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Analytical study of open access health and medical repositories

Fayaz Ahmad Loan (Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)
Shueb Sheikh (Central Library, Central University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 June 2016




This study aims to assess open access (OA) repositories in the field of the health and medicine (H&M) available in the Directory of the Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) by analysing their various facets like geographical distribution, language diversity, collection size, content types, operational status, interoperability, updating policy and software used for content management.


To achieve the objectives of the study, the OpenDOAR was selected as a source for identifying the H&M repositories. The required data were manually collected from 1 to 30 April 2014 and analysed using various quantitative techniques to reveal the findings.


The results reveal that the OpenDOAR lists 254 repositories in the field of the H&M contributed by the 62 countries of the world, topped by the USA (15.4 per cent), followed by Japan (7.9 per cent) and the UK (7.5 per cent). The majority of the repositories are institutional (187, 73.6 per cent) in nature, having less than 5,000 items (161, 63.4 per cent) in the collection and mostly consisting of articles (76.0 per cent), theses (49.6 per cent), unpublished documents (33.1 per cent) and books (31.9 per cent). The linguistic assessment shows that the majority of the H&M repositories accept content written in English language (71.3 per cent), followed by Spanish (16.1 per cent) and Japanese (7.5 per cent). The updating policy of these repositories is not up to the mark, as only 67.0 per cent of the H&M repositories have been updated from 2008-2012, but the majority are still operational (91.7 per cent) and are compatible (67.3 per cent) with the Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). About 30 software brands, both commercial and open source, have been used by administrators for creating these repositories and managing their content. DSpace is the most popular software used by 88 (34.7 per cent) repositories, followed by EPrints (43, 16.9 per cent) and Digital Commons (18, 7.1 per cent).

Research limitations/implications

The scope of this study is limited to the health and medical repositories listed in OpenDOAR, and hence the generalisation is to be cautioned.

Practical implications

This study is useful for library and information professionals and health and medical professionals across the globe.


This study is the first attempt to analyse the health and medical repositories in OA sites.



Loan, F.A. and Sheikh, S. (2016), "Analytical study of open access health and medical repositories", The Electronic Library, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 419-434.



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