Today I signed JISC up as a founder member of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories, COAR (interim website here). There are members from North America, China, Japan, as well as Europe, and eIFL.net, so Norbert Lossau and Dale Peters from the DRIVER project, who have done the initial set-up work, are to be congratulated on getting us this far. For the remainder of 2009 you can still join COAR for the very reasonable price of 100 euros. The fees thereafter have not yet been set, but are likely to be higher, especially for members from rich countries.
The aim of COAR is “to enhance and progress the provision, visibility and application of research outputs through global networks of Open Access digital repositories”. This is clearly a key aim of JISC too, and so we are very pleased to be a founding member.
So, why might you want to join, especially when it’s not yet clear exactly what COAR will be doing in practical terms? I think that may be a good reason; early members will have a chance to shape the organisation’s direction and initial objectives. I’ll be honest and say that is one of the reasons that JISC has joined now, apart from strongly supporting the organisation’s aim of course.
To give you a flavour of the anticipated direction, key words in the discussion seemed to be interoperability, raising awareness, promoting OA and repositories, support for the repository community, and working with partners in closely related fields (research management and publishing, to name but two). What that will mean in practical terms, we have yet to see.
There was an extended discussion at the meeting about who can join COAR. If you’re interested though, I suggest you email Dale Peters .