Open Scholar participates in an initiative led by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) to develop a model for overlay peer review on repositories. This model builds on previous work by the Next Generation Repositories working group. The group was assembled in 2017 to define new behaviours and innovations aiming to position institutional repositories at the center of a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication.
The proposed model presents standardised vocabularies and notification protocols to achieve common interactions between repositories and overlay peer review services. Interactions are defined mostly by the exchange of references to the stable URIs of resources hosted in repositories. This means that a request for the review of a specific resource (e.g., a preprint article in a repository) can be sent as a notification that carries the resource’s URI to the inbox of a review service. The review service can then retrieve the resource that is to be reviewed by visiting that stable URI and applying some simple standards-based navigational conventions (e.g., retrieve the full text of a preprint, automatically, from having accessed a landing page describing it). Generally, this means that it becomes possible to invoke and use remote services on the distributed repository network, by passing instructions together with URIs identifying particular resources.
A document describing workflow components and standard vocabularies based on specific use cases is open for comment at COAR’s website: //comments.coar-repositories.org
We invite the community to read and comment on the proposed model or submit new use cases that are not covered by the existing workflows and vocabularies.
The present work is a significant step towards the development of a highly distributed architecture for overlay services that takes us beyond the current landscape with many silos, in which every organisation maintains its own separate system, to a decentralised, global, interoperable, scholarly infrastructure. This model can scale, respond to different needs and priorities related to language, region, and discipline, and has the potential to liberate scholarly communication from the short-sighted interests of private groups and organisations.