Inclusion is Key: Supporting COAR in “Data Repository Selection: Criteria that Matter”


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FAIRsharing Community, a group of representatives from (mainly) publishers and scholarly communication organizations, have published a set of criteria for the identification and selection to guide authors in terms of where they should deposit their data. The aim of the document is to make the implementation of research data policies more efficient and consistent, to help improve approaches to data sharing through the promotion data repositories who meet the criteria. While advice on adoption of best practices is a worthy and necessary effort, there have been some concern expressed in the repository community about the requirements contained in the 'Data Repository Selection: Criteria that Matter'.

Different projects and initiatives, such as COAR, who brought together many of the requirements – assessed and validated them with a range of repository types and across regions – resulting in the publication of the COAR Community Framework for Best Practices in Repositories, have been looking at requirements for repositories before. However, there is a risk that if repository requirements are set very high or applied strictly, then only a few well-resourced repositories will be able to fully comply. It is to prevent this that COAR expressed their concern about the criteria set out in “Data Repository Selection: Criteria that Matter”.

OpenAIRE supports COAR's Response to "Data Repository Selection: Criteria that Matter " sharing its concern for exclusion of repositories based on a set of criteria which will weaken the repository ecosystem because the criteria proposed are not yet supported by most data repositories, and they are also too narrowly defined missing some very important considerations.

In particular, OpenAIRE is concerned about:

  • The counterproductivity to set strict criteria which are not currently met by many in the repository network, this can only foster exclusion and weaken the diversity of the Open Science ecosystem
  • A hard line on data curation being done by the repository is unrealistic.  While this is a worthy goal it should not be a yes/no situation because of the cost which may exclude new or smaller repositories hindering innovation and Open Science practices.
  • Introducing a new scale for the life cycle status of the repository is unnecessary since this should be an established technology readiness level rather than a criteria.
  • Data preservation policy should be present but it’s unnecessary to bring it up to the level of credible policy if lack of resources doesn’t allow for it.

OpenAIRE undersigns COAR's notion that “our collective goal should be to develop a sustainable, distributed, and interoperable repository network that can support researchers around the world in managing and sharing their data. To achieve this, we need to work with and strengthen existing services, not disqualify them.”

If you’d like to support the COAR response publicly, you can do so via the website: COAR Office

COAR, Repositors

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