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Open archives: Introduction

Growing numbers of institutions are setting up their own repositories to archive and disseminate their researchers’ scientific output. This guide explains what is an open archive, what it is used for and how it can be improved.


Related questions

A Formadoct presentation (in French) on the UEB’s Wikiradio: What are open archives?


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Open archives are open access repositories where the electronic versions of publications and, in some cases, data obtained from scientific research, can be deposited.

Most open archive servers are based on the self-archiving principle: the scholarly articles are deposited in these repositories by the researchers themselves before or after publication, to be archived and, if all goes well, disseminated. The content of these archives is described in compliance with a protocol that provides for the harvesting by other servers and facilitates indexing in search engines. This protocol is the OAI-PMH protocol (Open Archive Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). 

Open archives can be used to identify, find, disseminate, highlight, promote and monitor the scientific output of researchers.

  • These ARCHIVES guarantee the archiving and preservation of the articles regardless of changes that may take place in the formats and standards used (for example, the HAL archives are guaranteed long-term preservation at the CINES[1]).
  • Since they are OPEN, they make the work of researchers more easily available to the national and international community. They also speed up scientific cooperation and strengthen the impact of the deposited articles.

The following podcast (in French) explains what PhD. students can expect from an open archive in terms of search options and promotion of their work.

[1] Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur (French data centre for higher education)

(Find all of Formadoct’s podcasts (in French) on the UBL’s Wikiradio.)


Open archives and Open Access

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Open archives are one of the components of the Open Access movement, the other being Open Access e-journals.

The approach associated with using open archives is known as the green road. It refers to the self-archiving of publications by researchers.

The approach whereby Open Access e-journals are published is known as the gold road

Subject Guide

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Damien Belvèze
BU Sciences et Philosophie Rennes 1
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To cite this guide

Belvèze, Damien, Fouquet Josiane. "Open archives". In UBL (Université Européenne de Bretagne). Formadoct. Rennes: UBL, April 2014 (last updated on July 2, 2014). Available at: