An online, digital collection of research outputs, frequently connected by either discipline.

Unlike academic networking services, which also offer users the ability to upload and share copies of their work – a repository is often rigorously curated, with a particular emphasis on ensuring the long-term preservation and discoverability of the outputs. Many repositories also focus on ensuring long-term access to the contents of their collections and may have explicit policies on the reuse of their contents. Repositories may offer some degree of Open Access to their collections, they may require users to login for access, and they may sometimes contain metadata-only records. However, a fully Open Access repository will normally be expected to provide full access to its contents without limitation, and to facilitate the reuse of its contents with as few restrictions as possible.

A digital repository contains mechanisms for importing, identifying, storing, preserving, retrieving, and exporting a set of digital objects, usually from a web portal. These objects are described by means of labels that facilitate their recovery. In turn, digital repositories are open and interactive, as they comply with international protocols that allow interoperability between them. The repositories can be classified, among other options, according to the institutional situation in own or shared and, according to their contents, in repositories of data, publications, mixed and / or thematic. Repositories do not require their users to register or belong to the institution. A repository is governed through a set of policies.

Related terms: Institutional repository, Subject repository, Open archive, Data repository, Pre-print repository