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Towards a global knowledge commons


COAR and cOAlition S supporting repositories to comply with Plan S

COAR and cOAlition S share a common aim to accelerate the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scholarly publications and COAR supports the vision and principles outlined in Plan S.

Repositories offer a low-cost, high-value option for providing Open Access and are also a mechanism for introducing innovation in scholarly communication, acting as vehicles for developing new dissemination models and providing access to a wide range of scholarly content.

One of the routes for complying with Plan S is for authors to make the final published version or the Author’s Accepted Manuscript openly available in a Plan S compliant repository.

cOAlition S and COAR acknowledge that some of the specific technical requirements of Plan S will entail extra effort for some repositories, however, these requirements can for the most part be addressed by the community.

In order to ensure that repositories can comply with Plan S, COAR and cOAlition S intend to work together to support repositories in adhering to the requirements through the following activities:

  • COAR will engage with the most widely adopted repository platforms to determine their current capabilities to support Plan S, identify any challenges, and provide expertise and knowledge to help with the adoption of technical requirements by the platforms.
  • COAR will work through its members, partners and regional networks to provide leadership and guidance related to the adoption of persistent identifiers, standard vocabularies, and quality metadata in repositories.
  • COAR will provide cOAlition S with relevant feedback from different regions and the repository community about issues or barriers to the endorsement and implementation of Plan S.
  • COAR and cOAlition S will work on a strategic roadmap to strengthen and transform the role of repositories in supporting Open Access and Open Science

Inviting community input – Pubfair

COAR is inviting community feedback on a white paper authored by Tony Ross-Hellauer, Benedikt Fecher, Kathleen Shearer and Eloy Rodrigues.

The white paper, entitled Pubfair – A Framework for Sustainable, Distributed, Open Science Publishing Services, provides the rationale and describes the high level architecture for an innovative publishing framework that positions publishing functionalities on top of the content managed by a distributed network of repositories.

You can find the white paper online or download the full text as PDF. Please provide your comments directly on the website.

We welcome all relevant input by September 30, 2019.

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.

New COAR members from Costa Rica and El Salvador

COAR is pleased to welcome two new members from Latin America: CONARE, the National Council of Rectors in Costa Rica and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, MINEDUCYT, from El Salvador. This strengthens and expands the Latin American presence in COAR, reflecting the strong support for repositories in that region and is an endorsement of the overall COAR vision of a distributed, global knowledge commons.

Latin America has been a leader in many aspects of open access (OA), recognizing that the widespread sharing of the results of research will contribute to the social, educational, and economic objectives of their countries. Several countries in the region have open access laws and there have been significant investments in national and regional infrastructures to support OA.

CONARE, which is made up of the five public universities of Costa Rica, is responsible for generating about 80% of the country’s intellectual production and is seeking to optimize repository operations in the country. El Salvador, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has been working over the last several years to make their academic production more visible through local journals, open access repositories as well as the development of national regulations. Both organizations, which are also members of LA Referencia, view repositories as essential infrastructure to support open access and open science.

As the international community grapples with the best way forward for open access, it is critical to ensure that the perspectives of countries outside the global north are included in this future. COAR provides a mechanism for organizations in Latin America and elsewhere to contribute their perspectives to international discussions, collaborate with other regions, and ensure global alignment and adoption of best practices.

Read the full announcement in Spanish here.

Report from the African LIBSENSE 3 Workshop

On April 24-26, 2019 the 3rd LIBSENSE workshop took place in Tunis, Tunisia. The workshop was organized by ASREN (Arabic States Research and Education Network), in conjunction with WACREN, COAR and EIFL.

The LIBSENSE initiative is a collaboration between the three African Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs) and the AfricaConnect2 project. It aims to build a community of practice for repositories in Africa and define a collaborative agenda for libraries and RENs in Africa related open science, repositories and value-added services. COAR, EIFL, and OpenAIRE have also been providing support and expertise to the LIBSENSE project.

The workshop in Tunisia was attended by representatives from the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and library/university communities from several Arab countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia, with other participants from Nigeria and Senegal. As with the previous two workshops, the aim was to identify opportunities and activities to collaborate across the two communities to support open science in the region.

This highly interactive workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss their challenges related to open access and share solutions being applied locally. The ASREN countries are very diverse and there is no universal solution for all countries in the region, however, several valuable shared priorities surfaced during the workshop:

  1. A federated discovery system for the region: A significant amount of research and educational content is produced in the region, but the content is scattered across many systems and countries. A federated discovery system, similar to LA Referencia in Latin America, would bridge access across repositories and other content providers from the region enabling a one-stop search interface. While there are already several national portals and discovery systems, the region would benefit from federating across countries, given the common language and geographic location of the countries. To support this, content needs to be exposed in a common way, leading to greater alignment and harmonization of standards, technologies and policies at the local level, and ensuring best practices are applied to the organizations that wish to share their content through the portal.
  2. Increasing the value of Arabic content: Related to the issue above, participants discussed collective strategies to add value to the Arabic language content produced in the region. Improving the visibility and discoverability of Arabic language will require the adoption of standards and best practices by data providers including clear copyright statements, the proper use of DOIs, metadata in English to support discovery, quality control for digitized materials, and so on. ASREN could act as a mechanism for institutions in the region to work together to support the identification and sharing of best practices and even possibly a collective approach to shared curation of metadata and content.
  3. Shared content hosting platform: Not every institution has the resources and expertise to manage its own repository. At the national level NRENs, or other national institutions can offer repository hosting services to fill in the gaps and ensure that all valuable content produced in the region is made openly available and preserved for the long term. These types of hosting services could also be extended beyond literature repositories to include data repositories and journal platforms, and help advance innovation in scholarly communication by supporting, for example, launching overlay journals on top of the regional content. This would allow cost sharing across institutions, leading significantly lower costs for participating in open science activities.
  4. Advocacy, training, and communities of practice: A cluster of activities related to the social/cultural aspects of open access and open science can also be supported through collaborative activities. As with many regions, the traditional paradigms related to promotion and prestige of the researcher are strong in these countries, leading researchers to prefer publishing in traditional, established publishing venues. The narrative that incorrectly equates open access with low-quality journals acts as a strong disincentive for researchers to publish in open access and these misunderstandings need to be addressed through advocacy with researchers and administrators. In addition, regional collaboration provides an opportunity to support communities of practice, beyond just “one-off” training events for a variety of activities such as federated identity management for libraries, open source software management (DSpace and OJS), as well as sharing and adopting good practices and standards across a range of other services.

The workshop programme and presentations are available here, and the workshop photo gallery here

The next step for LIBSENSE project will be for countries and regions to develop more concrete plans for addressing and advancing the priorities areas identified through the workshops.

If you are interested in participating in these activities, please get in touch with the LIBSENSE program managers by email to libsense@ren.africa

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