Grey Literature in Institutional Repositories: A Case Study on the World Top 100 Universities

TSUNODA, Hiroyuki, SUN, Yuan, NISHIZAWA, Masaki and LIU, Xiaomin (2017) Grey Literature in Institutional Repositories: A Case Study on the World Top 100 Universities. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session S12 - Satellite Meeting: Serials and Other Continuing Resources Section and Acquisition and Collection Development. In: Open Access: Action Required, 16 – 17 August 2017, Gdańsk (Poland).

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Language: English (Original)
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Grey Literature in Institutional Repositories: A Case Study on the World Top 100 Universities

An Institutional Repository (IR), according to Foster and Gibbons (2005), is an electronic system that captures, preserves, and provides access to the digital work products of a community. IRs with different types of digital content have appeared after 2000s. They aim to provide open access to institutional research output, to create global visibility for institutions’ research, and to store and preserve other institutional digital assets, including unpublished or otherwise easily lost grey literature such as theses, working papers or technical reports. In this paper we take the world top 100 universities ranked in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016 as example to investigate the status of contents provided in their IRs, focusing on grey literatures self-archiving. The data was collected from the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) (, which is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories run by the University of Nottingham. Up to January 2017, there are over 3,000 repositories in the OpenDOAR that are providing their access worldwide. We found that most of the top 100 universities have established the IRs. California Institute of Technology, University of Oxford, University of Edinburgh, New York University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were having the largest number of IRs, each of them operating six IRs. By searching IRs of the 100 universities individually, 192 repositories for the top 100 universities were identified, indicating each university has an average of 1.92 IRs. The number of contents is about 7 million, and 700 unique document types were identified in the total institutional repositories. We classified these document types into 12 types. As expected, journal articles (43%) have highest proportion, following by theses & dissertations(13%), conference & workshop papers(8%), book chapters & sections(6%), dataset(6%), multimedia & audio-visual materials(4%) and unpublished reports & working papers(4%). It is revealed that a wide variety of grey literature have been stored in institutional repositories, making them searchable and accessible for the public and research communities. This paper will especially focus on the availability of grey literature in IRs and discuss about new roles and possible futures for librarians.

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