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Towards a global knowledge commons


From Open Access to Open Science: Supporting the Transition to Managing Research Data

COAR hosted a members-only webinar on 5 December on role of open repositories in research data management (RDM). RDM is a large component of open science, and the role of repositories is crucial in supporting RDM. Many repository services that began by collecting articles are interested in expanding their operations to include research data but it is difficult to know where to start.

Several COAR members shared their stories about how they began their research data management services. Our speakers Robin Rice from University of Edinburgh, Sven Vlaeminck from ZBW Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Barbara Hirschmann from ETH Zurich, Lluis Anglada & Mireia Alcalá Ponce de León from Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya (CSUC), Rebeca Marin Del Campo & Marisa Pérez Aliende from Madrono Consorcio and Jose Antonio Galeano Cardenas, Del Rosario University greatly contributed to this discussion.

While every organization and jurisdictional context is different, there are many shared challenges with adopting research data management services. Given the complexity and expertise related to RDM, some organizations can find it overwhelming. But, organizations just have to start somewhere, and then build and expand expertise and services incrementally over time.

The research data management lifecycle can work as a good metaphor for designing services: “before research begins”, “while work is in progress”, “at the end of research”. Absolutely critical is that RDM service help researchers. If services are built on and respond to existing needs and requirements of the research community, they can greatly help increase the reputation and visibility of the library as a partner in research.

Key issues for organizations are:

  • How to balance the need to develop trusted services based on best practices vs. the resources required to adhere to stringent standards. Are there some feasible FAIR data practices and certification processes?
  • Identifying the main interoperability requirements for linking data and other types of content and integrating different data sets. Geographic location is one element that works for many datasets, but more recommendations are needed.
  • Defining the collection policy for the repository. Will the repository collect any type of research data produced by affiliated researchers, focus on a specific domain specific, address long tail RDM needs only?
  • Should different platforms be adopted for RDM? While existing IR platforms have extended their functionality to include research data, there have limitations. As services mature, the organization may need to consider systems that specialize in RDM.
  • Preservation services for RDM are still in their infancy. The resource required for long term preservation often are beyond the existing service

We thank the presenters for sharing their experience with the COAR community and COAR will try to help address some of the challenges identified above through its RDM working group.

 

Webinar recording and the slides of the presentations are now available:

COAR in Africa

COAR, with other partners including WACREN (West and Central African Research and Education Network) and EIFL, is coordinating a repository workshop in Zanzibar, Tanzania on November 19-20, 2018.

This is the first in a series of meetings to develop a more cohesive strategy for strengthening and building more comprehensive repository networks in Africa. The two-day workshop, which will take place in conjunction with the UbuntuNet Conference, will convene library and NREN (National Research and Education Network) stakeholders from African countries to explore how library-based repositories can better engage with NREN services in order to break down institutional silos, add value to repositories, and support the growth of open science in the region.

The meeting will discuss the current state of open access and repositories in Africa through a presentation of the results of a LIBSENSE survey of higher education sector librarians. It will address issues of interoperability, technical development of repositories, and next generation repository services. Additionally, the benefits and roles of network services will be examined and participants will work together to develop a roadmap and identify priority activities for next steps.

These activities are part of a broader effort by COAR to help build capacity and align repository networks around the world. Work that is funded through the OpenAIRE Advance project. It contributes to our vision of building an inclusive and sustainable global knowledge commons, in which all regions and researchers can participate.

The program and registration form is available on the conference web page.

News from Latin America

We would like to give you an update about meetings that COAR Executive Director, Kathleen Shearer attended two weeks ago in Santiago, Chile.

The meetings were organized by LA Referencia and the Licensing Consortia from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The meetings offered an opportunity to share information about the financial and licensing issues related to the big deals, and also the challenges for these countries that would arise with a potential flip to APCs. In Latin America, where they already have significant government investments in their local journal infrastructure (especially through the SciELO and Redalyc platforms), they are firm in their support for repositories as the preferred road for open access to articles published in the large commercial journals.

It was highlighted that access to underlying research data has become increasingly important in the Latin American context, and some countries already have laws requiring that research data be made available. To
increase capacity for RDM in Latin America, LA Referencia and CERN signed an MOU to facilitate the use of the Zenodo repository for Latin American researchers and institutions. The agreement is the result of joint work that LA Referencia has been undertaking with COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) and OpenAIRE, the European Open Science Platform, to internationalise research infrastructures and ensure alignment across regions.

We agreed on several areas in which COAR and La Referencia could collaborate more closely:

  • Promoting the role of repositories and the next generation repository vision in Latin America
  • Working together on increasing expertise and building capacity for repositories
  • Improving communications between our two organizations

And last but not least, we would like to congratulate COAR Executive Board member, Bianca Amaro (IBICT, Brazil) who was elected President of LA Referencia for the next two years. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Bianca, Alberto Cabezas and all the other members and staff of LA Referencia.

Save the date! COAR Annual Meeting 2019

COAR Annual Meeting

May 21-23, 2019          Lyon, France

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) and the Center for Direct Scientific Communication (CCSD) are pleased to announce that the next COAR Annual Meeting will take place in Lyon, France.

For more information, go to the Annual Meeting webpage (coming soon).

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Engaging the research community with repository services

One of the most challenging aspects of managing a repository is to raise the visibility of repository services in order to ensure researchers are contributing their research outputs. In our recent survey of COAR members, “engaging with the research community” was rated as the top major challenge for respondents.

To address this issue, COAR will be undertaking a number of activities to document effective practices for repository services in engaging with the research communities. As a start, COAR organized a webinar yesterday with three presenters who shared their different experiences.

Here is a summary of my major takeaways from the presentations:

There are no easy answers, but a multidimensional approach, working on several levels, is most effective including some or all of the following:

  • Adopt institutional requirements or policies (e.g. For research assessment, you articles must be in the repository)
  • Provide incentives for researchers (e.g. If you deposit, you can then have access to the APC fund)
  • Include the repository in a suite of other services that are offered to researchers (e.g. We can help you with publishing, or with managing your data)
  • Develop promotional material targeted at the research community
  • Create more user friendly tools and interfaces (e.g. Improve the deposit interface)

And, perhaps most important:

  • Nurture strong relationships with researchers and research departments at the institution

The video of the presentations is available on YouTube

Thanks to our three presenters:

  • Isabel Bernal, Spanish National Research Council | DIGITAL.CSIC: Services to Engage institutional Users.
  • Tuija Korhonen, Helsinki University Library | Data Support Services at the University of Helsinki
  • Edit Görögh, University of Debrecen & University of Göttingen | Researcher Engagement at the University of Debrecen

Results of COAR membership survey

In July/August 2018, COAR conducted a survey to better understand the value of the organization and identify priority activities for members in the coming years. This report provides the results of the survey, which will be shared with members and considered carefully by COAR as we revise and update the COAR Strategic Plan 2019-2021 and Work Plan 2019.

Map of respondents: the survey had 59 respondents from 23 countries
(respondents location shown in light green in the map above)

Key Takeaways

  • The three biggest challenges related to repositories are (1) user engagement and getting content deposited, (2) awareness and visibility of repository, and (3) research data management.
  • Members most value COAR for (1) staying up to date with current practices for repositories and (2) strengthening the role of repositories in the scholarly communication/research landscape.
  • Top three COAR activities are (1) next generation repositories, (2) research data management, and (3) interoperability and alignment.
  • 66% of respondents are not involved directly in any COAR activities/working groups.
  • 68% of respondents are satisfied with their levels of interaction with COAR, while 27% would like to be more involved.
  • Members want COAR to continue working at the strategic level, but would also like to have more engagement and pragmatic support for repository operations.
  • Members appreciate and derive significant value from COAR’s regional outreach efforts.

Presentations about ResourceSync

COAR recently hosted a webinar for platform providers about one of the next generation repository technologies, ResourceSync.

The aim was to provide more information about the use cases and rationale for repository platforms to implement ResourceSync into their software.

The webinar included presentations by Martin Klein from Los Alamos National Laboratory (one of the developers of Resourcer Sync) and Petr Knoth (from the CORE aggregator that is using and will benefit from its adoption)

The presentations were recorded and are available here:

Martin Klein: https://youtu.be/tfD-C_LiQXw
Slides: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1433806

Petr Knoth: https://youtu.be/bkUCRoCrYxY
Slides: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1433820 and https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1433822

So far, we know that ResourceSync is already on the roadmap of many of the open source platform providers, but it is important that the benefits of adoption are widely understood.

COAR’s response to Plan S

On September 4, 2018, a coalition of research funders in Europe published Plan S, an ambitious plan to accelerate Open Access in Europe.

COAR welcomes the strong stance taken towards open access by a coalition of 11 European Funders, coordinated by Science Europe as outlined in Plan S and we strongly support the goal of accelerating the transition to open access.

Europe has been one of the leading regions in regards to Open Access and Open Science; nevertheless, it is important to appreciate that the policies and practices adopted in Europe will have an impact on other regions and countries outside of Europe. As such, COAR has three recommendations for these funders as the implementation of Plan S moves forward

  1. Do not restrict the vehicles for providing open access to ‘journals’ and ‘platforms’, but rather develop assessment criteria based on functions, like peer-review and other types of editorial services.
  2. Make use of the existing organized and globally connected repository network to advance Open Access and Open Science across the world.
  3. Be aware and responsive to the significant concerns in other regions and countries about the widespread adoption of the APC model.

COAR’s full response is available here

Peru Repository Workshop

Last week, COAR participated in a training event organized by DuraSpace and CONCYTEC, the Peruvian Council for Science and Technological Information. The aim of the workshop was to help increase expertise for managing repositories at Peruvian universities and was attended by over 130 people, with another 120 people watching it on the live stream.

The event was planned in order to support the Open Access Repository Law in Peru and the increasing integration in that country between repositories and CRIS systems. The program included an overview of the international context for repositories, interoperability, and next generation repositories; a hands-on training session of the DSpace platform; and an introduction to DSpace-CRIS software. The training was delivered by DuraSpace, COAR and 4Science, and will be followed up with a plan for a more active community of practive in Peru around repositories.

The training took place in conjunction with a two-day conference at which COAR also had the opportunity to present our vision for the future of repositories to a large Peruvian audience.

This activity reflects COAR’s increasing emphasis in capacity building for repositories internationally. Although COAR is platform agnostic, we understand that it is important to partner with the major platform providers used in different countries to ensure that we are also addressing and contributing to the local technical expertise.

If you are interested in working with us to develop repository training for your country or region, please get in touch with me.

Kathleen Shearer, COAR Executive Director

Adoption of NGR technologies in repository platforms

On June 6, 2018 COAR held a meeting of open source repository platforms to talk about the implementation of technical recommendations in the COAR Next Generation Repositories Report. The meeting was held in conjunction with the Open Repositories Conference in Bozeman, Montana and was attended by representatives from several of the open source repository platforms: Dataverse, DSpace, EPrints, Fedora, Invenio, Islandora, and Samvera, as well as members of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group. The discussion focused on two of the technologies/protocols that support many of the behaviours outlined in the report: Resource Sync and Signposting.

The group talked about the use cases related to these two technologies, which include improved discovery of repository content, resource transfer, and notifications. Participants exchanged information about progress implementing these technologies, and discussed some of the technical challenges involved, especially with ResourceSync. It is clear that both additional resources, as well as greater community awareness, would help to increase the speed with which the recommendations can be adopted into repository software platforms.

We also talked about how to move forward in developing more robust notification systems across repositories, allowing us to build social networking functionalities into a distributed, global network. This scenario requires the use of interoperable hubs that will collect and push notifications to and from the repositories. It was suggested we could already start with a pilot to test the technologies and begin defining the conceptual model.

There were several outcomes for COAR resulting from these discussions:

  • Work with the platforms to raise awareness of the vision for next generation repositories and expand on the use cases to ensure greater community understanding and buy-in
  • Provide more information to the platforms about the specific technologies that are recommended in the report
  • Help to match funds from interested organizations towards NGR technological developments in the different platforms.
  • Maintain a registry of the implementation of NGR technologies by the different platforms
  • Follow-up on next steps for piloting social networking functionalities

The meeting was very productive and COAR will follow-up on to support the adoption of next generation repository functionalities.

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