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ORA: Oxford University Research Archive: Benefits of OA and ORA

A guide to using ORA for storing and disseminating digital copies of Oxford research publications including theses

Benefits of making content OA in ORA

ORA is a publicly available, sharing content through the website ( and via an API (Application Programming Interface). ORA and its content can therefore be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection.   

By making research available in a repository such as ORA, this helps to remove the barriers that prevent access to research, such as paywall or subscription. Sharing research in this manner contributes to the global knowledge of research sharing and development.

Alongside 'traditional' publications, such as journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters, ORA makes available 'grey literature' produced by the members of the University of Oxford, such as working papers, reports, theses and research data, that may not be available online elsewhere.

ORA maximises how content is shared by making metadata describing the content available in different forms and to multiple content providers, whilst following FAIR principles. Through this mechanism ORA shares content:

  • using persistent identifiers, such as UUIDs and DOIs;
  • locally at Oxford with SOLO, the University Library catalogue;
  • with Oxford's installation of Symplectic Elements, the University Research Information System;
  • with search providers, such as Google, Bing, Baidu, etc.; 
  • with Google Scholar;
  • with the British Library, specifically the theses database EThoS;
  • in multiple metadata formats or standard, such as Dublin Core (DC), RIOXX, OpenAIRE; and,
  • with Open Access services, such as CORE, DataCite, UnPayWall;
  • in showcased collections focussing on key areas of research study, see ORA COVID-19 Collection, and ORA Climate Research Collection; and,
  • following accessibility standards to website design and content.

Symplectic Elements is the main route of deposit into ORA, but by sharing metadata and information back to Symplectic Elements from ORA, the research also benefits from:

  • being available for reporting in the University and to external bodies, such as funders;
  • being available for REF (Research Excellence Framework) Impact Studies;
  • being available for research profiles, within Symplectic Elements, but also for department webpages and services, such as Research@Oxford (University network currently required to access).

ORA assists University of Oxford members in meeting their funder requirements and offers a compliant route to Open Access policy access requirements. 

In addition to how ORA shares University of Oxford research, ORA also undertakes preservation actions on the digital content it collects, with the aim of maintaining the collection for the long-term. This includes:

  • virus checking;
  • monitoring of content, including fixity checks, file validation, file degredation, etc.;
  • assessing file formats, with the intent to 'version' older file formats to later releases;
  • taking nightly back-ups of content, and multiple data centre copies - allowing for efficient back-up and restore (disaster recovery); and,
  • implementing a Digital Preservation Solution (DPS) using the OCFL framework

The value of archiving with ORA

ORA staff review each full text deposit submitted to ORA before publishing the material online.

We check, as far as possible, that:

  • files are virus free and can be opened
  • copyright status and permissions appear to be correct, e.g. where copyright has been transferred to a publisher
  • the full text deposited does breach any publishing agreement that may be in place with regards to the deposited material
  • any terms under publishing agreement have been met , e.g. links back to the publisher version of the work and/or publisher website
  • access conditions (i.e. embargos) and any licence that has been applied to the work, such as Creative Commons
  • sufficient descriptive metadata is included for others to be able to find and cite the material
  • any related publications/data are properly linked to the material

We do not attempt to evaluate the quality or validity of the research material itself.

If we have any concerns, questions or requests for further information we will get in touch with you to discuss your deposit.

Oxford Research Archive (ORA)






ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) is the institutional repository for the University of Oxford and is home to the scholarly output of its research members. 

Contact us at:, or via our contact form.