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Open Access at Aston: Subject Repositories and Preprint Servers

Subject repositories are open access repositories for outputs related to a specific field or discipline. Preprint servers can also be subject specific, but are primarily for early drafts of outputs prior to formal publication. Outputs in subject repositories can include unpublished working papers, pre-prints of articles not yet peer-reviewed, accepted manuscripts and published 'gold' open access articles. 


Subject repositories and preprint servers are a great way to quickly and widely disseminate results from the early stages of your research. You can then publish these outputs as journal articles, chapters, etc. once they have been submitted for and passed peer-review. You can search for a relevant subject repository using the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR). Use the 'Advanced Search' function and tick the box for 'Disciplinary' repository type and then choose the subjects you are interested in. 


If the relevant criteria are met, outputs deposited in a subject repository or preprint server may be eligible for submission to REF 2021. Please  get in touch with the Open Access and Research Repository Specialists if you have questions about REF eligibility or funder compliance. 


PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (EPMC) is an archive for the biomedical and life sciences. Any output that is published in a journal is eligible for deposit. Both full text and metadata only records are included in these repositories. Depositing in PMC/EMPC is a requirement for authors with Medical Research Council (MRC), Biotechnology & Biological Research Council (BBSRC), and Wellcome Trust funding. 

Items are deposited directly into PMC/EPMC by the publisher, though authors may also deposit their manuscripts via the NIH Manuscript Submission system if their publishers do not support automatic deposit. Further guidance on this can be found in the PMC FAQs here


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arXiv is a preprint server owned and operated by Cornell University. It includes the following subjects: Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance, Statistics, Electrical Engineering and Systems Science, and Economics. While there isn't a review process for submitting to arXiv, they ask that authors conform to Cornell University's academic standards.

You can search for specific articles or browse by subject. Get started at


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SSRN (Social Science Research Network) is an open-access preprint community that originally focused primarily on the social sciences, including economics, law, corporate governance, and humanities, though the research areas now included have expanded since SSRN was acquired by Elsevier. 

Like other subject repositories and academic social networks, SSRN enables researchers to share their research rapidly, collaborate and get credit prior to peer reviewed publication. Membership is free, though users have to create an account if they want to upload research outputs. You can sign up here.