Purpose – The purpose of this article is to provide an overview on certification of institutional repositories as a means to support open access in Germany and a description of the DINI Certificate 2006 developed by DINI, the German Initiative for Networked Information. Design/methodology/approach – The “DINI certificate for document and publication repositories” shows potential users and authors of digital documents that a certain level of quality in operating the repository is guaranteed and that this distinguishes it from common institutional web servers. The certificate can also be used as an instrument to support open access. Findings – Repository certification will not be the main factor in achieving open access to academic information globally, but it can support the spread of institutional repositories and enhance visibility of the “institutional repository”‐service. Research limitations/implications – The DINI Certificate as a “soft” certificate aims towards interoperability of digital repositories, the coaching idea prevails. It does not provide an exhaustive auditing tool for trusted digital long‐term preservation archives. Practical implications – The “DINI certificate for document and publication repositories” pushed the development of institutional repositories in Germany according to certain organisational and technical standards and contributes to the interoperability amongst digital repositories worldwide. Originality/value – This paper describes a unique approach that has been implemented in Germany and could be transferred to other countries and communities.
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