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.
Repositories are key institutional tools that ensure access to and reuse of valuable research outputs. They support preservation; facilitate reproducibility of research, research assessment, and compliance workflows; afford new opportunities for publishing; and increase individual and institutional visibility. By enabling rapid and open access to research outputs, repositories accelerate the pace of scholarship and the social impact of research for the public good.
Acting collectively, repository hosts can leverage their power to strengthen repositories and interact with other types of services, adding value and leading to significant innovation in the landscape.
The U.S. Repository Network (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.
The USRN will embody the key concepts within the vision, combining both human and technical aspects of a network, and rooted in the following foundational characteristics. The USRN will act as a lightweight, community-owned framework to facilitate the collaboration necessary to move repository hosts toward fulfilling the strategic vision for U.S. repositories. SPARC, with support from COAR, will work with the USRN to develop a national strategy for the repository network and create an action plan. In the long term, the USRN will allow the U.S. to participate more fully in the global repository network and collaborate with other organizations throughout the national and international scholarly communication landscape.
The U.S. Repository Network will be rooted in the following foundational characteristics and support U.S. repositories in achieving them. These characteristics align with FAIR and CARE.
Accessible. Repositories in the network will adhere to accessibility standards for both user interfaces and content.
Collaborative. The success of the repository network will require committed collaboration among repositories and their host institutions.
Community governed. The repository network will be governed by the community it serves.
Discoverable. Repositories in the network will ensure that content is easily discoverable both inside and outside of repository user interfaces.
Equitable and Inclusive. Collectively, the repository network will enable greater equity and inclusivity for all producers and consumers of research.
Flexible. Repositories and the repository network will adapt to and support the continually changing needs and practices of scholars across all disciplines.
Interoperable. Repositories in the network will adopt standards that allow interoperability across repositories and with value-added services.
Local and Global. By advancing institutional needs while also collaborating, repositories in the network will simultaneously address local, national, and global needs.
Preservation. Repositories in the network will follow digital preservation standards to ensure the long-term availability of their content.
Sustainable. Repositories and the repository network will be positioned for long-term sustainability through stable institutional funding, staffing, and technical infrastructure and the establishment of transparency in governance, policies, and practices.
Transparent. Repositories and the repository network will be transparent in their policies and practices.
User-centered design. Repositories in the network will employ well managed and easily used workflows and user interfaces through the application of universal design principles.
COAR and SPARC developed the strategic vision and foundational characteristics through extensive consultation with the community. The strategic vision encompasses key concepts that emerged during community consultation including collaboration, discoverability, interoperability, and preservation and includes the following elements:
- Repositories are essential components of the national research infrastructure.
- Repositories ensure a more equitable and inclusive landscape.
- Repositories are key institutional tools to support the mission of disseminating research.
- Repositories ensure research outputs are discoverable, visible, and accessible for future use.
- Repositories present an opportunity for new and innovative modes of publishing.