Institutional Repositories: A World of Open Knowledge, Just a Click Away
By Molly Fischer
Online Librarian and Editor at American Public University
In the world of scholarly communications, institutional repositories are power players. An institutional repository is like a web storehouse, collecting all of an institution’s scholarly works in one location.
A well-run institutional repository can:
- Offer a permanent platform for a university’s scholarship, collecting it all in one perpetual location
- Allow for improved access to scholarship through search engine indexing
- Serve the greater academic community by making publications easily and freely accessible worldwide, without need for subscriptions or passwords
One of the most well-known institutional repository platforms is Digital Commons, a product of Bepress. The Digital Commons institutional repository platform is used by over 300 institutions, mainly in higher education, to showcase the institutions’ academic works and archival collections. This platform comes with the full support of product specialists at Bepress who can assist repository managers with setting up their repositories and making their materials available.
Finding content to support research on the Digital Commons network is easy. The Digital Commons network indexes the publications from all of its hundreds of member repositories by subject.
Move your mouse cursor over the Wheel of Disciplines to view the hundreds of classifications available to explore, system-wide. Click on particular disciplines to see further sub-disciplines. You can also use the search box in the upper right hand corner to search every full-text publication across the network, with tools to easily filter by discipline, year of publication, keyword, and more. Or, search within each individual institution’s repository by using the search box on its repository homepage.
The APUS Library launched its own Digital Commons repository, DigitalCommons@APUS, in December 2014. The mission of DigitalCommons@APUS is to preserve, promote, and share the academic work of students, staff, and faculty. The APUS Library organizes, selects, and administers the materials in DigitalCommons@APUS, which currently include:
- Master’s capstone theses that are designated as having passed with distinction
- Materials from the APUS ePress, including student and professional journals, monographs, and course materials
- Outstanding student papers
There are currently over 160 documents available for free download on DigitalCommons@APUS. Forthcoming collections include faculty publications and materials from the university archives and special collections. These publications support our students in their research, as well as encouraging scholarship within the greater academic community.
Through the use of institutional repository platforms such as Digital Commons, anyone with an Internet connection can gain free access to a world of knowledge. Students and faculty interested in submitting their own papers can email DigitalCommons@APUS.edu for further details.
About the Author
Molly Fischer is the editor of the APUS ePress, an APUS librarian, and repository manager for DigitalCommons@APUS. Molly completed her Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin and has worked previously as an academic librarian, specializing in government documents and legal materials.