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Scholarly Communication @ UH Manoa: OA & Institutional Repositories

Scholarly communication news and events for researchers at UH Manoa

Institutional Repositories Defined

Institutional repositories are "digital collections capturing and preserving the intellectual output of a single or multi-university community."  The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper (2002).

Repositories extend the traditional role of libraries to support research at all stages and to preserve, manage, and provide access to many types of digital materials in a variety of formats, which may include not only published papers, but also:

  • Datasets
  • Images
  • Conference papers and presentations
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs and Wikis
  • Spreadsheets, and more.

Learn more about repositories at SPARC's Repository Resources Page.

Examples of Institutional Repositories

United States:



Benefits of Repositories

Expanding Readership and Advancing Knowledge

A research repository allows scholars and researchers to preserve and manage the broad scope of items comprising their intellectual output, and, in doing so, complements the more traditional scholarly communication activities such as publishing in a peer-reviewed journal.

Research repositories also serve the university community by facilitating the collection and management of a department’s work to more clearly demonstrate the full impact of the scholarship and research produced by its faculty, students, and staff.


Repositories support scholars and researchers in all disciplines by creating a permanent archive of their digital research output. The contents of digital repositories are backed up regularly and stored on secure servers. Also, repository staff comply with emerging standards for digital formats that support long-term access regardless of changes in popular software.


Materials in online repositories are curated to enable search, discovery, and reuse. Items, or collections of items, have a permanent URI for citations. Also, citations for items that have the proper permissions are available for harvesting by subject-specific or region-based repositories. Repositories can help fulfill funder or journal requirements by providing a publicly accessible location for your research data.

Challenges Facing Repositories

Promoting the continual addition of research materials and the development of innovative services for repositories requires an active and sustained effort by stakeholders, including libraries, IT centers, administrators, and faculty. Some of the challenges facing repositories are:

  • Evolving digital formats
    Repositories must respond to changes in format standards for digital materials and must plan for data migration in order to maintain accessibility to deposited resources.
  • Storage
    As research outputs increasingly include large datasets and video, repositories will require ever-greater storage capacities.
  • Interoperability
    Scholars and researchers in diverse disciplines value different kinds of research output, and the variety of file formats that may be placed in a repository are challenging to manage.
  • Cost
    Repositories require staff to curate materials, train faculty, customize software, acquire storage capacity, and migrate data. These are recurring costs, and repositories cannot function well without sustainable business models and long-term commitments from their parent institutions.
  • Digitization
    Some scholars and researchers may have materials that they want digitized and placed in the repository, but repositories often do not have adequate staff or funding to offer this service.