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Institutional Repository: ODU Digital Commons

ODU Digital Commons

Research is meant to be discovered!

ODU Digital Commons ( is an institutional repository where the scholarly and creative works of the Old Dominion University community are captured, archived, and showcased. Materials can include journal articles (preprints, postprints, and publisher copies), book chapters, research projects, technical reports, conference papers, university publications, datasets, theses/dissertations, multimedia presentations (PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, images, video) and more.

CONTACT: Karen Vaughan, Digital Commons Manager,, 757-683-4184

About Institutional Repositories

What is an Institutional Repository?

"...a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members." (Clifford Lynch, CNI [PDF - Links to an external resource and may not be accessible]).

The development of institutional repositories (IRs) is tied to the "Open Access" movement in higher education. As subscriptions to important scholarly journals continued to soar throughout the late 1990s and into the next decade, faculty and librarians sought ways to exercise greater control over the access and dissemination of their institutional scholarly work. The idea of each institution providing free and "open access" to the work of their own scholars was thought to be an approach that, not only would be more cost effective than subscriptions, but would allow the work to enjoy wider visibility.

Among the 6000+ repositories listed at OpenDOAR (, 2149 of these repositories are "open access" and 1700+ of the open access repositories are identified as "institutional" repositories.  According to this same source, a little over 1200 of these open access (IRs) host dissertations and theses. 

Over time, a good number of the institutions hosting these repositories have successfully increased the variety of content deposited to their IRs.  Along with dissertations and theses, IRs are hosting journal articles, working papers, multimedia, conference and workshop papers. As the open access ethos and depositing to the IR are normalized activities among successive generations of faculty, dissertations and theses material will be dwarfed by the other types of content.  In time, setting costs aside, IRs will be institutionalized. 

--from ProQuest Libguide

Benefits of ODU Digital Commons

With ODU Digital Commons, you can:

  • REACH broader audiences as access to your scholarly work is expanded. Digital Commons offers powerful dissemination that complements traditional publishing and expedites immediate access to your scholarly work. You may satisfy funding requirements to publicly disseminate the results of grant-generated research. The open-access platform is optimized for visibility through Google and other search engines, making your work more frequently cited, more visible, and more likely to have greater impact.
  • DEMONSTRATE your research impact with monthly usage statistics provided by Digital Commons. This can facilitate the tenure and promotion process.
  • ARCHIVE your scholarly and creative work, so that you know where you can always find it.  You retain all previously-held rights to your works. The Digital Commons accepts your copyright ownership and allows you to freely and legally link to your research output.
  • HOST a peer-reviewed journal or conference with built-in publishing tools.


  1. Increases the global visibility of ODU research, scholarly, and creative output
  2. Supports student success
  3. Provides long-term archiving and preservation of ODU research and other works
  4. Can be used in recruitment opportunities for new faculty and students

Benefits align with several key areas of ODU's five-year (2023-2028) Strategic Plan (PDF - Links to an external resource and may not be accessible) which includes Academic Excellence, Branding, Marketing, and Communication, Research Growth, and Student Engagement and Success.


  1. Provides online open access to published and unpublished works (24/7; in all formats) from a centralized system
  2. Showcases and promotes faculty scholarly works and research through Google and Google Scholar
  3. Provides online access to ‘grey information resources’, resources that are "not controlled by commercial publishing" (UPenn Libraries, Grey Literature in the Health Sciences: Overview)
  4. Satisfies funder’s mandate for faculty to provide open access archiving for sponsored research
  5. Allows access to monthly readership reports and an author dashboard
  6. Provides online infrastructure for faculty to self-deposit works
  7. Provides the infrastructure to publish peer-reviewed journals and e-textbooks
  8. Provides the infrastructure to host conferences and symposia

Other Types of Repositories

Institutional repositories can host version-of-record articles authored by members of the institution that have been peer-reviewed elsewhere. But many publishers and journals also give permission for self-archiving in repositories. Self-archiving refers to including a version of the published article, such as a pre-print or accepted manuscript, in various repositories (refer to ODU Open Access library guide for additional information). Authors can take advantage of this opportunity.

In addition to institutional repositories, many disciplines have their own open access repositories. Below are just a few:

See FAQ for discussion of ResearchGate/ vs. Institutional Repositories


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