Summary of COAR Annual Meeting

On May 8-10, 2017, the COAR meeting took place at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy

80 international delegates attended the three day meeting, which focused on fostering closer collaboration across countries and regions, and facilitating dialogue about issues of common concern.

As open access and open science become more widespread, repositories play an increasingly important role in the ecosystem, acting as the foundation for a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication, on top of which layers of value added services will be built. COAR aims to ensure that the repository community is aligned around common goals, and collectively makes progress towards this vision.

One of the major highlights of the meeting was the launch of an International Accord for Repository Networks. The accord, which was signed by 8 regional organizations, will lead to greater alignment of repository networks, and strengthen the distributed, community-based open access infrastructure around the world. By working together, the regional networks will ensure their services are interoperable, providing a more seamless, global view of research results. They will also work together to support the regional adoption of common technologies and services.

During the meeting, participants learned about recent developments in the area of open access around the world. Significant progress has been made in terms of the adoption of services and infrastructure in many regions, and most countries now have policies and laws that require open access to research articles through repositories. The delegates also discussed other strategic issues such as how to support research data sharing, the future of libraries, and improving the visibility and impact of research results.

A good portion of the meeting was devoted to a discussion about the work that COAR is doing to define new functionalities for the next generation of repositories. The widespread deployment of repository systems in higher education and research institutions provides the foundation for a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication. However, to remain relevant, there is a need to update repository systems with new technologies and implement a wider range of functionalities. The COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group presented a number of scenarios for the future of repositories,  including peer review and commenting on top of repository content, social networking functionalities, and better workflows for users. These scenarios will guide technological recommendations of the working group, that are expected to be published in the summer 2017.

In addition to the stimulating discussions and presentations about the future of research communications, conference delegates were highly impressed by the beautiful architecture of the Università Ca’ Foscari, and the wonderful views from the venue of the canals of Venice. The meeting closed with great appreciation and thanks to the hosts at the Library System of the Università Ca’ Foscari for their hospitality.

The meeting presentations are available on the programme page, and videos of some of the sessions will also be available in the coming weeks.

International Accord strengthens ties between repository networks worldwide

Venice, Italy

On May 8, 2017, several regional and national repository networks and stakeholder groups formally endorsed an international accord that will lead to the greater alignment of repository networks around the world. The aim of the accord is to improve cooperation between national and regional repository networks by identifying common principles and areas of collaboration that will lead to the development of global services.

Repositories play a fundamental and expanding role in supporting open access and open science, and there are thousands of repositories deployed around the world that provide access to research articles, data and other types of content. Increasingly, these repositories are connected through regional and national repository networks that define standards for their communities and offer valuable services on top of repository content. However, given the international nature of research, it is critical that these repository networks work together to ensure they are interoperable, while also supporting the unique needs of their local communities.

The international accord, developed by COAR, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories, will foster closer relationships between the regional networks and act as a framework for undertaking specific activities including metadata exchange across networks, the adoption of common standards and APIs, and implementation of common functionalities. The accord was signed by network representatives from Australasia, Canada, China, Europe, Latin America, Japan, South Africa and the United States.

“We share a common vision of a distributed, community-based open science infrastructure around the world”, says Eloy Rodrigues, chairman of COAR. “But to achieve this vision, we need to work together.” Kathleen Shearer, COAR Executive Director says, “This accord brings us one step closer to our goal of transforming the system to make it more research-centric, open to and supportive of innovation, while also collectively managed by the scholarly community.”

In the coming weeks, COAR, along with the signatories, will work to define the various levels of collaboration, with the eventual aim of positioning repositories as the foundation of a global knowledge commons.

The accord is available here: https://www.coar-repositories.org/activities/advocacy-leadership/aligning-repository-networks-across-regions/

For more information, contact Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, COAR

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 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KQQZCG2 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: nextgenrepo.coar-repositories.org

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.

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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.

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