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Open Repositories 2014 Conference: Onwards & Upwards

From James Evans, Product Manager, Open Repositories

We've just returned from a busy week in Helsinki, attending the Open Repositories 2014 Conference along with approximately five hundred delegates & co-sponsors, including DuraSpace. We’d like to share our impressions of the event.

Advocacy and Open Data

From an advocacy perspective, Erin McKiernan gave a forthright keynote. As with her rousing address to the SPARC 2014 meeting in Kansas City, Dr McKiernan made another compelling case for researchers to be completely Open Access in publishing, and, to share open research data via institutional repositories or data repository services.


We were excited by a number of projects and initiatives in the repository-preservation sphere. Of particular interest were presentations and workshops relating to the curation of institutional research data, common identifier standards, and cross-platform interoperability. We were pleased to see discussion about ways to mitigate the duplication of development effort within and between repository platforms. There is now a plethora of research data storage services, complete with visualisation tools.

DSpace: Food for thought

Open Repository has confidence in DSpace as a solid repository platform-offering for our clients. As we evaluate the best solutions to deliver future repository services for our clients, the conference reaffirmed our view that DSpace needs to change at a faster pace in order to remain relevant as a repository solution in the medium and longer term.

In summary, our view is: DSpace should move quickly to a central development roadmap. Thereafter, reworking DSpace inside a modern development framework with leaner code will make it efficient, scalable, and more attractive to new developers. Beyond core functionality, new-feature development should be modular and requirements-based, rather than via ad-hoc contribution. Agile-based, test-driven processes are the best way to do platform development. Agreement on a unified User-Interface layer is also a priority. Modules should be installed & administered via more a more intuitive admin panel. We plan to set out our position on DSpace development in more detail over the coming weeks, and how we can contribute to it, via the Open Repository blog.

What can the open access community take from Open Repositories 2014?

‘Repositories’ -institutional, data, metadata, subject content or preservation- are no longer ‘a place where research goes to die’.  A web of interactive, interoperable platforms is enhancing and improving global scientific and other scholarly research. The energy and enthusiasm of those working to achieve this within the open access realm made for an informative and engaging conference.

Open Repository builds, hosts and customises enhanced, DSpace repositories for institutions worldwide, enabling the institution to focus on managing and developing content within their repository.