The Netherlands is one of the leaders in the development of research repositories. Research repositories are digital systems in which research universities and universities of applied sciences can store their research results and make them available to the public as far as possible. Such repositories are becoming increasingly important as a means of ensuring access to research results, both now and in the future. Institutions upload material produced by their researchers to the institutional repository, i.e. a database that anyone interested can consult on the Internet. This prevents that knowledge being “locked away” in commercial databases. The information also becomes much easier to trace by using international standards for the descriptive metadata for each publication.
Storing research results in a repository offers many advantages:
- Visibility is increased because publications cannot be found only via the publisher – and in many cases only if one has taken out a subscription or licence – but also on the institution’s website, via the Dutch web portal NARCIS, or the European “DRIVER Information Space”. Google Scholar also derives publications from the repositories.
- Material uploaded to a repository is automatically stored for the long term in the e-Depot at the National Library of the Netherlands, where it is available for use by future generations.
- Information that is stored and made accessible digitally is consulted for a longer period and cited more frequently.
- A wide range of services can be provided on the basis of the material in a repository; for example, a personal homepage can be created or a portal dealing with a particular topic.
- People can also access the material that has been researched, described, and stored in a repository without needing to take out a subscription to a scientific/scholarly periodical (something that is becoming increasingly expensive).
More information on the European repository landscape can be read in 'Three Perspectives on the Evolving Infrastructure of Institutional Research Repositories in Europe', Ariadne Magazine (nr. 59, April 2009) by Marjan Vernooy-Gerritsen (SURFfoundation), Gera Pronk and Maurits van der Graaf.
DARE and SHARE programme
Work towards a shared knowledge infrastructure in the Netherlands began in 2003 with the SURF programme Digital Academic Repositories (DARE). This programme focused mainly on making scientific/scholarly publications accessible. The follow-up programme, SURFshare (2007-2010), goes further and will not only make final publications available but also the underlying data and semi-finished products such as visualisations, algorithms, etc., i.e. enhanced publications. The repositories will be adapted and structured in such a way that they can contain such enhanced publications.