Open access of institutional repositories in Portugal

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Access to information and knowledge is essential for the growth of society. Digital mode of providing access to information is more preferred, convenient and a mean to provide to a wider audience. The scientific publications are often more restrictive and have high cost of subscription thus impeding the access to community. The cases where research is funded with public many, keeping access restricted or costly is not appropriate. Moreover, institution that build their own repositories and not working towards opening up institutional research knowledge for benefit or further research are obstructing collective progress.


The answer to these problems is open access, where institutional repositories, websites and journals are given access free of charge and online. Disseminating information and results of research must be considered part of the process in general. In Europe, this movement has led to the pilot project for Open Access from European Commission and the guidelines for European Research Council.

“RCAAP provides open interface for the community through public APIs. It has integration with funder (FCT) and other national systems.”

In Portugal,Open Access initiative started with Universito of Minho forming institutional repository RespositoriUM in 2003, the definition of archiving policy in 2004 and Open Access forum in 2005. By 2008, many institutions has created repositories of their own and open policy had been developed. In December 2008, national initiative on open access was launched – the Scientific Open Access Repository of Portugal (RCAAP). Since then a remarkable progress has been made in facilitating and adopting open access by:

  • Expanding significantly network of repositories of academic and research institutions
  • Building an extensive portfolio of electronic services freeing the institutions to carry out core activities.
  • Increasing and mobilizing the academic community, 
  • Training and developing national and international partnerships

Portuguese Current Research Information System (PTCRIS)


PTCRIS is a program, officially initiated in May 2014, which aims to ensure the creation and sustained development of a national integrated information ecosystem, to support research management according to the best international standards and practices. One of PTCRIS’ goals is to reduce the burden of research output management, by adopting an “input once, re-use often” principle. 


PTCRISync is a synchronization framework developed in this context. A brief overview of PTCRISync is provided in below video.



Trustworthy preservation of digital object in institutional repositories


In 2015, RCAAP concluded an audit aimed at assessing the compliance level of institutional repository hosting services with reference standard – ISO 16363:2012 (Audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories). The audit assesses the level of maturity of repositories of SARI network in 2 phases. In first phase, repository managers undertook organization structure self assessment for each requirement of ISO16363:2012. In second phase, assessment of Digital Object Management was undertaken. Other aspects of audit were infrastructure and security assessments. The final audit result revealed high level of compliance with standard requirements and adhering to well developed infratstructure & security requirements for the preservation of digital objects.

Further Readings

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