My Favorite Open Access Resources: OpenDOAR


Recently, I highlighted one of my favorite Open Access (OA) resources that allows users to search through a global directory of OA journals, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).  The DOAJ isn’t alone, though, in its designation as a central OA directory.  The Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) is free tool that aids users in locating OA repositories for institutions and organizations around the world.  OpenDOAR allows users to search by keyword or browse by country through a list of over 2,000 freely accessible and full-text databases containing a wide range of non-patent literature (NPL) prior art, ranging from research papers to theses and dissertations. OpenDOAR also includes a Google Custom search form that may be used to search through the contents of all listed repositories simultaneously.  During a global, comprehensive prior art search, the OpenDOAR directory will be an invaluable starting point for searchers hunting for obscure NPL prior art.

Read on to learn more about the content, search, and viewing features available on OpenDOAR!

OpenDOAR: Background and Content

OpenDOAR is a free online directory of academic open access repositories maintained by SHERPA Services, based at the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham.

The “About” section of the site lists the following criteria for inclusion (and exclusion) of repositories within the directory:

OpenDOAR has opted to collect and provide information solely on sites that wholly embrace the concept of open access to full text resources that are of use to academic researchers. Thus sites where any form of access control prevents immediate access are not included: likewise sites that consist of metadata records only are also declined.

Typically OpenDOAR lists publication repositories, as this is the basis for most repositories. However, OpenDOAR also lists other types, for example of images or data-sets, particularly where these have metadata or documentation sufficient to make the material re-usable.

Note that repositories listed in OpenDOAR are not necessarily OAI-PMH compliant. OAI-PMH is widely used for facilitating search of open access materials, but use of OAI-PMH is not synonymous with open access itself.

OpenDOAR: Search and View Options

OpenDOAR includes three main navigation options for searching and browsing the repositories and their contents:

  • Search for repositories- This form allows users to search repositories by keyword, subject area, content type, repository type, country, language, and software. The user can also define the result display and sorting options from this form. Full repository records include URL, organization, address, country, location (with a Google Map link), description, type, size, OAI-PMH (link), software, subjects, content, languages, contacts, and OpenDOAR ID (with permanent link).  The full record also includes information on the repository’s metadata policy, data policy, content policy, submission policy, and preservation policy.

The search form and statistical viewing options on OpenDOAR.

A repository record on OpenDOAR.

  • Search repository contents – This Google Custom Search form allows users to search the contents of the repositories listed in OpenDOAR. According to the form “this service relies on Google’s indexes, which in turn rely on repositories being suitably structured and configured for the Googlebot web crawler.” Search results are listed ten results per page, with a hyper-linked title, URL, and a text excerpt with keywords bolded.
  • List of repositories – Browse repositories organized in a hierarchal list by continent and country.

Users may also view statistical charts based on the current collection of repositories, including:

  • Repository by Continent
  • Repository Organisations by Continent
  • Repositories by Country
  • Repository Organisations by Country
  • Usage of Open Access Repository Software
  • Open Access Repository Types
  • Repository Operational Statuses
  • Most Frequent Content Types
  • Most Frequent Languages
  • OpenDOAR Subjects
  • Metadata Re-use Policy Grades
  • [Full Text] Data Re-use Policy Grades
  • Content Policy Grades
  • Submission Policy Grades
  • Preservation Policy Grades
  • Growth of the OpenDOAR Database

A statistical chart on OpenDOAR.

Conclusion

The main OpenDOAR search form allows users to search by a variety of criteria for relevant repositories, and the browse option also allows users to quickly view a list of repositories grouped by regions.  The repository listings give detailed descriptions of the database contents, so users can quickly identify if the repository is relavent to their particular prior art search.  While the repository-level search and browsing options are excellent, the Google Custom form on OpenDOAR that searches all repositories simultaneously should not be relied upon during a comprehensive prior art search.  This custom search form relies on Google indexing and therefore may overlook relevant content that wasn’t indexed by Googlebot web crawlers.  If a user finds a particularly relevant repository listing on OpenDOAR, they should search the repository website directly.  Both OpenDOAR and DOAJ provide an excellent starting point for locating non-conventional global NPL prior art, but users should always search the relevant OA repositories or journals directly.

Have you ever found relevant prior art in an open access repository?  Tell us about your experiences with OA resources in the comments!

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Patent Searches from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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