Core metalist of open access eprint archives

Steve Hitchcock
Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group, Southampton University
This metalist is now being maintained by the Open Citation Project on its Explore Open Archives page


Open access eprint archives are where authors of published research papers and papers destined for peer reviewed publication can self-archive the full texts of their work for all to see. Researchers who self-archive want to improve access to papers while preserving the recognised quality control established by journals (Harnad 2001). The engine for growth of these archives is the recognition by researchers and policy-makers that the improved impact achieved through open access, demonstrated by Lawrence (2001), is not only desirable but entirely compatible with peer reviewed publication.

What is the scale of open access eprint archives, and of author self-archiving, currently? Despite the rhetoric there are no quantitative studies. The context for such studies is not just the growing scale of open access archives and the sheer number of archives, but the evolving structure of distributed archives and independent services. Web-based open access archives are not simply collections built for browsing but also as open data sources for powerful, automated independent services such as search, aggregation and impact measurement.

The enabling infrastructure for distributed archives and independent data services was introduced by the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) with its Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (PMH) in January 2001 (Lynch 2001). Tomaiuolo and Packer (2000) provided a checklist of disciplinary 'preprint' archives that, because OAI was then in its infancy, recognised the likely influence of cross-archive services such as search but could not have detected the growth in institutional archives that OAI has subsequently motivated.

So a new checklist is warranted, but a list of open access eprint archives, and examination of their contents, is insufficient as a measure of the challenge. It is important to look through the lens at archive service providers too.

Thus, this is not a list of individual open access archives of full-text research papers, but instead lists and comments on other lists of individual archives. This list and its categorisation gives a broad overview of the structure, size and progress of full-text open access eprint archives.

This list will be maintained and updated as far as is possible, and is intended to assist further quantitative research on the open access eprint phenomenon for those who want to measure the growth and quality of open access eprint archives.

For a chronological view of the development of open access institutional archives in the wider context of free online scholarship (FOS), including many of the services and archives listed here, see Suber's Timeline of the FOS Movement.


Harnad, Stevan (2001) "The Self-Archiving Initiative". Nature, 410: 1024-1025

Lawrence, Steve (2001) "Free Online Availability Substantially Increases a Paper's Impact". Nature Web Debate on e-access, May

Lynch, Clifford A (2001) "Metadata Harvesting and the Open Archives Initiative". ARL Bimonthly Report, No. 217, August

Suber, Peter (2002) Timeline of the Free Online Scholarship Movement

Tomaiuolo, Nicholas G. and Packer, Joan G. (2000) "Preprint Servers: Pushing the Envelope of Electronic Scholarly Publishing". Searcher, Vol. 8, No. 9, October

This metalist is now being maintained by the Open Citation Project on its Explore Open Archives page