Key Facts

What is Oxford University Research Archive (ORA)?

  1. ORA is a permanent and secure online archive of research output produced by members of the University of Oxford.
  2. ORA provides storage, access to, and preservation of the full content of Oxford research publications and other research output
  3. ORA provides a means to make your research materials more visible and more accessible
  4. ORA is part of the University’s digital library collections
  5. Repositories such as ORA are becoming commonplace in HE institutions as they grow to be strategically vital for research dissemination and other purposes

What are the benefits of ORA to Oxford researchers?

As a depositor:

  • Preservation: ORA provides the means to preserve your research for the long-term. This service is not guaranteed by use of departmental/personal websites nor generally by publishers.
  • Visibility of your research is increased: i) because many items are open access (in compliance with copyright permissions) and ii) because ORA is heavily crawled by Google and other search engines. High visibility supports researchers’ goals of wide dissemination of their work.
  • Access to the full text (or equivalent) of your research is simplified by barrier free access (ie no payment or passwords). ORA contains the full text (or equivalent) of as many items as possible. Of these full text items, as many as possible will be made available open access ie freely available to anyone via the internet. Many publishers permit authors to include the full text of items in repositories such as ORA.
  • Citations: increased visibility is likely to lead to increased citations of your work
  • Impact and use: Increased visibility and easier access should result in increased impact and use of your research
  • Meeting the requirements of funding agencies: a number of major funders now require that output produced as a result of funded research is deposited in a repository such as ORA. Examples include members of the RCUK such as the BBSRC and ESRC, the EU and NIH
  • Grey literature: grey literature (ie works which are not formally published) can be notoriously difficult to a) find and b) obtain. Examples include conference papers, reports, discussion papers and theses. ORA is a means of making such works easy to find and access.
  • Book chapters: Individual chapters or sections of books can be difficult to find. ORA is a means of making sure that your chapter/section does not remain ‘buried’ within the book, but becomes visible to the world (copyright permitting). Even if the full text cannot be made available, the record will increase visibility.
  • Supplementary material can be deposited in ORA alongside articles etc. There is no page limit in ORA, nor a restriction on numbers of diagrams.
  • RSS/Atom feeds providing a means to export publications data from ORA
  • Linking related work: ORA provides the means to link related items. Such related research works can be included in ORA. This might be extensive diagrams and graphs which were not included in the journal version, datasets which formed part of the original research (including links to grid datasets – see below), a working paper or conference paper you later published as a journal article or an original colour version which was published in black & white
  • Complex items: you can include items which comprise many different files (say a text file, a questionnaire, plus some images) and link them together into a single ‘object’
  • Persistent links: the links/URLs to items in ORA will stay permanently live to avoid the problems of broken or dead links. Use of departmental or personal websites does not guarantee this. It means, for example, that if the author leaves the University, links to the work will remain in perpetuity. These links can be used when referring to the work in citations or other references.
  • Speed: ORA is a quick and efficient means to make your research available online
  • Single location: your research is available all in one place rather than distributed across many locations (such as multiple publishers).

As an end-user the benefits will be:

  • Easy search: across the research of the entire collegiate University
  • Easy access to your research for your students
  • Contacts: Increased possibility of finding others working in similar or related fields to yourself across the University
  • Related items: your research can be linked to items by other authors whose research is included in ORA
  • Society: benefits society by making publicly funded and other research accessible

My research is available on my personal/departmental website. Why should I deposit in ORA?

  • Preservation: long term preservation for full text (or equivalent) is not usually provided on personal and departmental websites
  • Persistent links: the links/URLs both of the items and of your personal or departmental websites are unlikely to be persistent or remain stable in perpetuity.
  • Use of ORA persistent links: You can use ORA persistent links/URLs on your personal/departmental webpage to provide access to your research
  • High visibility
  • Full text: many departmental/personal webpages include only the citation of research. ORA will include full text (or equivalent) wherever possible
  • Related items: Using ORA it is possible to link related items; your own, your own complex items comprising multiple files or other researchers’ items

Timeliness of self-archiving

Whilst we are expecting that authors will want to include their complete backlist of publications in ORA, we would also like to encourage authors to adopt the practice of submitting items as soon as they are completed as part of the normal dissemination of their research. This way, authors will immediately reap the benefits of ORA, particularly with regard to visibility. It will also help fulfill the requirements of those research councils who require early deposit. Additionally authors might wish to add a record of forthcoming articles to ORA, thus publicising their research at the earliest opportunity

Do other HE institutions have archives like ORA?

  • Most UK HE institutions including the Russell Group have archives like ORA
  • The numbers of repositories or archives like ORA across the globe have been increasing dramatically. Universities such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford have archives like ORA
  • In 2004 the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee recommended that UK higher education institutions set up repositories and that "the requirement for universities to disseminate their research as widely as possible be written into their charters."
  • Online archives like ORA at HE institutions are now commonplace in other countries such as the US, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Japan

What does ORA contain?

ORA is a store for any digital items produced as a result of scholarly research. This includes:

  • Journal articles (pre- and post-prints)
  • Theses (research degrees)
  • Conference items (papers, posters etc)
  • Books and book sections
  • Working and discussion papers
  • Any other digital items produced as a direct result of research activity such as reports, questionnaires, diagrams, studies

Who can use ORA?

  • Only members of Oxford University (currently being defined) may deposit in the ORA. Items co-authored by academics at other institutions are permitted, providing at least one author is affiliated to Oxford. Deposit of such items must be by the Oxford author (or their representative). Those eligible to deposit are listed in the ORA Submission Policy available at
  • Other members of the University may deposit on behalf of Oxford researchers (for example a member of administrative staff).
  • Anyone with internet access may search ORA
  • Most of the items held in ORA are freely available to anyone with internet access

How can I search for articles in other OAI repositories? How can other academics search for my research?

  • Search individual institutions or subject repositories
  • For searching across multiple repositories use OAIster
  • Search engines often rank repository items highly in their results
  • There is a pilot repository search service at OpenDOAR
  • Other academics can use the same channels to search for your research

What ORA is not

ORA is an efficient and effective means of storing and disseminating your work

  • It does not provide a peer-review service
  • We do not seek to dissuade you from publishing in scholarly journals – academic freedom to publish remains the same
  • ORA does not contain anything illegally. Only items which comply with rights permissions are included.
  • ORA is not just for scientists. It contains many works in the humanities, arts and social sciences

How do I deposit items in ORA?

Deposit is straightforward and quick

  1. Check you are permitted to deposit the item (ie copyright and multi-authored works. See below and ORA staff can advise)
  2. Go to the ORA homepage and click on "Deposit". You will need your Oxford Single Sign on (WebAuth) username and password. Another member of Oxford University may deposit on your behalf
  3. Complete the details on the deposit form. We need certain details which only authors (or their representatives) can provide. These sections are marked as mandatory. The more details you provide, the quicker your item will appear in ORA
  4. Upload the file(s) (like adding an email attachment)

Your deposit will be checked by ORA staff before it is made publicly available or stored in the 'dark archive.'

  • We ask that depositors read and agree to our Deposit Agreement. This sets out the responsibilities of the Bodleian Libraries and of the depositor. It will appear when you deposit.
  • There is help available at every stage. Full instructions are available both on the ORA deposit pages and on the ORA help & information website

What is open access?

Open access means that digital materials are made freely available to users with no barriers to access such as payment or passwords. It is defined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2000) as:

"free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."

There are two aspects to open access in the scholarly community:

  1. Open access repositories which either hold items produced by members of the institution or by researchers in a single subject area. ORA is an example of the first type.
  2. Open access journals which are peer reviewed as usual (see the Directory of Open Access Journals for examples)
  • Open access aids dissemination and can therefore increase visibility and citations
  • Funding bodies such as the Wellcome Trust are increasingly encouraging authors to publish in open access publications

Your Concerns

What about copyright?

  • ORA only contains items which do not infringe copyright
  • Most publishers permit authors to deposit some version of their article in a repository such as ORA.
  • You can check publisher permissions for journals at SHERPA/Romeo
  • You may like to consider retaining the copyright of your own work or amending the copyright transfer agreement provided by your publisher (see copyright guidance for authors for further details)
  • Check any copyright transfer agreement you may have signed
  • You should be aware of any material used in your work where copyright is held by a third party (for example images,maps or diagrams). Such items may need separate copyright permission.
  • You may need to contact your publisher for permission to include works in ORA
  • There is further guidance about copyright available on the Copyright and other legal issues pages
  • Please contact ORA staff if you have any further queries

What about plagiarism?

  • Open Access does not make plagiarism any more likely than other forms of online publication.
  • In fact, Open Access simplifies the comparison of electronic sources, so the detection of plagiarism is easier.

Will my peer-reviewed papers be clearly labelled as such?

  • Yes
  • You should indicate when depositing an item whether or not is has been peer-reviewed or not

What about prior publication?

Publishers vary in their attitudes towards prior publication. You will need to check the publisher’s terms and conditions to see if they consider deposit and access via ORA to be prior publication

Do I need any technical expertise?

  • No
  • Deposit is easy and there is help at every stage. You can even email your items to ORA staff
  • ORA staff will provide help and guidance if you have any queries

What about other subject repositories?

Sometimes authors wish to deposit their works in subject repositories (such as SSRN, UKPMC, ArXiV). We are investigating methods to share and import data from such repositories to provide extra links and publicity.

What happens if I leave Oxford?

  • Any items you have deposited in ORA will remain there
  • The persistent links to your items will remain so that you may link to them from any other site
  • Because the record describing your item is available using international standards, any similar repository can ‘harvest’ the records of your items for inclusion in another repository

What about my publications produced when I was employed at a different institution?

  • Providing there are no rights infringements, you are welcome to deposit items produced as a result of research when you were employed at a different institution
  • The other institution may wish to harvest the metadata of your items produced whilst you were an employee there

Where can I get more help?

ORA email:

ORA Helpdesk: ext 83809

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