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Open Access

In this guide, learn about discovering freely available research and find ways to make your work open access.

Types of Repositories

Sharing your previously published research can increase its visibility and reach. It's important to understand the differences in the types of repositories to determine which is most appropriate for sharing your work. While there is some overlap between repository types, the three main types are:

  1. Institutional Repositories
    • Institutional repositories (IRs) are repositories that are hosted and managed by educational institutions. They exist to preserve and share the scholarly output of an educational institution. Scholar Commons is the institutional repository of the University of South Carolina. It can be accessed from http://scholarcommons.sc.edu
  2. Disciplinary Repositories
    • Disciplinary repositories, sometimes known as subject repositories, are digital archives for subject-specific scholarly output. Some scholars choose to share their works through disciplinary repositories to increase the visibility of their work among subject experts and possible collaborators. Some disciplinary repositories rely on author generated content, while use web crawlers to locate and download publicly available content for inclusion. To find a disciplinary repository to share your work, visit the Disciplinary Repositories Wiki for a comprehensive list organized by subject. 
  3. Multidisciplinary Repositories
    • Multidisciplinary repositories archive and make available works across multiple disciplines. 

What Can I Share?

It can be tricky to know which version of your work you can share. It's always a good idea to pay attention to your publication agreements, because they'll tell you exactly how you can legally share your works. But what if you don't have those agreements, or if you aren't sure which version is which? Visit the Which Version Can I Share? page for an overview of pre-prints, post-prints, publisher PDFs and for information on how to locate these records. Sharing the legally-allowed version of your research protects your works from being taken down.

Social Networking

Social networking sites for academics, such as Academia.edu and ResearchGate, are used by some researchers to share their scholarly works and monitor analytics across disciplines. These sites are often used as social media and outreach tools. Because these types of sites have been regularly accused by publishers of massive copyright infringement, it's important that researchers pay close attention to the terms of service and privacy policies of these sites.

The University of California Office of Scholarly Communication provides a great read on the differences between academic social networking sites and open access repositories

Scholar Commons

Scholar Commons is the Institutional Repository of the University of South Carolina. Hosted by the University Libraries, Scholar Commons allows USC researchers to archive and share their scholarly output such as dissertations, journal articles, book chapters, presentations, and conference papers in a university-branded repository. 

Sharing Data

The University of South Carolina does not currently have a system-wide, long-term archiving option for research data. However, many external disciplinary and general data repositories exist. If you want or need to share your research data, please visit the Sharing Data guide to locate an appropriate repository and find additional information.

Featured Repositories