Survey about the value and benefits of COAR

Dear COAR Members and Partners,

Please take the time to give us your input so we can serve you better.

This is a short, 5-minute survey designed to get members’ feedback about the value of COAR and how the organization can better support members needs in the future. The outcomes will be used to help plan our future activities.

The link to the survey is here and it will be open until April 28, 2017.

The results of the survey will be made available through the members mailing list and at the General Assembly on May 10, 2017.

Next generation repositories – now open for public comments!

COAR is pleased to announce the publication of the initial outcomes of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group for public comment.

In April 2016, COAR launched a working group to help identify new functionalities and technologies for repositories and develop a road map for their adoption. For the past several months, the group has been working to define a vision for repositories and sketch out the priority user stories and scenarios that will help guide the development of new functionalities.

The vision is to position repositories as the foundation for a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication, on top of which layers of value added services will be deployed, thereby transforming the system, making it more research-centric, open to and supportive of innovation, while also collectively managed by the scholarly community.

Underlying this vision is the idea that a distributed network of repositories can and should be a powerful tool to promote the transformation of the scholarly communication ecosystem. In this context, repositories will provide access to published articles as well as a broad range of artifacts beyond traditional publications such as datasets, pre-prints, working papers, images, software, and so on.

The working group presents 12 user stories that outline priority functionalities for repositories. The document, to which you can provide public comments directly, is available here:

We very much welcome your input, and also encourage you to share this message with your colleagues. We hope to have widespread feedback from the community.

Public comments are open from February 7 – March 3, 2017

NRF hosts first African DSpace-CRIS Repository Workshop

The NRF hosted a successful DSpace-CRIS workshop at its National Facility the iThemba Labs, in Cape Town from 04 to 05 December 2016. It was attended by 38 participants including IT administrators, librarians and repository practitioners, drawn from various universities and research councils.

The University of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology Libraries supported the hosting of this pre-conference workshop as part of the Open Access Symposium 2016 week at UCT.

The workshop was facilitated by Andrea Bollini, Chief Technology Innovation Officer at 4Science, Italy, and DSpace-CRIS developer. DSpace-CRIS is an additional open-source module for the DSpace platform and is used extensively in Europe. It extends the DSpace data model, providing the ability to manage, collect and expose data about any entities of the research domain such as people, organisational units, projects, grants, awards, patents, publications etc. A follow-up workshop is planned for 2017

The NRF appreciates the support from COAR which is an international association with over 100 members and partners from around the world representing libraries, universities, research institutions, government funders and others. COAR brings together the repository community and major repository networks in order build capacity, align policies and practices, and act as a global voice for the repository community.

Participants from ARC, CPUT, DUT, HSRC, NRF, SABINET, SANSA, UCT, UNISA, UNIVEN, UniZulu, National University of Science & Technology (Zimbabwe), University of Dar el Salaam, and University of Namibia.

Results of the COAR survey on research data management

Research data management is wide ranging and there are already many organizations active in this area. In December 2016, COAR conducted a survey in order to get a better understanding of the needs of our members in the area of research data management.

There were 43 responses to the survey from around the world. Just over half of respondents are already collecting research data, and about 80% of those who are not yet collecting data indicated that they intend to do so in the coming year.

Based on the results of this survey, COAR will organize a series of webinars on research data management, initially focusing on the topics of engaging researchers, repository case studies, and metadata schemas for research data management in repositories. These webinars will take place in the first six months of 2017.

In addition to the information above, survey respondents provided links to their favorite research data management resources. COAR will post these links on the research data management webpage to support capacity building in the area of research data management.

The full results of the survey are now available in a report posted on the COAR website.


Europe and Latin America expand their collaboration for open science

Photo credit: FAO 2016

Over a million records of open access publications from Latin America are now discoverable through the OpenAIRE platform. In December 2016, OpenAIRE began harvesting records from LA Referencia, the large regional repository network that aggregates metadata of open access publications. LA Referencia contains over 1.2 million records of open access content from nine countries in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru. The records provide access to the peer-reviewed journal articles and theses and dissertations in these countries across all research disciplines. This effort integrates the research outputs of the two regions and will significantly raise the visibility of Latin American publications outside the region.

OpenAIRE and LA Referencia are two of the largest and most well-developed regional repository networks in the world. Together the two regions represent about half of the world’s open access repositories and a large portion of the world’s research output. Both regions are also well progressed in terms of open access, with strong open access policy environments and comprehensive repository coverage.

Regional and national networks, such as OpenAIRE and LA Referencia, play a critical role in supporting open access because they create communities of practice, define standards, and maintain services that reflect the needs of their regions. Yet, the research enterprise is increasingly global, and regional networks must also give users a comprehensive international view. Sharing metadata allows networks to focus on their local communities, while still representing a fuller picture of research outputs.

This activity builds on earlier collaborative efforts of the two networks, in partnership with COAR, to adopt common guidelines, technology transfer, and capacity building that helps to enable cost efficiencies across networks and ensure more seamless discovery and integration of content. COAR, OpenAIRE and LA Referencia have also been working with other regions to promote greater alignment and are working towards greater connectivity of research across the world.


LA Referencia is the network of open access repositories from nine Latin American countries. It supports national open access strategies in Latin America through shared standards and a single discovery platform. LA Referencia harvests scholarly articles and theses & dissertations from national nodes, which, in turn, harvest from repositories at universities and research institutions. This initiative is based on technical and organizational agreements between public science and technology organizations (National Ministries and Science & Technology Departments) and RedCLARA.

OpenAIRE, funded by the European Commission under H2020, is the Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe, based on  the network of open access repositories and open access journals. OpenAIRE aims to promote open scholarship and substantially improve the discoverability and reusability of research publications and data.

COAR is an international association with over 100 members and partners from around the world representing libraries, universities, research institutions, government funders and others. COAR brings together the repository community and major repository networks in order build capacity, align policies and practices, and act as a global voice for the repository community.

Happy Holidays and Prosperous New Year from COAR

Dear COAR Members and Partners,

2016 has been another productive year for COAR. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation in COAR and to share with you some of the highlights.

In 2016, several new institutions joined COAR:

  • Arts et Métiers ParisTech (France)
  • Atilim University Kadriye Zaim Library (Turkey)
  • ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (Portugal)
  • MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
  • Padova University Libraries (Italy)
  • Queen’s University (Canada)
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Peru)
  • University of Windsor (Canada)
  • Vice-ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Education (El Salvador)

We warmly welcome you all to COAR!

In April 2016, the Annual Meeting took place in Vienna, Austria at the University of Vienna. Attendees participated in joint workshops and other interactive events, and we launched the Next Generation Repositories Working Group. We are very excited about the work of this group, as it will provide critical guidance to the community about new functionalities and technologies for repositories. We anticipate that the first report of the group will be available in January 2017 and we will be seeking input from all of you and other stakeholders.

We have also been clarifying our vision for expanding the role of repositories (and by extension, research institutions) as nodes in a global, distributed and community-based network for scholarly communications. In this vision, repositories and institutions around the world provide access to the valuable outputs of research, including publications, data and other content. We then connect those institutions globally through common standards and build value added services on top, such as peer review. In 2017, we will continue to develop and expand on this vision, and will work to build support for it around the world.

COAR continued to promote the adoption of open access models that are barrier free for both readers and authors. In May, we published a statement with UNESCO to express our concern about the growing prevalence of the APC model, which is unsustainable for many institutions and countries.

Improving global harmonization and interoperability of infrastructure remained a key priority for COAR in 2016. No single institution can change the system alone. We need to adopt common strategies and services to have a real impact. To that end, we further strengthened our relationships with regional groups and promoted the adoption of common practices, while still respecting regional diversity. In September 2016, LA Referencia (the Latin American repository network), formally adopted the OpenAIRE metadata guidelines that are widely used in Europe. This means that two of the largest repository networks are now aligned in terms of metadata requirements. We have also been discussing with other regions about the feasibility of internationalizing these metadata elements beyond Europe and Latin America.

COAR has also been encouraging data exchange between repository networks as a way of ensuring greater sustainability in the international repository system. This involves cross regional harvesting of metadata and enables harvesters to reflect a more global view of research outputs. Data exchange between repository networks will also build redundancies across regions and ensure multiple copies are held around the world. Underlying this work is the principle of distributed control of scholarly resources.

In October 2016, COAR released the Resource Type Controlled Vocabulary for Open Access Repositories, Version 1.1. This vocabulary expresses the different types of content available in repositories (and other scholarly systems) in a standardized way. The vocabulary is currently available in 12 languages – English, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish. In the future, the COAR Controlled Vocabulary Editorial Board plans to produce several other multilingual controlled vocabularies including “date types”, “version types”, and “access modes”. They will also be developing resources to help support for the adoption of vocabularies into individual repositories.

In November 2016, COAR formed a Research Data Management Interest Group to help launch some activities that will support members to develop services in this area. The first task of this group was to undertake a survey of COAR members to identify needs and interests. The results of this survey will be available in mid-January 2017, with other activities to follow.

In the coming year we will continue to be active in all of these areas. A special focus for 2017 will be to increase our efforts to position repositories as the foundation of a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication and to develop a strategy for implementing the recommendations of the Next Generation Repositories Working Group. These will be the major themes of our Annual Meeting in Venice, Italy on May 8-10, 2017.

On behalf of myself, the COAR Executive Board, and the COAR Office we wish you a very happy holiday season and prosperous New Year.

Kathleen Shearer
Executive Director, COAR

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