Issued by Confederation of Open Access Repositories, CoreTrustSeal, European University Association, Science Europe, and the World Data System

Open science requires a sustainable, trustworthy and comprehensive network of repositories that can support researchers around the world in managing, sharing and preserving their data. To achieve this, we will continue to strengthen and expand on the existing repository ecosystem and encourage the adoption of good practices. Collectively, our organizations consider that the “Data Repository: Selection Criteria that Matter” recommendations – as currently conceived – will act as an impediment to achieving these aims. This Joint Position Statement was issued to highlight the community’s concerns and request that the authors of these criteria respond with specific actions.

The Data Repository Selection-Criteria That Matter are “a set of criteria for the identification and selection of those data repositories that accept research data submissions”, which were developed by a group of publishers facilitated by the FAIRsharing initiative. COAR and many others have published concerns about the selection criteria to raise awareness of their potential harm in the community.

These concerns include:

  • It will cause publishers to exert undue influence on researchers’ decisions about the appropriate curation and preservation care needed for their data.
  • It threatens to exclude many repositories and limit options for researchers.
  • It does not build on existing good practice frameworks for data repositories.
  • It is not driven by public interest and it will create an unreasonable dependency on a single repository registry which does not include researchers and repositories in its governance.
  • It could conflict with funder, institutional or national policies/legislation. In particular when researchers are mandated to deposit data in specific repositories by their institutions, funders or legislation.
  • And ultimately, it will be detrimental to the advancement of open science across the world.

Although the development process included a request for input, many in the research data community have felt their input has not been incorporated into subsequent versions of the paper, and the only response from the authors did not adequately address these concerns.

Fundamentally, publishers’ guidance to support researchers selecting a repository should be aligned with, and not substitute or conflict with, guidance already available to researchers from their institutions, disciplinary communities, and/or funders.

Therefore, in this joint position statement, we are requesting the authors of the draft criteria to:

  1. Take into consideration the concerns expressed by the community and reconsider their current approach to focus their contribution on where it can have the most value for the research community
  2. Not restrict researchers’ options or exclude repositories unless based on relevant research community needs and scientific criteria
  3. Engage in a transparent manner with the community including existing recognised community efforts to define best practices for repositories
  4. Document and define which features publishers consider a priority for the data that underpins publications, clearly justify any publisher-specific features, and engage with repositories about implementing them.
  5. Include representatives of the major communities (funders, researchers, institutions, and repositories) in the development and governance of publisher-specific features.
  6. Any implementation of the publisher-specific features in repository registries, including FAIRsharing, should be contingent on the above. Changes to the repository description metadata and repository filtering functionality implemented in registries should be transparent and aligned with an ongoing consultation process.

The full text of the Joint Position Statement is available in Zenodo.

Supporting Organizations

  • AGU: American Geophysical Union
  • Canadian Association of Research Libraries and Portage Network
  • cOAlition S
  • CSIC: Spanish National Research Council
  • COPDESS: Coalition for Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences
  • Cornell University Library
  • DANS: Dutch national centre of expertise and repository for research data
  • EIFL: Electronic Information for Libraries
  • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • LA Referencia
  • LIBER: Association of European Research Libraries
  • LIBSENSE Africa
  • OpenAIRE
  • National Committee for Data in Science of the Australian Academy of Science
  • SPARC: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
  • SPARC Europe

If you would like to support this Joint Position Statement or request more information, please contact office@coar-repositories.org