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Repository handshake

Page history last edited by Alma Swan 13 years, 11 months ago


Repository Handshake – Extending An Open Hand

Action Plan for International Coordination


See the project blog for news of developments.


Document information

Version: 1.0





The scope of this activity/strand is broad, on all (digital) materials of scholarly interest but the focus is on research papers/articles.  There is relation with the three other strands: a dependence upon that for identifiers (and other sources of authority); a response to the requirements of citation (and other services supported by repositories); the relation with the organisational framework is unclear at the time of writing.  The overall time horizon is two to three years but this should be a multi-phase activity, with Phase 1 being rapid engagement over a six month period. The essential characteristic is that is international in scope, important both for understanding and securing agreement for enabling actions.



The ‘handshake’ is not just that of technical interoperability, it also requires understanding of variety of business processes (or domain specific workflows) which represent ‘a deposit opportunity’.  The metaphor of the handshake is used to motivate mutual expectation of benefit. The driver is on achieving more content, with better quality metadata (particularly that which covers identification and availability), in ways that make deposit easier and rewarding. 



The initial scoping uncovered 8 deposit opportunities (use cases), which map on to different business processes from which there is prospect of prompting and assisting deposit of eprints (and potentially other scholarly work) into the repository space. One of these, the multi-authored paper, triggers the contrast that is made between a ‘one-time’ deposit into the repository space and ‘sharing’ within the repository space. These include processes within the repository space to alert and assist transfer/access across multiple repositories (in this use case of multiple Institutional Repositories) – the ‘appropriate repository’ problem. An incomplete list of other deposit opportunities include: institutionally-assisted deposit (typically from CRIS systems but also research group activity); grant-funded mandated deposit, with requirement for award referencing; deposit from publishers as OA services for authors; assisted deposit as part of desktop authoring applications).  



The intention in Phase 1 (the initial six month engagement) is to prioritise attention on two to three of these deposit opportunities for development as real life exemplars drawn from contrasting international, disciplinary and institutional contexts as part of constructing an inventory of these ‘deposit/put’ use cases. This will be used to motivate two sorts of gap analysis, of understanding and of extant component/facility. Infrastructure components, such as OpenDOAR and identity deduction systems (or full blown authentication), potentially as web services, provide means to assist the deposit process. Use of extant, and authoritative metadata, especially for identification, as well as the means of reference to IP/copyright policy.



Deliverables include the construction and availability of an inventory of deposit opportunity use cases; known facilities that can assist success in such cases; the results of the gap analyses as a report; scoping and proposal for work for experimentation, and potentially canonical model agreement, on use and extension of supporting standards, and of facilities that assist successful actions to take advantage of deposit opportunities.  The end product being that such deposit under terms of open access has instrumental value (more content, better metadata; easier and rewarding deposit) and the end value of exposure of authors work for wider readership and impact.    



The funding for this activity should in the first instance, and for Phase 1, be enabling of international engagement.  Access to funds locally, at institutional or national level, is highly variable and this should be addressed.  This is especially the case for travel, subsistence and organisational support that is envisaged for Phase 1. In rare case this may also be required for the investment of time but this has not been investigated.









Establish working group including major interested parties (eg SWORD and ORE teams; publishers, PMC and other repository platforms; Repository Junction…)



Phase 1




Refine prioritised ‘deposit opportunities’ use cases, and the others where time permits



Phase 1




Describe use case as real-life exemplars; analyse them; find what’s common and what’s specific to each



Phase 1




Gap analysis to allow tools and mechanisms needed to enact use cases



Phase 1




Identify willing and able partners to test one or two preferred use cases



As outcome from Phase 1.







For Phase 2, beyond September 2009



Key questions

  1. Can we reach common understanding of the variety of workflows by which the works of authors become available (published?)for discovery and use by readers
  2. Does this action plan describe the key work that needs to be done to realise the benefits?
  3. Is anything missing?
  4. What are the priorities?
  5. What roles and responsibilities might there be for local institutions, national infrastructure, international agencies, disciplinary organisations, etc?




  1. Shared knowledge of the points of contact that repositories, or their common facilities, need to have with the life history of an eprint
  2. Protocol(s) and other mechanisms whereby research papers transfer to repositories appropriately with minimal human intervention
  3. Appropriate implementation of these protocols and other mechanisms




We aim to scope this action plan is about improving ways in which repositories can be populated with research papers (with identification metadata of sufficient quality) from a range of sources. Those sources include authors (or their agents), other repositories, publisher platforms (and other online services) and institutional research management systems. The ‘handshake’ refers to the basis of inter-working and the form of interoperability. This implies negotiation between depositing agent and repository (repositories) that enables papers more easily to get into the appropriate repositories. Work to support those negotiations, building on SWORD, includes establishing the terms and protocols for the negotiation, for transfer of eprint, metadata and authority.



It also includes all opportunities for assisting deposit of the eprint of scholarly work, situating author self-archiving  within the context in which knowledge of that scholarly work becomes known. Examples include the research ‘project’, whether in research group (and its bibliography) or institutional setting, the simple author-publisher interaction, researcher/funder interaction, publisher’s engagement , A&I, and other repositories (subject and institutional) with copy of interest to one another. 



This work is necessarily international, as is scholarship, based upon institutional and national activity (both to gain  leverage and to enable). We cannot presume single authorship, nor co-authorship from single institutions or countries. Whilst seeking simplicity, and addressing the simple case of actual deposit by an author (or agent, such as co-worker in the same research group, say) of the eprint (with identifying metadata of sufficient quality) into an easily found appropriate (institutional) repository, the test should be against the multi-authored, multi-institutional, multi-national eprint. It is in the international interest to assist those in other nations.




International coordination to support effective deposit across many scenarios will enable:

-         Researchers/authors to allow ready access to their papers over the web, with confidence that they are complying with relevant policies

-         publishers and repository managers to propagate research papers to other systems easily and appropriately

-         research managers or funders to have better (easier, more effective) compliance with policies on open access, maximising impact of the research they fund

-         librarians and other support staff to build innovative services over an expanded corpus of open access materials, to improve the ways in which papers are discovered, accessed and used




See Alma’s briefing materials:






Comments (2)

Alma Swan said

at 4:08 pm on May 8, 2009

pcastro@bib.csic.es said

at 4:34 pm on Apr 19, 2010

The SONEX workgroup (Scholarly Output Notification and Exchange) is managing the development of the Repository Handshake strand by: (i) identifying and analysing deposit opportunities (usecases) for ingest of research papers into the repository space, and (ii) locating and disseminating various projects being developed at institutions in relation to previously analysed deposit usecases. For further info on the Sonex works see http://sonexworkgroup.blogspot.com/

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