The last few years has seen rapid growth in the number of digital repositories, which fall into three main categories:
- Institutional repositories
- Funder-specific repositories
- Discipline-specific repositories
A challenge faced by all digital repositories is that many traditional journals only allow deposition of the author's manuscript version of the article, not the final, 'official' version. Additionally, an embargo period of 6 or 12 months may apply before the research article can be made openly available.
SpringerOpen allows the final version of all published research articles to be placed in any digital archive immediately on publication. Authors are free to archive articles themselves, but in many cases this is not necessary, as SpringerOpen can automatically supply a feed of open access articles to any repository that wishes to receive it.
Institutions are increasingly setting up their own digital repositories in order to preserve and make accessible their intellectual output. Several institutions now have policies that request (or require) their members to deposit a copy of any article that they publish into the institution's digital repository. Publishing in a SpringerOpen journal makes it easy to satisfy the requirements of such a policy.
Further information on institutional repositories:
Many funders have issued statements explicitly supporting open access to published scientific research. Two of the largest funders, the National Institutes of Health in the US, and the Wellcome Trust in the UK, have gone further and now request (or in Wellcome's case require) that all recipients of their funding deposit copies of any resulting research articles into the funder's own archive.
- Wellcome Trust position statement in support of open and unrestricted access to published research
- NIH public access policy
Publishing in an open access journal, such as SpringerOpen journals , is an excellent way to comply with such a deposition policy. SpringerOpen automatically deposits published articles in these funders' repositories which saves effort on the part of the author, who avoids the need to go through a separate deposition process for their article.
Many repositories also exist that serve the needs of researchers in a particular discipline, bringing together research from multiple institutions and funders. Some such archives are very broad in scope - for example NIH's PubMed Central covers all of biology and medicine, and ArXiV covers all of physics. But many other repositories exist that cover more specialist areas, ranging from CogPrints (cognitive science and psychology), to Antbase (ant taxonomy). Once again, a major benefit of Springer's open access policy is that it allows the final version of published articles to be included in any such discipline-specific archive.