November 17, 2022; updated April 6, 2023
The U.S. Repository Network (USRN, or the Network) Action Plan 2022-2023 is guided by the community-developed strategic vision for U.S. repositories and a set of foundational characteristics.
An interoperable network of repositories is an essential component of our national research infrastructure, offering rapid and open access to research, and plays a crucial role in collective efforts to transform global research communications, leading to a more open, inclusive, and equitable system.
The Network is also cognizant of the opportunities of the moment with the release of the August 2022 memorandum on “Ensuring Free, Immediate and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research.”
The USRN is envisioned as an inclusive community committed to advancing repositories in the U.S. In this context, “U.S. repositories” refers to all open research repositories based in the U.S. regardless of content, host, or platform. That is, repositories containing articles, data, gray literature, and emerging forms of scholarship; repositories hosted by higher education institutions, research centers, or other nonprofit organizations; and repositories using open source or vended platforms, are considered to be part of this network. All such repositories will be welcome to participate in the USRN.
To fulfill the vision, the USRN has the following objectives.
- Provide a national voice for the distributed network of U.S. repositories,
- Advocate for the role of a distributed network of repositories in our national research infrastructure,
- Further strengthen the distributed network of repositories in the U.S., and
- Collaborate with policy makers and funders to transform research communications
The U.S. Repository Network Steering Group has identified the following three main areas of action for 2022-2023. Though work in each area will be ongoing, there is necessarily a need for short-, medium-, and long-term action.
- Short-Term: Engage OSTP and federal funding agencies (Objective 3, 4)
- Medium-Term: Develop network governance model (Objective 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Long-Term: Build community and external relationships (Objective 1, 2, 3)
Engage OSTP and Federal Funding Agencies
The release of the August 2022 memorandum on “Ensuring Free, Immediate and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research” offers an immediate opportunity to engage with OSTP and federal funding agencies and to advocate on behalf of the U.S. Repository Network. The entry point for this advocacy will be the development of “desirable characteristics of, and best practices for sharing in, online digital publication repositories.” These characteristics are expected to be analogous to the NSTC’s “Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research.” The Network will seek to work with the OSTP to define an appropriate set of desirable characteristics and best practices for repositories that support their public access guidance. At the same time, USRN will seek to raise awareness of the benefits of a distributed network, based at universities and research centers, in supporting compliance with forthcoming policies.
Assisting repositories in adopting good practices and standards was also among the highest priorities for action in the Network’s initial community consultation phase. Shared practices and standards will serve to strengthen the distributed network of U.S. repositories.
- Send a letter to OSTP on behalf of the U.S. Repository Network [Co-Chairs]
- Draft desirable characteristics and best practices to support OSTP requirements for repositories providing public access to federally funded research [Program Officer & Working Group]
- Share USRN’s desirable characteristics of publication repositories with OSTP, the NSTC Subcommittee on Open Science, and federal funding agencies [Co-Chairs & Support Team]
- Advocate for adoption of the desirable characteristics and the inclusion of the distributed repository network in the implementation of public access guidance [ALL]
- USRN Letter to OSTP (submitted 10/27/2022)
- Desirable Characteristics of Digital Publication Repositories, Version 1.0 (approved by USRN Steering Group, 3/31/2023)
Develop a Network Governance Model
Ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the U.S. Repository Network as a community-driven initiative is essential. This requires the creation of a community governance structure for the Network.
- Investigate and recommend governance model(s) [USRN Co-Chairs & Support Team]
- Review recommended governance model(s) with an equity lens [Working Group]
- Seek Steering Group approval of recommended governance model [Co-Chairs & Support Team]
- Develop an implementation process for the approved governance structure [Co-Chairs & Support Team]
- Establish a framework for continual assessment of USRN work to ensure we are centering our foundational characteristics [Working Group]
Build Community and External Relationships
Success in this work requires a community invested in actively moving the strategic vision for U.S. repositories forward. The USRN will work to identify and build relationships with potential partners in addition to increasing awareness of and participation in the Network by the U.S. repository community.
- Develop internal and external communications and outreach strategies for USRN [Working Group]
- Proactively promote USRN work externally through the Steering Group members and their relationships [Steering Group]
- Design and launch a community of practice for U.S. repository managers [Working Group]
- Raise awareness of the USRN and advocate for adoption of the distributed U.S. repository network as a compliance mechanism for funder policies, particularly with federal funding agencies [Co-Chairs & Support Team, Steering Group]
- Continuously cultivate relationships with other external organizations invested in strengthening repositories as scholarly communication infrastructure [Co-Chairs & Support Team, Steering Group]