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Open Access Toolkit

Use this guide to learn more about Open Access publications, funding, metrics, etc.

Institutional Repositories 

Publishing in an Open Access Journal is one way of providing people with freely available access to your research.  Another way you can make your content openly available is via Institutional or Subject Repositories.  These repositories house, preserve, make accessible and license content held within them.  They are also known for providing usage data and access to files.

Before putting a published work into a repository, first ensure that you can do so legally by (a) consulting  SHERPA  RoMEO to Learn about specific publisher policies related to self-archiving or (b) guaranteeing your right to self-archive by using an Author Addendums when signing a publishing contract (These addendums are used to modify publishing contracts and serves as a Rights Retention Strategy.) 

After checking on your right to self-archive, next choose a relevant repository.  Brandon University has an Institutional Repository known as IRBU that accepts content.  

Subject / Discipline Repositories

Why Share your Research via a Subject Repository?

There are also many, many subject repositories.  These repositories provide researchers with three major advantages.

  1. They enable researchers to meet a funder Open Access mandate without publishing in an Open Access Journal.  In fact, funders may ask that you share your research via a specific subject repository.
  2. Speed up knowledge transfer.  (See: Is preprint the future of science? A thirty year journey of online preprint services.)
  3. They increase research visibility: particularly in disciplines like medicine, physics (etc) where it is common practice for researchers to share their knowledge.  Some of the more recognizable subject repositories one will find include:

Repository for Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology.  
This repository is so well known in physics that Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) mentions uploading research papers to it.

Repository for biology, life sciences.

High Energy Physics

Repository for Cognitive Science, Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Neurology, Biology

Biology, Life, Medical and Computer Science

Repository for Philosophy Papers

Repository for Research into the Philosophy of Science

Major Medical Repository hosted by the National Institute of Health's National Library of Medicine

Major Economics repository with links to papers, and other information Economists wish to share.

If you wish to share your research via a subject repository but are unsure which one(s) to use, try consulting:   

Lists repositories and has information about each including statistical deposit activity.  

Lists repositories by discipline.  Includes links to some International ones where English may not be the first language.

Can I Archive My Research in an Academic Social Network?

The answer to this question is no.  Academic Social Networks like ResearchGate,, Mendeley and LinkedIn allow you to follow the work and posts of other researchers and create a profile for your work.   Their purpose is to market the work of researchers.  

Funding Agencies, Institutional OA policies and other mandates generally want to see the research (1) made openly available, and (2) preserved for the long term.  These types of services are offered by Institutional Repositories and by Subject Repositories designed for these purposes.  Funders like the Tri-Agency recommend IRs or specific Subject Repositories.  (Note: You can learn more about the differences between Academic Social Networks and Repositories here.)

So long as your publishing contract allows you to share your work, you can place the article in a repository and a social network.  But before you share your content via an Academic Social Networks, be aware of the following issues:

  •, LinkedIn, Mendeley and ResearchGate are operated by private companies, which raises concerns such as whether their ratings measure the right things (Do ResearchGate Scores create ghost academic reputations?) or even whether they change recommendations  if paid to do so. (See: Dear Scholars, Delete your account at
  • (not a real .edu) encourages researchers to upload the full text of their work and at the same time is starting to charge for memberships which restricts access and search capabilities. (See: Academic Social Networks.) 
  • ResearchGate and do not permit their users to take their own data and reuse it elsewhere, nor do their terms of service permit the library to extract that data on the authors’ behalf.
  • Whenever you sign up for a service, it’s a good idea to read the Terms of Use.’s termsgive the company a license to make derivative works based on articles users upload to the site “in connection with operating and providing the Services and Content to you and to other Members.” ResearchGate’s terms include an agreement to have the user’s relationship with the company be governed by German law. And both sites have an indemnification clause, asserting that if the site faces any legal claims arising from things users upload to the site, the user will bear the cost.
  • If the typical behavior of commercial social networking sites bothers you – gathering users’ information for their own purposes – be as wary of those that target academics. Institutional  repositories enable you to share your research widely without trying to mine your address book.
  • Some of these sites send invitations to your colleagues, or send you a large number of notifications.  Make sure you check your notifications settings in your account to avoid sending or receiving unwanted emails.  

Retaining Copyright with Author's Addendums 

signing an 


In order to know your rights as an author consult this guide.  It is very informative for any author.


Creative Commons Licenses

CC licenses were designed to allow Creators to share their work under certain conditions and these licenses override default restrictions in copyright law. 
They are particularly useful in licensing open access to non traditional publications such as data, open educational resources, , (etc) as they can be added to a wide variety of web pages, social media sites and are widely used in repositories.

All CC Licenses allow for Reuse and Redistribution of a work – after that there are  alternative licenses based upon the following:

  • Attribution: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give you credit.
  •  Noncommercial: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.
  •  No Derivative works: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
  •  Share Alike: You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

All content licenesd under a Creative Commons License can be Reused or Redistributed (i.e.Shared with others - such as in a Course Pack) without the need to contact the copyright holder.  If you want to modify it in any fashion, you will need to ensure that the license does not contain a No Derivatives Works clause - which prevents others from either Remixing or Revising the content.   You would want to have the right to make Derivative works if you wanted to:

  • Translate a work into a different language
  • Change it to suit local need (e.g. Modify it for learners at different stages of their education)
  • Change formats (e.g. make an audio recording of a text)
  • Mix the content in one OER with the content from another to make something new (e.g. take chapters or articles and put them together in an anthology.)

Creative Commons Licesnse that allows for the making of Derivative Works (i.e. Open Educational Resources) generally include on of three types of Creative Commons Licenses:

  • Attribution License – Have the ability to do all the 4Rs PROVIDED that you give attribution to original author.
  • Attribution Share-Alike License - Same as above AND all Derivative works must be shared under the same conditions that the original author shared with you.
  • Attribution Share-Alike Non-Commercial License - Same as previous HOWEVER you are forbidden to use your derivative work to make money.
 Note that “While 'open'…may mean 'without cost', it does not on the other hand, means 'without conditions' as you will need to give Attribution, Share your Derivative work, etc.