National call to Register Open Repositories to Strengthen Ireland’s Openness, Alignment, Equity, and Diversity in Open Publishing

Help spread the word to create a national inventory of Open Repositories. Repository owners/managers can register their Irish Open Access Repository at by Thursday, 16 March 2023, at 17:00. 


This is the first step in a National Open Research Forum (NORF) project where many great partners are aiming to create a sustainable national community for Irish Open Repositories. This project strengthens our existing national network of repositories for open access publications. Work will audit, reinforce, and align the repository network to each other and to international best practice. 

Open repositories are typically operated by research active institutions to openly publish their own research. For example, University of Galway open repository is the open access publications and data repository

More impactful openness and alignment

At the moment, most Irish open repositories take different approaches to metadata and have different methods of service management and delivery – and strategy. This variation poses significant challenges when we aim to present ourselves as a coherent collective internationally. University of Galway was awarded €220,000 to lead Action 2 on of the National Open Research Action Plan on open access repository assessment and alignment. This project starts a national programme of repository alignment and takes steps to develop a standardised national approach while aligning infrastructure with international best practice.  

The impact of the project will be seen in several areas:

  • repositories will have better quality metadata, with interoperability between members. There will also be an alignment to existing data standards, such as the use of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) in metadata
  • improved repositories and their metadata will provide a streamlined gateway to national and international research platforms and aggregators
  • by aligning to a national roadmap, new repositories will have access to a template to join the network and ideally fast track their implementation
  • there will be stronger national network of repositories that is community-driven and focused on improvement of the research communication ecosystem
  • a strong national repository network provides an alternative, open, free, and localised route to publishing.

Open repositories are crucial for equity and diversity

It is important to have an aligned and distributed repository network to support equity and diversity in open publishing. In recent times, many open repositories have been implemented in research active organisations. However, open repositories are typically underfunded, not visible in the research community, and are generally languishing (Open Access Australasia, 2021).   

Depositing research output in an open repository without embargo is an equitable route to worldwide open access. Open repositories provide everyone open and free access to the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM). These AAMs have the same text as the commercially published peer-reviewed content. Commercial content is traditionally paywalled or, more recently, open access is paid for via Article Processing Charges (APCs). Access to paywalled content is paid for you by your Library. Open access via APCs is paid for by the author or more often a national consortium of libraries as open access agreements with publishers. There is an emergent view that open access via APC/deals/agreements can provide a solution to open access. However, many in the community have concerns that commercial publishers are just shifting the commercial model from paywalled access to APC. Where this shift according to Shearer (2021) is not about equity, quality, or trust "but about maintaining control, preserving the traditional publishing paradigm, and protecting profit margins”.  Again, according to Shearer (2021) “... open access based on an APC payment model is not achievable, equitable, or sustainable over the long term for some countries and regions. Many researchers around the world simply do not have the means to pay Open Access publishing fees (APCs), nor do their governments or institutions have money for transformational agreements”.

Crucially open repositories provide a non-APC route to publishing and are a central component of the current open infrastructure landscape. Additionally, open repositories have the potential to step further into the research output publishing workflow in a more meaningful way to provide a key component of a sustainable, equitable, innovative, and community-driven research publishing ecosystem. Shifting investment to local publishing requires a strong open repository network and more modern local publishing workflows (Ratan et al, 2021). The budgets being spent on APCs and access could be redirected to sustain a community model supporting modern research assessment requirements. Because open repositories are often local to the institution, they can respond to different campus needs to provide routes to publishing. Open repositories are also more likely to be sustainable and persistent because they are managed by long-lived research institutions (Open Access Australasia, 2021). 

To hear more about why the repository network is critical for supporting equity and diversity in open research and publishing, see the video from Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) For when you have time, and some coffee. 

National action plan and Irish government support

The National Open Research Action Plan outlines objectives and actions for the next chapter in Ireland’s transition towards open research. The plan supports national strategic priorities for research and innovation under Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy. The National Action Plan builds on a number of national policies and international recommendations and serves as a roadmap for the implementation of open research across Ireland.

Read more

Introducing the Work of the Open Access Repository Assessment and Alignment Project 
2022 Open Research Fund Projects

About the Author

Dr Cillian Joy is the lead for the Open Access Repository Assessment and Alignment project and works in the University of Galway Library on Open and Digital Research.


Ratan, K., Skinner, K,.  Mitchell, C., Locke, B,. and Pcolar, D. Library Publishing Infrastructure: Assembling New Solutions. Atlanta, Georgia: Educopia Institute, 2021.  

Open Access Australasia. 2021. COAR's vision for the role of repositories in Open Science    [Online]. Open Access Australasia Webinar Series. Available: [Accessed 10 March 2023].

Shearer, K. 2021. Don’t believe the hype: repositories are critical for ensuring equity, inclusion and sustainability in the transition to open access | Plan S. Available from: