With thousands of repositories now active, do they provide any indication of publishing activity? How much activity is really present in them? Our Open Access Data Analytics Tool allows us to pull insights from the data – and now you can take a test drive too!
Most scholarly publishers are familiar with arXiv as being the “poster child” of pre-print servers, Now 25 years old, it hit over one million submissions in 2015 and plays a key role in allowing researchers to share information and data before publication. Recent years have seen a plethora of both subject-specific and institutional repositories. Subject-specific archives include, for example, bioRxiv, SocArXiv, ChemRxiv, and engrXiv. Institutional repositories have proliferated, now numbering in the thousands.
By running data from OpenDOAR (the Open Directory of Open Access Repositories) through the Delta Think Open Access Data Analytics Tool, we gain useful insights into the trends behind the activity. OpenDOAR is run by the University of Nottingham, UK and provides a list of repositories by subject with data around manuscript deposits.
The interactive chart below shows how numbers of repositories and numbers of deposited items vary by subject. ArXiv’s content of around 1.2 million articles is dwarfed by overall activity, suggesting a highly active and engaged ecosystem. By using the chart’s interactive tools, it is possible to tease out interesting patterns. For example, in developing nations there are large numbers of repositories relative to the numbers of items deposited in them, suggesting a highly fragmented space. The opposite is true in N America, W Europe and the Far East, suggesting much larger scale of output per institution or subject area – no doubt a reflection of a greater concentration of funding.
Compared with the funder data in our OA Data Analytics Tool, we see that history, archaeology, and arts and humanities have proportionally higher repository activity compared with their published output and funding, suggesting that less well-funded areas of research are using repositories for research dissemination. Disciplinary repositories claim the largest share of deposited items, although there are far fewer compared with their institutional cousins, which account for the second largest number of items deposited.
The OpenDOAR data include all types of output (not just pre-prints) so it should be seen as indicative of overall activity.