Subject repositories are open web collections of working papers or manuscript copies of published scholarly articles, specific to particular scientific disciplines. The first repositories emerged already in the early 1990’s and in some fields of science they have become an important channel for the dissemination of research results.
Using quite strict inclusion criteria 56 subject repositories were identified from a much larger number indexed in two repository indexes. A closer study of these demonstrated a huge variety in sizes, organizational models, functions and topics.
When they first started to emerge subject repositories catered to a strong market demand, but the later development of Internet search engines, the rapid growth of institutional repositories and the tightening up of journal publisher OA policies seems to be slowing down their growth.