Opening the doar to Open Research Archives

A question high on the agenda for academics on the OER workshops I ran in Afghanistan last month was how they could access journal articles written by University of Leicester academics and others in the UK. Their institutions, which are struggling for funding, could not afford journal subscriptions, and as a result, many of these academics felt isolated from the international knowledge-sharing communities in their disciplines.  They were therefore delighted to learn that it was possible to access near-final versions of journal articles freely, through open research archives which contain ‘pre-prints’ – drafts of papers that are subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals. The Leicester Research Archive is one such example.

To find open access repositories around the world, one only has to go to the brilliant directory, OpenDoar, or the Repository 66 website, which provides links to open access repositories by location. Here is a sampling of open access archives found through these sites:

Leicester Research Archive, UK:
Open University’s Open Research Online, UK:
University of Oxford, UK:
Pakistan Research Repository:
Open Access Agricultural Research Repository (India):
Stanford University School of Education, USA:
University of the Western Cape, South Africa:
University of Southern Queensland, Australia:
Athabasca University (Canada):

It is also possible to search for content in all the repositories in OpenDoar by keyword, by going to To find repositories by location, go to

In the SCORE workshop on OERs on 11 March, it was noted that for many institutions, the distinction between open research and open educational resources is becoming blurred. Both are part of a wider open access movement which aims to share knowledge openly and without discriminating against those in less fortunate countries. The Beyond Distance Research Alliance is committed to raising awareness among academics at Leicester and beyond of the value of open educational resources – both for research and for teaching.

Gabi Witthaus, 19 March 2011

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