Archiving the Geneva Graduate Institute’s Research

In 2011, the Library created a repository to host the research produced by the Graduate Institute. Since then, our team has added many records of books, theses, journal articles or working papers. Our repository also allows our researchers to comply with the requirements of their funders who want them to make their research open access. Our colleague Catherine Brendow explains how it works.

What is an institutional repository?

A repository is an online digital collection of records and documents hosted on a server. Most universities have created an institutional repository to provide a safe place where all the research of the institution is hosted permanently, and to make it as widely available as possible.

We aim to record all the books, book chapters, journal articles, working papers written by Graduate Institute professors and researchers. A full-text PDF file is attached to the records whenever available. Some contents are open access, and others are reserved for the Graduate Institute community.

Who can add a document to the repository?

Anybody with a Graduate Institute login! The metadata are then validated by a librarian. As there are some technicalities, it is always useful to contact the library for advice in advance.

Why should I use this?

Studies show that articles available in open access repositories are more cited than articles which remain behind paywalls. This study for example focuses on political science papers. According to the authors, many researchers do not self-archive their articles, even when the journal allows them to do it.

Many funders, like the Swiss National Research Fund, require the results of the projects that they fund to be put in open access. The “green road”, which consists in depositing the article, immediately or after an embargo, in a repository like ours, is a good way to comply with these requirements. Our repository is registered in OpenDOAR, the Directory of Open Access Repositories…

Isn’t this the same as ResearchGate?

No. Websites like or ResearchGate claim to be “the easiest way to share papers with millions of people around the world for free”, but they give no guarantee of stable and lasting archiving. They are held by private companies, and therefore can disappear or decide to discontinue this service. Additionally, the quality of their metadata, their problematic license agreements and copyright claims, and their use of the researchers’ personal data are very debatable.

This also explains why most paywalled journals allow their authors to post their pre- or postprints on a personal website or an institutional or disciplinary repository, but not on these academic social media networks. Even though access to these platforms is free, it is not open, and research funders will not be satisfied if you just put your article there.

Is it open or closed?

It depends. We have setup this repository to accommodate varied needs.

  • Publications with an open license are obviously open access in the repository. Your papers, articles, chapters and books are welcome as long as your publishing contract does not forbid it.
  • The working papers produced by the Graduate Institute research centers are also available open access in the repository.
  • On the other hand, paywalled articles are not made publicly available there : their access is “restricted” and requires a Graduate Institute login.
  • If we hold a printed copy of a book, its record will show its call number in the Library.

What about academic theses?

  • By default, PhD theses are “restricted” (they require a Graduate Institute login). Upon request of the author, they can be made fully private (accessible to nobody) for an embargo period of 3 years, and they will be moved to “restricted” access after that.
  • PhD theses can of course be made open earlier if the author requests it – and we think they should! All PhD theses are also available on paper in the Library as soon as we receive them.
  • Masters theses written since 2008 are recorded and made available to the Graduate Institute community (restricted access).
  • You will also find the records of theses in progress, once the MPT (mémoire préliminaire de thèse) is completed, but obviously not the contents of the thesis, which is still being written.

Interested in open access and repositories? Take a look at our Graduate Institute Repository libguide and our Open Access libguide and let us know what you think!

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