What is a digital research repository and why should your university build one?

What is a digital research repository?

A digital research repository is a digital archive of all your institution’s research output, graduate theses, dissertations, research documents, etc. 

In a world where most activities have gone completely digital, it has never been more important for institutions to have an effective digital presence. A digital repository can be a great asset for a research-focused institution. It makes it easier to archive and preserve an institution’s research output, and helps keep track of and improve discoverability of the research. 

In this article, we’ll take a more detailed look at different types of digital research archives or repositories and why any research-focused institution must invest in a digital repository, especially in the post-pandemic world.

Types of research repositories

You can build a private, public, or hybrid digital repository for your institution.


A private repository is one where you control access. It is only visible within your organisation, or even to a select group of people. These types of private repositories are often used at an institution that wants to digitise their libraries of research work and make it searchable and easily findable to other students and faculty.

A public digital repository will help you make your institution’s research output discoverable to the rest of the world. It will help your institution and its research gain more visibility and open up inter-disciplinary and external collaboration opportunities.

In a hybrid digital repository, you can choose to keep parts of your research, sensitive research, or research that is your intellectual property private, and open up those research projects that you want to share, that are complete, or for which you are looking to collaborate externally, to the public.

Why should an institution have a digital research repository?

“In time to come, ETDs (Electronic Thesis & Dissertations) would become more commonplace, grant-giving agencies and accreditation bodies like AICTE, UGC,MHRD, and NAAC would make judgments regarding innovative universities by taking note of their initiatives such as ETDs and IRs (Institutional repositories).”

 -Shodhganga@INFLIBNET, a reservoir of Indian theses

Discover the potential for collaboration
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One of the primary benefits of a digital institutional repository is the discoverability of your research and thereby potential to both increase the scope of your institution’s research and the chances of catching the attention of potential collaborators, funding agencies, or companies with an interest in your institution’s areas of research. It helps your research scholars be more aware of research topics that may have already been explored in your institutions and inspire choosing topics of interest.

Recently, a health and wellness company reached out to us asking about this research paper’s (anti-inflammatory effects of flaxseed oil and fish oil) author contact details as they were interested in the research area. You could be missing out on so many collaboration opportunities like this.

By archiving your institution’s research output in a digital research archive that is accessible by other researchers around the world, you will be helping your researchers explore the further potentials of their research.

Increase readership

Good research should reach others in the science fraternity. Good research should be read by as many people as possible.  What better way to do that than put your institution’s research output online? 

According to a recent study by research gate, 40% of researchers are spending much more time searching for and reading scientific literature, and over 64% of researchers are analyzing existing research data while planning for future research. This makes it the best time to invest in technology that can help put your institution’s research online and increase the potential for your institution’s research to be discovered and read more widely, and  increase the chances of being cited in other research works.

Create an online presence for your brand

A digital repository could be the missing piece for your institution to improve its ranking. By making it discoverable, your institution’s research findings will receive higher citation and will in turn help its ranking.

In today’s internet era, every institution is not only expected to have an online presence, but is also regarded based on the extent of its online presence.  

AuthorCafé’s features  ensure that your institution’s research output is automatically typeset to your specific format and structure.

Move your PhD management online

A digital research archive or repository can be more than just that. When backed by end-to-end products like AuthorCafé, it can help you manage your entire PhD program online. 

According to recent research conducted by the Ministry of Education, the number of PhD enrollments in India has increased by 60% in the past 5 years alone. This means that there has also been a significant increase in the administrative work that goes behind managing PhD programs. Add to this the need to work primarily from home, and it has become imperative that this administrative work be moved online. 

This means, from writing and collaborating to approvals and publishing, everything can be done on your browser from wherever you, your researchers, guides, and research administrators are.

What do you need to build a digital research repository

Thanks to technology and products like AuthorCafé, building a digital archive for your institution is now a simple, user-friendly process. 

Talk to us about your institution’s needs.

Institutions that are doing an excellent job with their digital repositories:

Indian Academy of Sciences (Built and maintained by AuthorCafé)

National Center For Biological Sciences

Cochin University of Science and Technology

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

Build your Institutional repository: sheevendra@authorcafe.com

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