Technical recommendations for next generation repositories

November 28, 2017

COAR is pleased to publish the report, Behaviours and Technical Recommendations of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group

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!

Beyond Open Access: Five prerequisites for a sustainable knowledge commons

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.

Recording and the Slides of Webinar on IR Usage Statistics

CARLCOAR joint webinar on institutional repository (IR) usage statistics was held yesterday with number of
participants. The webinar was moderated by Leah Vanderjagt, Digital Repository Services Coordinator at University of Alberta. She made an introduction for the webinar pointing out the need for standardised metrics for repositories and the efforts of RAMP and IRUS-UK initiatives which are tackling this issue. Speakers, Kenning Arlitsch, Dean at Montana State University Library and Paul Needham, Research and Innovation Manager at Kings Norton Library at Cranfield University, provided us with two very informative talks on each project.

You can find the recording of the webinar and the slides at the following links:

Recording: Arlitsch, Kenning, Needham, Paul, & Vanderjagt, Leah. (2017). CARL-COAR Joint Webinar on IR Usage Statistics.

Slides: Arlitsch, Kenning. (2017, October). RAMP: Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal: Accurately measuring citable content downloads from institutional repositories.

Slides: Needham, Paul. (2017, October). IRUS-UK: Standardised institutional repository usage statistics

CARL-COAR Joint Webinar on IR Usage Statistics

COAR Members are invited to a webinar entitled “Two Approaches for Accurately Counting IR Usage: RAMP and IRUS-UK” jointly organised by CARL and COAR. The speakers are Kenning Arlitsch, Dean at Montana State University Library and Paul Needham, Research and Innovation Manager at Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University. The webinar will be moderated by Leah Vanderjagt, Digital Repository Services Coordinator at University of Alberta.

Date: Tuesday, October 3, 13:00 ET / 19:00 CEST

Please register online for this free webinar. Priority will be given to registrants from CARL and COAR member institutions/organizations, as well as repository managers at Canadian institutions.

About the webinar

Institutional repositories (IRs), by virtue of their ability to give increased visibility to the institution’s scholarly outputs, are valued for their vast amount of open scholarly content. Libraries wishing to demonstrate use (and value) frequently report the number of file downloads sustained by their IR. However, commonly used analytics tools are unsuited for this purpose and produce results that dramatically under-count or over-count file downloads. As well, although statistics can sometimes be accessed through the various repository interfaces, without an agreed standard it is impossible to reliably assess and compare usage data across different IRs in any meaningful way.

The first part of this presentation will explain the reasons for the inaccuracies in most IR download counts and will introduce a new web service called Repository Analytics and Metrics Portal (RAMP), which provides much more accurate counts of file downloads to IR managers, with almost no installation or training requirements. Aggregated data collected with RAMP also creates the potential for interesting new streams of research about IR. RAMP was developed with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The second half of this presentation will focus on another approach at standardizing institutional research data download statistics: IRUS-UK, a national aggregation service, which contains details of all content downloaded from participating IRs in the UK. By collecting raw usage data and processing them into item-level usage statistics, following rules specified by COUNTER, IRUS-UK provides comparable and authoritative standards-based data and also acts as an intermediary between UK repositories and other agencies.

About the speakers

Paul Needham is the Research and Innovation Manager at Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University. For the last ten years, he has primarily worked on Jisc-funded projects, initiatives and services relating to usage statistics based on the COUNTER standard. These include IRUS-UK and JUSP (the Jisc Usage Statistics Portal). He is a member of the NISO SUSHI Standing Committee, the COUNTER Executive Committee and the COUNTER Robots Working Group, and co-chair of the COUNTER Technical Advisory Group. For the past 18 months, Paul has been deeply involved, along with other COUNTER members, working on the development of Release 5 (R5) of the COUNTER Code of Practice, which has been designed to ensure that it is internally consistent, unambiguous, and flexible, making it easy for publishers and repositories to be compliant.

Kenning Arlitsch is dean of the library at Montana State University, where he leads a research library actively engaged in student success, statewide collaboration and the university’s research enterprise. In his 24-year career as a professional librarian, he has held positions in library instruction, digital library development, and IT services. His funded research has focused on search engine optimization, as well as measuring impact and use of digital repositories. He writes a regular column in the Journal of Library Administration and serves on the editorial board of Library Hi Tech. Arlitsch holds a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in library and information science from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. His dissertation on Semantic Web Identity examined how well research libraries and other academic organizations are understood by search engines.

Either you missed it or want to listen to it again: Slides and the recording of today’s webinar are now available

We had such a diverse audience today for COAR Members-only webinar: “Driving Traffic to Institutional Repositories: How Search Engine Optimisation can Increase the Number of Downloads from IR” by Kenning Arlitsch, Dean of the Library at Montana State University.

Thanks ever so much to those who made it and joined us. The slides and the recording are now available through our COAR Community in Zenodo.

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