Let us not reinvent the wheel: Institutional repositories as innovative publishing infrastructures

We are pleased to share our publication titled “No-pay publishing: use institutional repositories” (see Nature 619, 698; 2023). This letter is a contribution to the ongoing debate about an “open, equitable, and sustainable scholarly publishing system” without costs to readers or authors, which has been revitalized by the recent recommendations of the EU Council.

Publishers swiftly dismissed the recommendations as “unrealistic”, citing the high costs and uncertain sustainability of an alternative publishing infrastructure without subscription fees or Article Processing Charges (see Nature 2023).

The objective of our contribution is to demonstrate that the infrastructure required to realize the vision of free and sustainable scholarly publishing is already available. Existing institutional repositories are valid and effective publishing platforms that are non-profit, ubiquitous, with nearly every institution having one, and managed by trained librarians who ensure their content adheres to open standards, making it perpetually accessible to diverse communities and indexing services for reuse and innovation.

As an example, we present the case of Psicológica, the diamond open-access journal of the Spanish Society of Experimental Psychology (SEPEX), which, in 2022, transitioned from a commercial publisher to being exclusively published on DIGITAL.CSIC, the institutional repository of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). In just over 1 year of collaboration, Psicológica has published around 60 new articles, including preprints and open reviews. With an estimated current cost of approximately 30 EUR per publication, economies of scale make it possible to significantly increase future publication output without incurring substantial additional costs.

Our collaboration between an academic society and an institutional repository aligns with several ongoing initiatives to promote Diamond Open Access as a viable path towards a true paradigm shift in favor of open-source, interoperable, and non-profit publishing infrastructures.

Moreover, the intention to grant institutional repositories a central role in a new model of scientific publishing, based on a network of infrastructures collectively managed by the academic community, perfectly aligns with the vision promoted by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), with their “Next Generation Repositories” initiative and the “Notify” project.

While the publishing industry raises concerns regarding the sustainability of alternative no-pay publication models, Psicológica exemplifies the viability of harnessing institutional repositories for free and sustainable scholarly publishing and highlights the potential for other journals to follow suit.

Nature Correspondence: //doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-02315-z



DIGITAL.CSIC is the multidisciplinary repository of CSIC since 2008 and with more than 305,000 research results has become the largest Open Access repository in Spain and is one of the main data providers of the Open Science system in Europe.

Over the years, DIGITAL.CSIC has been diversifying its agenda to contribute to building a global Open Science ecosystem. The infrastructure features innovative services such as the publication of a wide range of non traditional outputs, the assignation of DOIs for research results, the management of different types of entity profiles, the Open Peer Review Module (OPRM), FAIR EVA tool to automatically assess compliance with the FAIR Principles and the povision of data collections to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

Since 2019 CSIC requires institutional researchers to deposit and open access their peer-reviewed publications and associated research datasets in DIGITAL.CSIC and links their compliance to institutional evaluation exercises.

DIGITAL.CSIC has been a member of COAR since 2010 and is currently part of its Executive Board.



The Spanish Society for Experimental Psychology (SEPEX) was founded in 1997 with the aim to promote the development of scientific knowledge in all fields of psychology by the dissemination of research results, the strengthening of ties between national and international counterpart societies and organisations, and the organization of scientific meetings.

The journal Psicológica was founded in 1980 at the University of Valencia (UV) and, soon after the creation of the SEPEX, it became the flagship journal of the society, publishing articles spanning the entire spectrum of Experimental Psychology.



Open Scholar was founded in 2012 as an international organisation of volunteer scholars developing ideas and tools that promote open and transparent scientific collaboration for faster, more efficient and natural organisation, evaluation and dissemination of global knowledge.

The group runs several parallel projects related to the vision reflected in the Independent Peer Review Manifesto. In 2016, with financial support from OpenAIRE, Open Scholar coordinated a consortium of five partners to develop the Open Peer Review Module, an open source tool that can be installed in institutional repositories to enable open peer review as a value-added service.

In 2022 Open Scholar coordinated the transition of the journal Psicológica to a diamond open access model on DIGITAL.CSIC.

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