio and video.
  • 85% of the materials in the repositories of the participating institutions are open access or publicly available.
  • The majority of participating institutions (56%) stated that less than 25% of the researchers or faculty members at their institutions have deposited material in the repository. For almost one third (29%) of participating institutions the picture is a bit better – between 25 and 50% of the researchers or faculty members at these institutions have deposited material in the repository. 9% indicated that between 75-99% of the researchers or faculty members and 4% indicated between 50-75%. One institution indicated that 100% of the researchers or faculty members at their institutions have deposited material in the repository (this institution has an OA mandate).
  • About two-thirds of the participating institutions use some form of mediated deposit in which staff members or librarians are directly involved in the deposit of materials into the repository.
  • Dspace is by far the most common software package, used by 57% of participating institutions. 9% use EPrints and 2% use Fedora. 13% use locally developed packages and 19% use other packages (including Nitya Archive, Greenstone, dLibra (Poland), Socionet (Russia), and Digital Commons).
  • More than one third of participating institutions (38%) do not have any official policy with regard to depositing material. In 27% of institutions deposit is voluntary, but academics are strongly encouraged to deposit materials. In 18% there is partly mandatory depositing: academics are required to deposit some materials (such as theses or dissertations) and free to deposit other materials. 13% of participating institutions indicated that there is mandatory depositing: academics are required to deposit all research output.
  • The following services were listed as priorities for further development at an international scale: General search engines/gateways/portals (34%), Preservation services (34%), Advisory services (Open Access advocacy) (30%), Disciplinary/ thematic search engines/gateways/portals/repositories (27%), Citation index services (27%), Usage statistics services (25%), Cataloguing or metadata creation/ enhancement services (20%), Advisory services (technical aspects) (18%), Personal services for the depositing scientists (16%), Publishing services (14%), Research assessment/evaluation services (11%), Printing-on-demand services (7%), Repository hosting services (5%).
  • Among the most important STIMULANTS for the development of the digital repository and its content were: Increased visibility and citations for the publications of the academics in our institution (57%); Simple and user-friendly depositing process (32%); Institutional policy of mandatory depositing (32%); Awareness-raising efforts among the academics in our institution (32%); Interest from the decision makers within our institution (27%); The requirements of research-funding organisations in our country regarding depositing research output in Open Access repositories (16%).
  • And among the most important INHIBITORS for the development of the digital repository and its contents were Lack of an institutional policy of mandatory depositing (49%); Lack of requirements of research funding organisations in our country regarding depositing research output in Open Access repositories (40%); Lack of interest from the decision makers within our institution (33%); The situation with regard to copyright of (to be) published materials and the knowledge about this among academics in our institution (33%); Lack of an institutional policy of accountability (30%); Lack of awareness-raising efforts among the academics in our institution (30%) and Lack of coordination of a national body for digital repositories (21%).
  • The major challenge that the institutions faced in implementing, promoting and running the repository was content recruitment (42% of participating institutions). Other challenges included: Engendering faculty awareness and engagement (50%); Securing adequate funding and other resources (46%); Copyright issues (42%); Communicating with faculty about the repository (41%); Integrating the repository into workflow and other existing structures (35%); Staffing issues (31%).
  • The following issues were among those listed as priorities for the further development of digital repositories in developing and transition countries: Research Funding Agencies should introduce Open Access mandates; Awareness and Advocacy campaigns for academics organizations, Funding and Human Resources; Seek institutional mandate and support; A network of repository administrators to share ideas on populating strategies; Training and infrastructure; Promotion of mandatory depositing of publicly funded research; Work with publishers on copyright issues.


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