Short guide to HAL

Author: Søren Bertil Fabricius Dorch

The HAL logo © CCSd (CNRS)

HAL - Hyper Archive onLine - is a free Open Access research repository that has existed since 2000. HAL is run by the French research council CNRS and currently contains approximately 50,000 documents. About 16% of the documents belong to subjects within social science and the arts and humanities (the SHS domain) corresponding to over 8,300 documents (currently rougly eight submissions a day).

General use of HAL

There is no need to register, if you just want to browse HAL for research material, if you just want to download material, or if you want to receive RSS feeds from HAL. All these functions are independent of registration.

However, if you are considering depositing or submitting a research document to HAL, you should register first. Registration is also necessary if you want to receive notification emails about newly deposited documents, e.g. weekly on specific topics.


You can read about the RSS options, by clicking on the RSS icon to the top-right on the HAL website. A suitable URL for setting up an RSS feed for arts- and humanities could e.g. be the following

Add this URL to your RSS feed reader which could be e.g. your mail programme, internet browser or a standalone reader such as Feedreader.

Other SHS domains are "SHS:ANTHRO_SE" (anthropology), "SHS:DEMO" (demography), "SHS:PHIL" (philosophy), "SHS:HIST" (history), "SHS:LANGUE" (language) and more. The complete list can be found here, by examining the links.

You can read more about RSS e.g. at Wikipedia.

How to register

To register go to HAL and chose "Register" under the "Submit" heading: Then you will get to the registration page. Fill out the form and press "Create". That completes your basic registration. To login, press the "Login" icon at the top-right in HAL.

How to get email news from HAL

Go to HAL and login by pressing the "Login" icon at the top-right. Chose "My subscriptions" under the "My space" heading. Here you can set up an email notification for one or more subjects, but default is one subject called "Sub. 1" (top left under "required fields").

  1. In the "Instance" field  you chose from which instance of HAL you want to receive news about newly deposited documents. For humanities chose e.g. "halshs".
  2. In the "Frequency" field you chose how often you want to receive the email list, e.g. "weekly".
  3. "Document type" could be e.g. "new articles".
  4. The "subject" field contains more specifically the topic that you are interested in: Click the button "Domain list". This opens a new window, from which you can add the topics that you are interested in. The topics in HAL are called domains. Click the "+" to expand the domains into topics.
  5. Additionally you can also add specific words that you are interested in, from e.g. the author or title fields. This is not necessary however.

Lastly, press "Update". This completes setting up your email notification list.

How to upload a document

Go to HAL and login by pressing the "Login" icon at the top-right. Chose e.g. "A document with fulltext" under the heading "Submit". Find your area of research using the "domain list" to add a subject. Regarding the field "Bibliographic ADS Code", this is not relevant for humanities papers. For the reminder of the form, fill out as many fields as possible and click "Next step". The form should be self-explanatory.

Additionally, you will be asked to state your affiliation (institution): If your home institute is non-french, it is likely that you will have to add it. Please use the official English names, e.g. "University of Copenhagen" etc.