A trusted academic repository provides a venue for publishing and a secure location for archiving your valuable work. The Libraries host the University of Maryland's institutional repository, DRUM (Digital Repository of the University of Maryland), and provide access to a range of other repositories through institutional memberships. The Libraries can also provide guidance on selecting an appropriate, trusted repository for your work if DRUM is not the best fit for your research.
Why Should I Use an Academic Repository?
Academic repositories provide secure storage and increase access to academic research and data. As the variety of research outputs continues to diversify, repositories offer opportunities to preserve and publish literature, digital projects, datasets, media, and other materials that may have educational or research value but do not fit the scope of existing publishing venues.
Many repositories are open access, allowing scholarly digital artifacts and other research materials to reach a wider, global audience. As the open access movement continues to gain momentum and we see increasing mandates from grantors to make funded research publicly available, repositories provide the technical mechanisms to share work even when traditional publishing methods lack the ability to support a wide variety of media or restrict access via subscriptions and other paywalls.
Lastly, in a fragile digital ecosystem, repositories and the services provided by those who operate them offer greater assurance that files will be preserved longterm and transmuted into accessible formats over time, preventing the loss of huge volumes of research, data, and archival material to digital obsolescence.
Types of Repositories
There are several types of academic repositories that might be a good fit for you and your work, based on the type of material you are depositing and the intended audience for your work.
Institutional Repositories: Many academic institutions have their own repository which provides a mechanism for gathering, preserving, and promoting the intellectual work of their community. In addition to publishing completed research and data, institutional repositories can be an ideal place to store and share white papers, preprints, conference proceedings and other gray literature and more diverse digital research outputs. Institutional repositories also publish theses and dissertations as well as other student work.
At the University of Maryland, College Park, the institutional repository is called DRUM (Digital Repository at the University of Maryland) and we welcome you to explore depositing your research or reach out to us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disciplinary Repositories: Disciplinary repositories generally offer the same services and publish similar digital outputs as institutional repositories. Rather than publishing the works of a specific institution, a disciplinary repository caters to a particular subject or research community. Disciplinary repositories may offer features or services that cater to your needs as a subject specialist (such as modified storage, linked data or the capacity to present or store media). Additionally, a disciplinary repository may be a better venue for increasing the visibility of your work. It may be more regularly accessed by members of your research community or specifically indexed to databases, catalogs and other points of research that are commonly used in your field.
Specialized Repositories: In addition to disciplinary venues, repositories that specialize in content types also exist. Data repositories, with larger storage capacities and data curation services are commonly used by UMD faculty. There are also repositories that specialize in code, images, or particular digital artifacts, such as MRI scans.
Funder Repositories: Some grant-funding bodies, such as federal agencies, maintain repositories to preserve and disseminate research they fund. Many, though not all, of these repositories contain both scholarly articles and data compiled in the research process.
What to Consider When Selecting a Repository
What is the best fit for my research?
As is noted above, not all repositories offer the same services, storage space, diversity of supported file types, or opportunities for discovery. The size and type of materials that you will be depositing, your goals in sharing your work via a repository, and any requirements from institutional partners or funding organizations are all important considerations that are specific not only to you as a researcher but to the demands of each project. It is also important to bear in mind that there may be costs involved in utilizing some repositories, such as fees for storage space or curatorial services.
Always take the time to research and think critically about any digital platform onto which you might publish your work or other intellectual property or store any data or other files. A good repository will not only offer broad access to your work but also provide assurance that your research will be well preserved.
- Stability: Who is hosting the repository? Is the institution or company known to you and do they have adequate funding in place to continue to support their initiative?
- Identification: What kinds of identifiers does the repository create and assign to your work? Identifiers like DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) can help to track citations and version your work while linking your work to an ORCID (a personal professional ID for you) can help to associate deposited content with your portfolio and digital identity.
- Discoverability: Who is part of the community that uses this repository? Is the language of the content and metadata compatible with the audience for your work and the databases or other research discovery mechanisms where you hope your work will be discoverable? Where is content in the repository indexed to?
One simple way to assess the quality of a repository is to look for the CoreTrustSeal, a certification made by an independent, community-based non-profit. This certification is made by an assembly of reviewers based on a catalogue of core characteristics of trustworthy data repositories and can signal a repository with international standards of preservation, administration, and technology management.
Find a Repository for Your Work
OpenDOAR: Browse a global directory of open access repositories based on a range of features, such as location, software or type of material held.
Re3Data (Registry of Research Data Repositories): Search this global registry of research data repositories representing the full range of academic disciplines.
Check out our resources on Open Data Repositories including platforms to which the University of Maryland, College Park participates as an institutional member.