Next generation repositories: Scaling up repositories to a global knowledge commons

Shearer, Kathleen; Rodrigues, Eloy; Bollini, Andrea; Cabezas, Alberto; Castelli, Donatella; Carr, Les; Chan, Leslie; Humphrey, Chuck; Johnson, Rick; Knoth, Petr; Manghi, Paolo; Matizirofa, Lazarus; Perakakis, Pandelis; Schirrwagen, Jochen; Smith, Tim; Van de Sompel, Herbert; Walk, Paul; Wilcox, David and Yamaji, Kazu (2016). Next generation repositories: Scaling up repositories to a global knowledge commons. In: Open Repositories 2018, 4-6 Jun 2018.


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.

The Next Generation Repositories offers an alternative vision, “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. This is very much is aligned with others strategic thinking, 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. However, to achieve this vision, we need to adopt new functionalities and technologies in repositories and build additional services such as standardized usage metrics, peer review and social networking on top of them. The Next Generation Repositories report provides recommendations for these new behaviours and technologies to move the vision forward. There are already several groups actively working on the adoption of these technologies and services, including OpenAIRE, National Institute of Informatics (Japan) and a US Implementers Group facilitated led by COAR.

This paper will present the vision for next generation repositories, provide an overview of the conceptual model including the role of libraries and hubs that will offer services to the network of repositories. In addition, we will provide an overview of current activities to put the next generation repositories infrastructure and services in place.

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