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.
From left to right: Daniel Bernstein (DuraSpace), Kathleen Shearer (COAR), Michele Mennielli (DuraSpace), Tim Donohue (DSpace), Eloy Rodrigues (COAR), David Wilcox (Fedora)
COAR and DuraSpace are pleased to announce the launch of a collaborative partnership.
Both organizations believe in a strong role for innovative open technologies to promote long-lasting and open access to digital data and information. In addition, we are jointly committed to supporting the adoption of repository platforms that are interoperable, compliant with international standards and protocols, and reflect the vision of next generation repository.
By working together, DuraSpace and COAR will leverage their unique strengths and communities to pursue our common goals. In particular, the partnership will focus on building capacity in the repository community by delivering and participating in training events, with a special emphasis on developing countries; and promoting the value of open repositories with other communities internationally.
“At COAR, we are looking forward to working with the DuraSpace team to help enhance the skills of repository managers and support the adoption of the most up-to-date versions of repository platforms,” says Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of COAR.
“We feel this collaboration will lead to practitioner empowerment and sustainability of the services built on the open repository platforms we steward. Working with Kathleen and the COAR community will help us tap into the incredible talent and enthusiasm in open source communities as well as help us deliver on our mission of supporting projects and advancing services to help ensure that current and future generations have access to our collective digital heritage” says Erin Trip, Interim CEO of DuraSpace.
“Our organizations have worked toward this partnership for so long. I am very pleased and grateful for this collaboration as I return to the community as a practitioner in repositories,” says Debra Hanken Kurtz, outgoing CEO of DuraSpace.
DuraSpace stewards two of the most widely adopted open source repositories, DSpace and Fedora, which manage research, scholarly, and other published content in a digital repository, focusing on long-term storage, access, and preservation. DuraSpace develops global, strategic collaborations to sustain DSpace and Fedora, and VIVO, a semantic web platform that enables research discovery to create an integrated record of the scholarly work of an organization. More than 2,000 institutions use and help develop open source software in partnership with DuraSpace.
COAR is a membership organization with over 130 members and partners from 40 countries on all 5 continents. COAR’s vision is a global knowledge commons based on the distributed repository network, on which value added services can be built. COAR is platform agnostic and is committed to working with all organizations that share common principles and shared goals.
Today, a new journal in mathematics was launched by Timothy Gowers and Dan Kral. The journal, called ‘Advances in Combinatorics’, is an overlay journal, built entirely on articles contained in the arXiv repository. It is free to read and will not charge authors to publish. The relatively low costs of running the journal are being covered by Queen’s University Library in Ontario, Canada, which is also providing administrative support.
COAR and Queen’s University Library were very keen to participate in the launch of this journal as it offers a model of overlay services on top of repositories, a model that could eventually be generalized beyond arXiv. “This aligns really well with our vision for next generation repositories”, says Kathleen Shearer, executive director of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), “on top of which we can build services such as peer review”.
According to the journal’s founder, Timothy Gowers, research professor at the University of Cambridge, ‘Advances in Combinatorics’ was created in order to “give people the option… to submit to a journal that is not complicit in a system that uses its monopoly power to ruthlessly squeeze library budgets”.
The extreme profit seeking of some of the commercial publishers (it has been reported that Elsevier made profits of approximately $1.2 billion US dollars in 2017) is stretching library budgets to the limit. In addition, it has created significant barriers in access to research and -with the advent of article processing charges (APCs)- it is exacerbating inequalities in researchers’ ability to publish.
Martha Whitehead, vice-provost (digital planning) and university librarian at Queen’s University says, “As libraries, we need to nurture and invest in new models that will contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive system for research communications. We are delighted to be able to support this innovative approach to journal publishing.”
The journal plans to set a high bar for acceptance. Currently there are no non-commercial publishing venues that cater for combinatorics articles at the level envisaged. The aim is to offer an ethical alternative by launching a journal that publishes high quality papers, but does not charge publishing fees or for subscriptions.
Last week, the COAR Annual Meeting took place from May 14-17, 2018 in Hamburg, Germany. The meeting was filled to capacity and, with representatives from 30 countries, was the most diverse COAR meeting to date. It offered an opportunity for COAR to take stock of the current status of the work being done to build a global knowledge commons through strengthening and connecting next generation repositories across the world.
Meeting participants were taken on a (virtual) world tour of the open science landscape from Australia – through South Africa, Ethiopia and Sudan – to the European Union and Russia – through the nine Latin American countries participating in LA Referencia – through Canada and the US – and to Asia via China, South Korea and Japan. While there is significant diversity in approaches across these regions and countries, we also share much in common and have many similar challenges.
The critical components for building the knowledge commons were discussed intensively. In particular, the issue of how we can reflect local needs while still supporting the global nature of research through a distributed, networked system. Efforts are progressing towards the widespread adoption of next generation repositories and there is significant interest by the repository platforms to implement the technological recommendations, as well as the national and regional networks to support new functionality that will enable social networking, annotation and peer review and common usage statistics across our systems. It was agreed that we need to support the adoption of common standards, data sharing, and strengthening communities of practice at the local, national and regional levels.
Breaking down geographical silos will be critical for the commons, but there are other silos that need to be addressed as well. We envision an integrated, international ecosystem that bridges the disparate worlds of data, publications, and other valuable research outputs. In his opening talk, Klaus Tochtermann, Director of ZBW Leibniz Information Center for Economics, discussed the intersections between the COAR next generation repositories concept and another parallel effort in Europe to build an Open Science Cloud. He pointed out that while our principles and aims are very well aligned, there has not been much interaction between these two initiatives and we need to develop better ways to engage. Working together on the implementation of the FAIR principles may offer just such an opportunity.
As we aim to define the technological requirements for the knowledge commons, we are also aware that the social aspects are extremely important and present us with a grand challenge. Jean-Claude Guedon, Professor at the Université de Montreal and respected open access advocate, urged us to consider two important principles within our repository network: intellectual proximity and problem solving complementarity. These principles will act as the social glue to tie our repositories together and only when we adhere to these principles, he says, can we offer a viable option for the research community. Demonstrating this value to research communities and supporting intellectual dialogue on top of our collective content will be a priority for us in the coming years.
During the meeting, there was an announcement about the Swedish consortium, BIBSAM’s move to cancel their national license for access to Elsevier journals. This came as a striking reminder of why we are building a knowledge commons. Journal prices are at an all-time high, and the large commercial publishers have little incentive to innovate. This has created an extremely flawed system that is propped up through our over reliance on journal based impact measures to evaluate research, measures that are in large part defined and controlled by the commercial publishers themselves. Is it time to radically reimagine the system so that it better serves the academy and our societies?
At the organizational level, I am pleased to announce a new and expanded Executive Board that was elected during our General Assembly. Four members will remain for a second term, providing continuity from previous years, while four new members will bring us fresh perspectives and wider regional representation. There are now board members from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
I left this meeting with renewed energy and great enthusiasm for pursuing the many great ideas that surfaced during our discussions. Thanks again to the COAR community for their engagement and participation, and to our partners for their financial and organizational support: Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition, OpenAIRE, SPARC NA and the University of Alberta Libraries. All the presentations are now available on the COAR website. For the photos from the Annual Meeting, please click here.
COAR is pleased to announce a webinar session with Prof. Leslie Chan, University of Toronto Scarborough entitled “Open Access in the global South: Perspectives from the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network“.
As with science in general, the discussion around open access has generally been driven by the institutions and perspectives of western or global North countries. However, approaches to open access are far more diverse and there are alternative approaches that have not gained visibility, especially in historically marginalized communities. This presentation will present some key lessons of the OCSDNet http://ocsdnet.org. The OCSDNet is a research network that engaged in participatory research and consultation with scientists, development practitioners, community members and activists from 26 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia to understand the values at the core of open science in development. What we learned is that there is not one right way to do open science, and “openness” requires constant negotiation and reflection, and the process will always differ by context due to historical and socio-political factors. The set of seven values and principles at the core of the OCSDNet manifesto will be discussed for a more inclusive open science in development. More important, we will discuss the implications of these values in relation to the aspirations and features of COAR’s Next Generation Repository.
Leslie Chan is Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media and the Associate Director of the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
An early practitioner of the Web for scholarly exchange and online learning, Leslie is particularly interested in the role of “openness” in the design of network, and the implications on the production and flow of knowledge and their impact on local and international development.
As one of the original signatories of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, Leslie has been active in the experimentation and implementation of scholarly communication initiatives of varying scales around the world. The Director of Bioline International, Chair of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, Leslie is a long time advocate for knowledge equity and inclusive development. Leslie has served as advisor to numerous projects and organizations, including the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, the American Anthropological Association, the International Development Research Centre, UNESCO, and the Open Society Foundation, the Directory of Open Access Journal, and the Open Library of Humanities. He was the principal researcher for the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (2014-2017), funded by IDRC in Canada and DFID in the UK. Leslie is also a member of the COAR Next Generation Repository Working Group, and he is the co-chair of the upcoming ELPUB meeting in Toronto, focusing on Sustainable Community Based Knowledge Infrastructure http://elpub.net
In November 2017, the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group published a report outlining new behaviours and technologies for repositories.
The aim 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.
The behaviours and technologies are now available on a dedicated website and through GitHub. We welcome community feedback about existing recommendations and suggestions for other technologies not yet identified.
We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the next COAR Annual Meeting. The meeting and pre-conference sessions will take place from Monday, May 14 to Thursday, May 17, 2018 in Hamburg, Germany at ZBW Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
Please note – spaces are limited! Therefore, registration is restricted to COAR members, partners, and invited guests until March 5, 2018.
By Eloy Rodrigues, COAR Chairman and Kathleen Shearer, COAR Executive Director
In April 2016, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) launched the Next Generation Repository Working Group to identify new functionalities and technologies for repositories. In this report, we are pleased to present the results of the work of this group, including recommendations for the adoption of new technologies, standards, and protocols that will help repositories become more integrated into the web environment and enable them to play a larger role in the scholarly communication ecosystem.
The current system for disseminating research, which is dominated by commercial publishers, is far from ideal. In an economic sense, prices for both subscriptions and APCs are over-inflated and will likely continue to rise at unacceptable rates. Additionally, there are significant inequalities in the international publishing system both in terms of access and participation. The incentives built into the system, which oblige researchers to publish in traditional publishing venues, perpetuate these problems and greatly stifle our ability to evolve and innovate.
At COAR, we believe the globally distributed network of more than 3000 repositories can be leveraged to create a more sustainable and innovative system for sharing and building on the results of research. Collectively, repositories can provide a comprehensive view of the research of the whole world, while also enabling each scholar and institution to participate in the global network of scientific and scholarly enquiry. Building additional services such as standardized usage metrics, peer review and social networking on top of a trusted global network of repositories has the potential to offer a viable alternative.
The vision underlying the work of Next Generation Repositories 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.
An important component of this vision is that repositories will provide access to a wide variety of research outputs, creating the conditions whereby a greater diversity of contributions to the scholarly record will be accessible, and also formally recognized in research assessment processes.
Our vision is aligned with others, such as MIT’s Future of Libraries Report and Lorcan Dempsey’s notion of the “inside-out” library, that are defining a new role of libraries in the 21st century. This future involves a shift away from libraries purchasing content for their local users, towards libraries curating and sharing with the rest of the world the research outputs produced at their institution. COAR’s mission is to ensure that, as libraries and research organizations invest in and enhance their local services, they adopt common standards and functionalities that will allow them to participate in the global network. We very much hope that the recommendations provided in this report will contribute to the transition towards this new role for repositories and libraries.
This was a truly collaborative effort. We would like to sincerely thank the members of the Next Generation Repositories Working Group for their generous contributions and significant efforts towards this undertaking. They have brought a breadth and depth of expertise, without which we would not have been able to accomplish this work. We are very grateful!
Open access is about the democratization of knowledge.
However, as open access becomes widely adopted, there is a risk that we will accentuate the inequalities and unsustainability of scholarly publishing, through widespread implementation of pay to publish business models.
At COAR, we recognize that we need to go beyond open access, to consider how to create an open and fair system for sharing research outcomes.
See the full document here. Disponible en español aqui.