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Towards a global knowledge commons


New release of the COAR Controlled Vocabulary, “Resource Type”

COAR is pleased to announce the release of the Resource Type Vocabulary, Version 2. This vocabulary, which is now available in 15 languages, provides standardized terms for different types of content contained in a repository. Controlled vocabularies ensure that “everyone is using the same word to mean the same thing” and are key to achieving the COAR vision of a global knowledge commons, based on an interoperable, international network of open repositories. The Resource Type Vocabulary supports discovery of content by allowing readers to confidently search and browse across systems according to the “type” of content they are looking for.

The Resource Type Vocabulary is one of three vocabularies published to date by COAR. The other two are Access Rights Vocabulary and Version Type Vocabulary. All vocabularies are openly available in SKOS format (using SKOS eXtension for Labels) with concepts identified using URIs, supporting a hierarchical model with multilingual labels. For Resource Type Version 2.0, the Editorial Board has improved and expanded on the initial release of the vocabulary with new concepts and labels based on the community feedback. Mapping of the labels to other ontologies such as info:eu-repo, Bibo Ontology, DCMI, FaBiO Ontology, DataCite and CASRAI dictionary is available and has been updated. In addition, all three COAR Controlled Vocabularies are used in the OpenAIRE 4.0 Metadata Guidelines.

COAR strongly encourage the repository community to implement these Controlled Vocabularies to support greater interoperability across repositories. COAR has prepared an implementation guide for the vocabularies, aimed at users of DSpace and other platforms to help with the implementation. These resources (and others) can also be found in the COAR’s Repository Toolkit.

COAR is extremely grateful for the efforts of the international group contributing to the development and translation of the vocabularies, which require continuous revision, update and maintenance as well as significant work to have them adopted into the repository platforms. We extend our thanks again to the COAR Vocabulary Editorial Board for their important contributions.

If you are interested in participating in these activities, or would like more information, please contact office@coar-repositories.org.

Revised Plan S and Repositories

cOAlition S has published a revised Plan S Principles and Implementation Guidelines.

cOAlition S is a group of (mainly European) public and private charity research funders who want to accelerate the transition to open access through the adoption of a common strategy, called Plan S, that will require full and immediate Open Access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from the research they fund.

The details of the plan have changed quite a bit in response to a large volume of feedback from the community (including COAR’s input on December 13, 2018 and February 6, 2019). In particular, the start date for Plan S compliance has been moved to January 1, 2021, and several of the compliance requirements for both journals and repositories have been reduced.

COAR is pleased to see that repositories are included in Plan S as equal and legitimate mechanisms for compliance. Furthermore, as was suggested by COAR and others, the implementation requirements for compliant repositories are now much less onerous than in the original draft, and should be fairly manageable for repositories to implement. The requirements mainly focus on the inclusion of appropriate metadata for articles: Persistent identifier, machine-readable licenses, access status, and funder information. Those repositories that have already adopted the OpenAIRE guidelines, or another regional variation, are already close to being Plan S compliant.

We wanted to highlight a couple of other things for you, related to the role of repositories:

  • No embargoes: Publications resulting from research funded by cOAlition S members’ grants under calls published as of 1 January 2021 (or earlier at individual members’ choice), must be published in Open Access venues (journals or platforms) or made openly and immediately available in an Open Access repository (the final published version or the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM)
  • Open licenses: All publications must be published under an open and machine readable license, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY)

In addition, other mandatory criteria for repositories are as follows:

  • Registration with OpenDOAR Directory (or in the process of being registered)
  • Use of persistent identifiers for the deposited versions of the publications (DOI -preferable, URN, or Handle)
  • Non-proprietary metadata under a CC0 public domain dedication, which include PIDs, the Open Access status, and the license of the deposited version, and funder information (funder name/ID and grant/project number)
  • Machine readable information on the Open Access status and the license embedded in the article, in standard non-proprietary format.
  • Continuous availability of compliant repositories.
  • Email address for contacting the repository (or more robust help desk functionalities)

There are also several “strongly recommended additional criteria”.

COAR is committed to helping our members and the repository community ensure repositories can adhere with Plan S, and we will be working with other partners, including the open source repository systems, to support compliance.

In addition, we will be reviewing the Plan S requirements in more detail and keep you informed about any other issues of relevance for our community.

WACREN & COAR Partnership Announcement

COAR and WACREN are pleased to announce a new collaboration agreement to advance open access and open science in Africa.

Greater access to the results of research will contribute to improving the visibility and value of research outcomes. However, Africa is a large and very diverse continent and for open science to be adopted widely, services must reflect the variety of national and local priorities and needs in the region.

Through this agreement, COAR and WACREN have committed to working together to strengthen local, national and regional capacity and services for open science and open access. The agreement builds on the previous year’s work of the LIBSENSE project. This project, led by WACREN, with support from EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) and COAR, convened the high-speed networks (NRENs) and library communities in Africa in a series of workshops that helped to identify collaborative activities related to open science.

“African countries need to determine their own paths towards sustainable open access and open science”, says Boubakar Barry, Chief Executive Officer, WACREN, “We appreciate the expertise and input from COAR as we define our ‘made in Africa’ solutions”.

This agreement will see WACREN and COAR continue to collaborate through the LIBSENSE Initiative. COAR will contribute knowledge about global trends and technologies, provide expertise related to repositories and other open science services, and ensure WACREN is engaged at the international level. WACREN will provide its African perspectives to the international discussions convened by COAR.

“I very much look forward to building on the already productive relationship with WACREN”, says Kathleen Shearer, COAR Executive Director, “and to contributing to a strong African presence as open science progresses around the world.”

For more information, please contact Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, COAR and Omo Oaiya, Chief Strategy Officer, WACREN

COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) is an international association with over 140 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 to build capacity, align policies and practices, and act as a global voice for the repository community.

WACREN (West and Central African Research and Education Network) is a non-profit organisation registered in Ghana, with a mission to build and operate world-class network infrastructure, develop state of the art services, promote collaboration among national, regional, international research and education communities and build the capacity of the REN community.

COAR Repository Toolkit

COAR Repository Toolkit is now updated with new resources. We invite you to visit the Toolkit to access the best practices and educational resources including websites, guides, videos, infographics and others.

The Repository Toolkit was launched in the fall of 2018. The aim is to provide repository managers with best practices and educational resources to support interoperability, discoverability and the development of value added services. The toolkit provides access to resources related to the role of repositories, discovery and interoperability, next generation repositories, and contains links to the technical information for implementing and managing repository platforms.

Wherever possible, we have made an effort to include resources in languages other than English. Please contact us at office[at]coar-repositories.org with any valuable resources which are not yet included here. You can also contribute to the toolkit by commenting through hypothesis or on the GitHub repository by creating an issue.

Webinar on Plan S and Repositories

COAR provided a response on the guidance on the implementation of the Plan S on December 13th and hosted a webinar with the repository community today to discuss Plan S requirements and the potential implications of them for repositories.

Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of COAR led the webinar together with Paul Walk, member of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group, who provided important context and details related to the technical aspect of the COAR response. Shearer briefly explained COAR’s reaction and response webinar participants and opened the floor for the questions and comments about the Plan S compliant repository requirements.

In general, COAR is strongly supportive of Plan S, is pleased that repositories are included as a mechanism for complying with Plan S (as they are important to ensure innovation in the scholarly publishing system) but has some reservations about the specific functional requirements for repositories as currently outlined.

In this highly engaged, well-attended webinar, participants provided great comments, interesting questions and valuable input to the discussion.

COAR will be revising its response to Plan S based on these discussions and other community feedback and will submit a final, formal response before February 1st, 2019 and also post it on the COAR website.

Webinar recording and the slides of the presentation are now available through our channels.

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