The DSpace Steering Group strongly recommends that the DSpace 7 data model should be expanded to support new object types (entities) to provide the following immediate benefits: alignment with the COAR Next Generation Repositories recommendations (especially around identifiers, e.g. ORCID), compliance with OpenAIRE v4 guidelines, and ensuring that DSpace stays current and competitive with other repository solutions in the landscape while being interoperable with existing research information systems.
In order to achieve this, the Steering Group recommends adopting a flexible, configurable data model which allows existing DSpace institutions to choose whether to enable new (out-of-the-box) entities in their system. The solution should initially concentrate on entities required to meet OpenAIRE v4 guidelines, while also allowing institutions to create/design additional entities to meet other use cases. The solution should be built incrementally (over several releases), so as to not adversely affect the DSpace upgrade process. The end result should be a system that supports configurable entities in its data model, as this will allow for DSpace to be adapted/extended for additional use cases. However, in order to stay true to the goals described in the DSpace 2015-18 Strategic Plan, DSpace should avoid becoming too specific to a single repository use case. Instead, a goal of configurable entities should be to allow third-party extensions or add-ons to extend the DSpace data model for specific use cases. One example may be DSpace-CRIS, a widely adopted DSpace extension to support CRIS use cases. Configurable entities should allow for such extensions to be more easily installed/maintained in out-of-the-box DSpace.
For the reasons stated above, the Steering Group recommends the new data model be based on the Option #3 proposal (see DSpace Entities Overview / Discussion document), where Entities are proposed as an extension of the Item model. The creation of this new model should be coordinated by DuraSpace / DSpace Steering, and be developed in collaboration with the global DSpace community. By doing so, the configurable entities will be a transparent and inclusively developed model ensuring that DSpace is able to face the new challenges and address the needs and requirements of its global community.
We welcome the DSpace community’s involvement and support going forward, and it will be incorporated as opportunities arise.