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Open access, open source and e‐theses: the development of the Edinburgh Research Archive

Richard Jones (University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway)
Theo Andrew (Edinburgh University Library, Edinburgh, UK)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 September 2005



To examine how the synergy of open access and open source have been used at Edinburgh University Library to design and implement an e‐thesis service, and to offer a comfortable theoretical framework to aid others.


The concepts of open access and open source are introduced and compared to show the conceptual relationship between them and the natural partnering of these approaches to information freedom. The development of the open access repository (Edinburgh Research Archive, ERA) and the related open source software (Tapir for DSpace) are then examined as an opportunity for other implementers and developers to gain insight, both technical and non‐technical.


That open access and open source are a natural and forward looking way to develop e‐theses and other research material repositories. The discussion of developing open source and the brief study of the creation of ERA show us that this approach is both warranted and useful.

Research limitations/implications

It shows how institutions can leverage open source technology successfully, and further consideration must be given to this development methodology.

Practical implications

Software and documentation outcomes available for the community have been produced should aid the further research in this area and provide a good starting point for institutions.


We discuss for the first time both the theoretical aspects and the practical considerations surrounding an e‐theses archive which is of value to any group of information professionals considering similar activities.



Jones, R. and Andrew, T. (2005), "Open access, open source and e‐theses: the development of the Edinburgh Research Archive", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 198-212.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited