Setting the scene for a sustainable national repository network in Serbia

Biljana Kosanovic - University of Belgrade Computer Centre, TRAP, Milica Ševkušić - Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA, Vasilije Rajović and Nenad Popović - University of Belgrade Computer Centre, TRAP

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Serbian research community faces a major delay in the development of the national and institutional infrastructure for open science. To mitigate this, the University of Belgrade Computer Centre (RCUB) undertook to develop an interoperable, sustainable and affordable software and organizational model suitable for Serbian research organizations. The solution rests on the following pillars:

  • a customized software platform based on DSpace: a separate instance installed for each organization (so far, a dozen and growing), all of them hosted, centrally maintained and further developed by RCUB;
  • a set of tools and external applications developed to improve DSpace functionalities and respond to users’ needs (e.g. performing automated maintenance tasks, assigning ORCIDs, metadata normalization, massive metadata import, monitoring Altmetric scores, creating author profiles);
  • standardized workflows and quality control;
  • integration of repositories in international infrastructures; 
  • flexible technical support and training for repository managers and users.

In this model, the compliance with the OpenAIRE Guidelines for Literature Repositories v.3 is of paramount importance because the OpenAIRE infrastructure is heavily used, as there is no national system for tracking research outputs (e.g. CRIS). Apart from OpenAIRE, the repository content is harvested by BASE, Unpaywall, CORE and WorldCat. The platform is optimized for Google Scholar crawlers.
Users are encouraged to deposit content types other than conventional research publications, and additional customizations are made, if necessary, to enable this (e.g. for spatial plans).
Positive results are already apparent, the most important being:

  • an increased visibility of Serbian research outputs, especially in humanities;
  • 90–100% of deposits in humanities are OA;
  • fairly high percentage of full-text content in repositories (75% on average);
  • growing awareness in the local research community of repositories’ potential in scholarly communication.

Priorities for further development include upgrading to DSpace 7 and compliance with OpenAIRE Guidelines v.4.

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