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DRIVER: Networking European Scientific Repositories

An international partnership has started work on a project to build a large-scale public infrastructure for research information across Europe.

The “Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research” (DRIVER) project responds to the vision that any form of scientific-content resource, including scientific/technical reports, research articles, experimental or observational data, rich media and other digital objects should be freely accessible through simple Internet-based infrastructures. Like GEANT2, the successful European network for computing resources, data storage and transport, the new DRIVER repository infrastructure will enable researchers to plug into the new knowledge base and use scientific content in a standardised, open way. The project is funded by the European Commission under the auspices of the “Research Infrastructure” unit.

Open Access to research information is vital for researchers and helps the public appreciation and understanding of science. DRIVER will be helping countries to create networks of openly-accessible repositories for research information.

The project is a joint collaboration between ten international partners with the intention to create a knowledge base of European research. DRIVER will put a test-bed in place across Europe to assist the development of a knowledge infrastructure for the European Research Area. The project will develop over the next 18 months, building upon existing institutional repositories and networks, from countries including the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium and the UK. The aim is for one large-scale virtual content resource to be created to access and integrate individual repositories. DRIVER will also prepare for the future expansion and upgrade of the Digital Repository infrastructure across Europe and will ensure the widest possible user involvement.

Several user services, including search, data collection, profiling and recommendation, will be implemented in the test-bed. DRIVER will demonstrate the potential of a future pan-European Digital Repository service to researchers, research-funding agencies and institutions. Availability of such a basic scientific content infrastructure should encourage academic and/or non-academic service providers to build high-valued and innovative services on top of it.

Early in the project, the current state of repositories in Europe will be reported followed by professional guides on topics like technical standards, data curation and others.

Interested partners and potential user groups will be contacted and workshops will be run to establish communication and to create an active environment for repository development in each European country. The workshops will also act as open forums for discussion and feedback to assist the development of the infrastructure and will facilitate the set-up and international networking of institutional repositories for the envisioned European DR infrastructure.

Eric Goettmann | alfa
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