“In January 2023, OpenAIRE, LIBER, SPARC Europe, and COAR launched a joint strategy aimed at strengthening the European repository network. As a first step, a survey of the European repository landscape was undertaken in February-March 2023. The survey found that, collectively, European repositories acquire, preserve and provide open access to tens or possibly hundreds of millions of valuable research outputs and represent critical, not-for-profit infrastructure in the European open science landscape. They are used for sharing articles that may be pay-walled in published journals, but also for providing access to a large variety of other types of research outputs including research data, theses/dissertations, conference papers, preprints, code, and so on.
However, in order to ensure the European repository network is fit for purpose and able to support the evolving needs of the research community, the survey also identified three areas in particular that could be strengthened: maintaining up-to-date, highly functioning software platforms; applying consistent and comprehensive good practices in terms of metadata, preservation, and usage statistics; and gaining appropriate visibility in the scholarly ecosystem.
Despite the challenges, the current climate offers exciting opportunities for repositories. Many funders are actively promoting the repository route for articles because of their role in supporting equitable access to content (i.e. no fees to access or deposit). The value proposition for open science is growing and repositories are increasingly recognised as the main mechanism for collecting and providing access to a wide range of other research outputs. Add to this, the nascent, but growing, interest in the publish-review-curate model in which repositories have a central function, and it seems they are well placed to expand their current role in the ecosystem.
The survey provides essential data that will help shape a joint strategy to enhance and strengthen European repositories that will be developed over the next several months.”