LA Referencia: Implementing the OpenAIRE guidelines in Latin America

Alberto Cabezas Bullemore, Executive Secretary, LA Referencia & RedCLARA. Email:

logo-referenciaOpenAIRE’s mission is to foster the social and technological links that enable Open Science in Europe and beyond. Recognizing that research is increasingly global and that OpenAIRE’s solutions must work within the wider world ecosystem, one of the main goals in this phase of OpenAIRE is to increase interoperability by promoting technological alignment between regions and facilitating the exchange of good practices. One objective of this work is to assess the current state of adoption of the OpenAIRE Guidelines in Latin America and identify barriers to their implementation. LA Referencia, in cooperation with COAR is working with OpenAIRE to achieve this. LA Referencia is an initiative of public science and technology organizations from nine Latin American countries that offers a regional Open Access repository aggregation service. In 2015 LA Referencia adopted major elements of the OpenAIRE Guidelines to improve global interoperability. Between August and October 2015, testing was undertaken to monitor levels of compliance of eight Latin American countries with the OpenAIRE guidelines[1].


The central instrument for this test was the OpenAIRE Validator, a tool that allows repositories to test their compatibility with the OpenAIRE guidelines.


Illustration 1: Use of OpenAIRE Validator. Guidelines 3.0:

The test was run in five steps:

  1. For each National Node a list of relevant institutional repositories was selected in order to build a representative sample of the node. The list was provided by each National Node. The goal was a sample of about 80% of records.
  2. The OpenAIRE Validator was run on each repository of the sample and the results for Content and Usage (OpenAIRE quality measures) were downloaded[2]
  3. An average – weighted by number of records – for the repository was calculated for each measure in order to obtain repository based country scores (2 synthetic measures for each National Node).
  4. The OpenAIRE Validator was run on each National Node aggregator in order to obtain Content and Usage scores for each country.
  5. For each National Node repository based scores were compared against aggregator scores.

The technical team of LA Referencia in collaboration with the OpenAIRE Validator development team made a set of preliminary tests. These coordinated activities helped to improve the set of validation rules. Specifically improved rules were:

  • Field resource identifier
  • Field language
  • Field project identifier

In order to export the validation results in XLS format from over 60 repositories an improvement was made by the validator development team.

Main Results

Table 1 shows the weighted average score for Content and Use. Although just showing averages, it reflects a relevant diffusion of guidelines by Peru and Ecuador. The higher position of Argentina can be explained by the harvesting method.


Table 1: Weighted average score for content and use: Repositories v/s nodes

Table 2 shows the strong differences in some key fields between repositories and National Nodes. It is limited to the critical issues, a full table can be found here.


Table 2: Percentage of guidelines compliance by rule: Comparison between aggregated repositories and national nodes in selected field (reduced version)

Summary and Conclusion

  1. The test shows that National Nodes, with transformations, definitely follow OpenAIRE guidelines. But for individual repositories, the picture is very different. This is one of the main challenges that we should concentrate on within the next three year and is a responsibility of all actors.
  2. It is obvious from the table that training, and effort, must concentrate on common vocabularies for:
    • Field Access Level
    • Field Publication Type
    • Field Publication Version
  3. It seems useful to implement the use of setSpec
  4. It is evident that a common platform could help in the process. A detailed explanation of the country transformation records shows important improvements in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Colombia were LA Referencia platform (LR Harvester) has been transferred. (It also is in operation in Costa Rica and planned for El Salvador in 2016).

In the last quarter of 2016 we will start a training strategy with the National Nodes to enable them to test the quality of repositories in their own countries and develop strategies and operational decisions to improve metadata guidelines compliance. Clearly, the OpenAIRE Validator has proved to be a user friendly, objective and useful instrument to set a baseline from where we can improve our work.


[1] The results are described in: Diagnóstico tecnológico, validadores de directrices y plataforma regional. Lautaro Matas / LA Referencia. Workshop Interoperabilidad Regional y con OpenAIRE. 25, 26 Noviembre. Río de Janeiro, Brasil.

[2] The validator could not be run on approximately 10% of repositories due to technical issues at the specific repository (local OAI-PMH Implementations).

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