International repository networks reinforce their aim to develop a global, open access knowledge commons

For a second year in a row, major open access repository networks have met to develop closer ties and further align their expanding repository networks. The meeting, organized by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), was held on April 16, 2015 in Porto, Portugal and included representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Amidst the intensifying global debate about the most sustainable ways to implement open access and research infrastructures, meeting participants reinforced their aim to foster solutions that reflect the diversity of approaches and capacities across different regions.

Repository networks are being developed around the world to support open access to research outputs. However, given the truly international and collaborative nature of research, these networks must be connected and aligned around issues such as policy, standards and services. At the meeting, delegates shared updates about their local networks. Many networks have evolved significantly over the last year and are now in a better position to collaborate more deeply. The group also reviewed the progress of the aligning repository networks activities since their meeting last year. Specific outcomes from the previous year’s work include the publication of a joint statement against embargo periods, the launch of a technical working group seeking to harmonize open access elements and metadata schemas, and improved visibility of repository networks worldwide.

Participants also discussed priorities for further aligning their networks for the coming year. Activities will include closer cooperation around the development of guidelines and tools, and several bilateral collaborations between networks were suggested. In addition, it was agreed that a communication strategy be developed to continue to raise the visibility of repository networks as key infrastructure components. Support was also expressed for further engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders to ensure adoption of balanced open access policies.

COAR will work with the community to accomplish these activities in the coming year. A full list of participants and a report about the meeting will be available soon on the COAR website.