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.
Executive Director, COAR