Highlights from the COAR 2016 Annual Meeting & General Assembly

The COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) 2016 Annual Meeting & General Assembly was hosted by the University of Vienna from 11 to 14 April, 2016. This international event contained eleven sessions which were attended by eighty-tree participants.  Below you can read some highlights from COAR (@COAR_eV) 2016 which have traced current developments  in relation to the new challenges, frameworks and collaboration perspectives of  COAR. 

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) is an international association with over 100 members and partners from around the world representing libraries, universities, research institutions, government funders and others.  Since June 23, 2010, COAR is a registered association under German Law (Register of Associations / Vereinsregister: Göttingen VR 200463).

The COAR’s main mission is to enhance greater visibility and application of research outputs through global networks of Open Access (OA) digital repositories. OA repositories provide OA “to the products of research and reflect an emerging commitment by research institutions towards the stewardship of the research outputs” (CASRAI) and “are an important component of the global e-Research infrastructure. The real value of repositories lies in the potential to interconnect them to create a network of repositories, a network that can provide unified access to research outputs and be (re-) used by machines and researchers” (COAR: A Case for Interoperability).

Each year, COAR holds a General Assembly, which is one of the most important opportunities for discussion and decision-making at COAR.  The  motto of this year’s COAR annual meeting was: The Role of Collaboration in Building a Global Knowledge Commons.  Two important themes underlied the meeting program:

  • Next Generation Repositories (value-added functionalities for interoperable repositories in the coming years);  
  • International Collaboration (several collaborative projects being facilitated by COAR and discussion about how COAR can further promote the equitable flow of Open Knowledge and Open Science across the globe).

After words of welcome and introduction to the meeting by: 

Kathleen Shearer – the Executive Director of COAR and a founding person of COAR (Kathleen Shearer has been very active building up Working Group 1 Repository Content and other COAR activities such as the international Task Force on Licenses Agreements);

and Paolo Budroni - Head of Department Phaidra of the University of Vienna (Paolo Budroni  has been recently appointed as first auditor of COAR), 

followed the first session dedicated to Next Generation Repositories (sponsored by University of Alberta Libraries and SPARC). 

Altogether there were seven talks (along with round table discussions) distributed into four sessions, as follows:

SESSION 1: Next Generation Repositories

Herbert van de Sompel (Los Alamos National Laboratory, Research Library) talked about Establishing New Levels of Interoperability for Web-Based Scholarship.

Think repository-centric! Achieve interoperability!

Herbert van de Sompel stressed the importance of interoperability on overall repositories' strategy to enable cross-node applications that add value. Though establishing interoperability across a vast amount of nodes is a huge challenge, meaningful levels of interoperability can be achieved via really basic approaches. Leading  organisations and projects should promote  web centric cross-repository interoperability.

The next speaker of the COAR meeting was Pandelis Perakakis (Open Scholar and University of Granada), who talked about Validation, Evaluation, Dissemination: Academia’s gravest problems show the way to the Next Generation Repositories.

Did you know that unpaid peer review is worth 1,9 billion? 

Evolution is the result  of pressure in response to problems! In particular, the academia’s gravest problems such as validation (quality, publish or perish?), evaluation (anonymous reviewers, editorial decision, system of favours, impact factors, not transparent, reliable?), dissemination (exclusively by journals, reproducible?)  are showing  new ways to the next generation repositories.

The future generation of OA repositories should implement - among other services designed to add value to research works - an author reward system based on peer reviews provided openly (Open Scholar’s two flagship projects were presented: the Self-Journal of Science and the Open Peer Review Module for repositories) and transparently (along with reviewer recognition) directly at the repository level.

SESSION 2: Regional Perspective: Focus on China

Xiaolin Zhang and Li-Ping Ku (Chinese Academy of Sciences) talked about Research Data Management and Open data in China.

Xiaolin Zhang pointed out that to support Open Research and Open Knowledge, governments, research platforms, research centers and research networks  should:

(1) make consistent efforts to encourage the public to start businesses and make innovations; (2) promote the extensive application of big data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things; (3) deepen reforms to streamline administration, delegate more powers, improve regulation, and provide better services;  (4) crowd innovation, crowd support, crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding, (5) widely support mechanisms for data acquisition, processing and management, data subscription and push, data caching, customization and sharing through cooperation between enterprises, institutions of higher learning, research institutes, and makers.

SESSION 3: Bridging Continents

Daisy Selematsela (National Research Foundation, South Africa) talked about Bridging Continents - To promote exchange and cooperation on OA issues among developing regions.

Daisy Selematsela pointed out the following OA challenges in Africa:

(1) alignment of national priorities and governance policies, (2) alignment with key & emerging research strengths, (3) linkages with international activities, (4) strength & enthusiasm of champion/team, (5) complexity of anticipated governance, funding and sustainability, technical feasibility and standards, (6) quality assurance and management, (7) growth of predatory scholarly OA journals and publishers, (8) accessibility to data.  

To tackle these issues there is an urgent need to:  (1) strongly support African (regional) participation/contribution; (2) obtain inputs to best practices (including policies, statements, guidelines on open data and data sharing) and standards on research integrity and OA for publications in the African region; (3) promote though Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) interventions for research & development in Africa.

Kazu Yamaji (National Institute of Informatics, Japan) talked about Bridging Continents: contribution of Japan.

Kazu Yamaji pointed out that future prospects for the next years of Open Science in Japan are based on the following main pillars: (1) national efforts and investments (e.g. ASIAN Open Science Community, NII SINET5 infrastructure) to contribute to the developments of a global robust research data infrastructure focused on synchronisation of OA policies, open peer review, big data; (2)  harmonization between national and international laws regarding data protection and demanding good data managementpractices; (3) open discussion among parties about Open Agenda, national Open Data policies and academic journals’ data sharing policies.

Heather Joseph Director, SPARC North America talked about Bridging Continents: A Perspective from the U.S.

Though a great deal of progress of OA was made in this 10 years, there is still only a fraction of the communities  (that SPARC wants to reach) having fully “bought-in” to OA,  due to a lack of support for funding for Open Mandates, technical gaps  in national network of repositories.

The international repository community should: (1) cooperatively paint the whole picture of the Open Agenda: OA to articles, OA to Data, Sharing Code, Open Source Software, Open Notebooks; (2) support globally Open Agenda, Open Science Framework and align Open Science Plans; (3) change how to talk about research outcomes; (3) work cooperatively with all stakeholders on common ingest mechanisms and interoperability issues.

SESSION 4: Promoting the Equitable Flow of Knowledge Across the Globe

Andre Laperrierethe Executive Director of Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) – talked about the role of GODAN in promoting global open data for agriculture and nutrition thus contributing to the equitable flow of Knowledge across the globe.

Andre Laperriere presented the role of GODAN in promoting global Open Data for agriculture and nutrition thus contributing to economic growth and interdisciplinary research from a perspective of a complex network (key points: vertical data integration, interoperability, advocating open infrastructures).

Moreover, it was stressed that there is a tremendous opportunity for collaboration between COAR and GODAN. GODAN supports the proactive sharing of open datasets (and their packages) to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable in suitable digital repositories relying on syntactic and semantic standards, ensuring the greatest potential for use, innovation and knowledge transfer, while COAR has a global network of repositories that can help support the implementation of policies promoted by GODAN.

Pre- and Post- COAR meeting sessions (11, 14 April, 2016) were dedicated to participation activities of COAR Working and Interest Groups:

In particular, the Interest Group COAR Controlled Vocabularies presented its first output: COAR Resource Type Vocabulary for Open Access Repositories (v.1.1, multilingual) , as part of the COAR Controlled Vocabularies that will contribute to the Knowledge Base on the COAR site.

This SKOSified & linked data oriented vocabulary (edited and visualized with SKOSMOS) presents an evolutionary path towards improvement and alignment of current national and international (standardized) terminologies describing (along with repository metadata) research outputs and is going to optimize the advanced search of these latter.

COAR Resource Type Vocabulary is already successfully tested in EPrints and DSpace (University of Minho/RCAAP) environments.

The COAR Resource Type Vocabulary is currently being implemented in PHAIDRA International; the paper about it will be presented during the 20th International Conference on Electronic Publishing ELPUB, Göttingen, June 7 – 9, 2016.

COAR Resource Types as a SKOSified Vocabulary for Open Repositories will be presented during the 11th Annual Conference on Open Repositories, 13th – 16th June 2016.

Last but not least.

Kathleen Shearer and  Eloy Rodrigues (COAR Chairperson, University of Minho, Portugal)  have welcomed seven new COAR members.

There was a widespread feeling among all the COAR members that the time is ripe for a new collective effort to put OA repositories and researchers at the center of the scholarly communication landscape.

Moving to the “next generation repositories” will give back to researchers the responsibility for the validation and evaluation of their own work is now a top priority issue, and one that is meant to dramatically change the future of scholarly communication.

If you want to know more about the benefits of joining,

To stay informed about current COAR activities and events, you can freely access and consult the COAR annual reports, dissemination material and publications published on the COAR multilingual website.

COAR social media activities have been undertaken on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Vimeo.


Any questions left? See COAR FAQ.


On the AIMS portal you can read about various activities in which COAR is involved. Just start the search of the site content entering “COAR” in the AIMS search form!