Repositories of the future

Repositories forming a distributed global knowledge network have the potential to promote the transformation of the scholarly communication ecosystem and advance the OA scholarly communication infrastructure towards a “scholarly commons “. One of the barriers is a lack of web-based integration with other innovative scholarly services. There is a clear need for repository platforms to adopt modern web-technologies and protocols that will allow them to better interact with more innovative and sophisticated scholarly networked tools and services.

OpenAIRE, it its next three year phase, OpenAIRE-Advance starting from Jan 1, 2018, will build on the outcomes of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group  to implement new functionalities at the level of the repository. In particular, the recently published COAR report Behaviours and Technical Recommendations of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group is of key importance on how to involve all relevant groups around the world and on how to design and implement the next steps.

OpenAIRE’s forthcoming concrete activities to support the “future repository” are:

Improving discovery and content transfer

…through the adoption of state of the art web technologies to syncronize both content and metadata as web resources

Repositories are designed to share scholarly items through metadata. While OAI-PMH became the de-facto standard for metadata exchange, the mainstream adoption of modern web technologies which treat repository content and metadata as web resources has meant that this repository-specific protocol is increasingly anachronistic. This gap now has significant impact and means that there is “less” integration of repositories with web tools for scholarly communication, e.g. with reference management software or TDM services.

OpenAIRE aims to explore implementations based on the NISO/OAI framework ResourceSync. It will draft specifications and prototype with repository platforms (e.g. Invenio/Zenodo, DSpace, LibreCat) in correspondence with OpenAIRE services, via specific use cases.

Enable Open Metrics for repositories

… as a means of transparency, auditability in the calculation and free access to the metrics, covering different publication/data types in the metrics.

Metrics about scholarly resources in repositories, and on repositories themselves, should not only support research evaluation, but also provide comparability of scientific results with other peers (for authors, readers) and provide evidence of optimizations of publishing platforms (for e.g. repository managers). They also form the basis for more sophisticated tools for scientific communication.

OpenAIRE will investigate selected metrics regarding their applicability on scholarly resources stored and managed in repositories. The main focus is on open metrics, i.e. providers of metrics which are characterized by open access to the underlying corpora (transparency), auditability in the calculation and free access to the metrics, and will explore:

  • the coverage of different publication types in the metrics
  • an analysis of metrics pattern of different publication types (e.g. article, book, thesis, preprint, research data, software)
  • Recommendations/best practice strategies for linking repositories with content or metric providers.

Annotation Services

…to more actively engage researchers with the repositories and their content.

Annotations have the potential to facilitate open reviews and comments, while reviewers and authors can make their conversations directly at the document itself. OpenAIRE will investigate how to connect scholarly resources in repositories with an open annotation service infrastructure layer. Specifications of this service will be based on the standardization efforts of the W3C Recommendation for Web Annotation and annotation functionalities developed in the H2020 OpenMinTeD project and its guidelines.

Natalia Manola

OpenAIRE Managing Director. University of Athens, Department of Informatics & Telecommunications. Athena Research & Innovation Centre

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