Aquatic Commons Evaluation

Dear IAMSLIC members and affiliated partners,

In a few weeks, you will receive an invitation to participate in a survey about the future of Aquatic Commons. We will seek feedback from those who have used or contributed to Aquatic Commons, OceanDocs or other repositories. In preparation for the survey, here is a brief history of Aquatic Commons and the rationale for conducting an evaluation.

The IAMSLIC Aquatic Commons repository was first proposed in 2005 as a means for smaller institutions and research organizations without sufficient technical support to make their digital publications available online. The repository, which launched in 2007 using the EPrints software, was initially hosted by the Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA) but was moved to IOC’s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme in 2011 when FCLA faced budgetary issues.

Aquatic Commons has grown to a repository of over 20,000 publications from more than 90 different organizations. In partnership with IODE and FAO-ASFA, IAMSLIC has improved access to grey literature and legacy documents, and provided a way for institutions to showcase their literature. However, the repository landscape has now shifted: more IAMSLIC members maintain institutional repositories; other repository options exist for publications or datasets (e.g. OceanDocs, MarXiv Papers, Zenodo, Dryad, Pangaea); and the DSpace software is more widely used than EPrints.

The Aquatic Commons Board, which oversees the repository, recognized that the future sustainability of Aquatic Commons was a critical issue and recommended to the IAMSLIC Executive Board that an evaluation be done. The newly formed Aquatic Commons Evaluation (ACE) team identified and investigated four new business models, looking for ways to collaborate with our existing IODE and FAO-ASFA partners, reduce duplication of effort for those involved in both Aquatic Commons and OceanDocs (e.g. depositors, editors, steering groups), and streamline IT support and development for the software.

The upcoming survey will solicit your input on the four proposed business models. Survey results, combined with additional feedback gathered from key stakeholders, will be presented at the 45th IAMSLIC Annual Conference in October, and will provide direction to the IAMSLIC Executive Board on the Aquatic Commons repository and future access to aquatic sciences literature.

Sally Taylor, on behalf of the Aquatic Commons Evaluation team: Stephen Alayon, Ingrid Čatić, Angela Clark-Hughes, Maria Kalentsits, Lisa Raymond, Amanda Whitmire.

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