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OR2023 Call for Proposals

The 18th International Open Repositories Conference (OR2023) will be held from 12-15 June 2023 at the Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, close to Stellenbosch, South Africa.

We are pleased to invite you to contribute to the programme. The theme for the conference is Repositories unlocked for discovery and interoperability. 

OR2023 provides an opportunity to explore and reflect on the ways repositories enable discoverability and interoperability of information and data within the structured web of data. How can we better utilize repositories for machine interoperability? How can we develop the capacity of institutions to implement sustainable open repositories to improve data equity worldwide? In doing so the OR2023 conference will focus on the practices of the international repositories community to develop and implement the standards, frameworks, architectures, and methodologies for open repositories to serve as knowledge representation databases for the structured web of data.

We particularly welcome proposals aligned to the overall theme, but also on other administrative, organisational, or practical topics related to digital repositories. We are interested in the following sub-themes:

1.     Unbiased discovery of knowledge: Open repositories facilitating the unbiased discovery of indigenous knowledge.

2.     Sustainable development: Linking open repositories content to the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

3.     Linked data: Integration with other open knowledge resources (e.g. Wikimedia and Wikidata).

4.     Trust in the machine: Integrating repository content with the semantic web of data using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) knowledge representation language.

5.      Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS): Taxonomies and ontologies in open repositories to enhance the discoverability of data.

6.      Integrating content: Novel or complex formats, data types and sources.

7.      Repositioning repositories: Next-gen repositories, the Pubfair framework and new models.

Please visit the Call for Proposals page to learn more about the sub-themes and submission categories of the conference, including a full list of submission templates and key dates for submission deadlines and approvals.

The deadline for submissions is 15 January 2023.

We look forward to the vibrant conversations and learning opportunities of the conference.

Please see the registration fees on the Registration page (registration will open in March 2023).

Programme Co-Chairs:

  • Ilkay Holt, British Library
  • Mimi Seyffert-Wirth, Stellenbosch University
  • Wouter Klapwijk, Stellenbosch University


For the Open Repositories Steering Committee:

Claire Knowles and Torsten Reimer

Call for new Steering Committee Members

Nominations are open for new members

The Open Repositories Steering Committee (ORSC) is pleased to announce that we are opening nominations for standing members to join the OR Steering Committee.

ORSC manages the annual Open Repositories conference and consists of 12 standing members (who serve three-year terms) as well as the chairs of the host and program committees for the annual conferences.

We are inviting nominations, including self-nominations. The nomination deadline is July 30th 2022.

Information about potential nominees

Nominees should have participated in at least one previous OR conference, ideally have been a member of a program or host committee for an OR conference, and have extensive experience with repositories and the international repository community. 

Some type of experience with the Open Repositories conference is necessary to join the ORSC.

ORSC members are expected to take part in a range of activities throughout the year, as well as those specifically related to the conference.

There is more information about the ORSC and expectations of members in our membership policy.

Examples of member activities include:

  • Regular attendance at OR if at all possible. We note that for some potential members this can be difficult due to cost, travel, and schedules; the OR SC cannot provide funding for members to attend.
  • Participating in the majority of the monthly committee meetings, including the in-person meeting that takes place at the conference every year.
  • Participation in ad hoc or standing committees (e.g. Scholarship, Code of Conduct, Finance, etc.).
  • Serving specific conference roles such as Program Chair or Poster Chair.
  • Reflecting OR news and announcements (e.g. Calls for Papers, Expressions of Interest) via mailing lists and through social media.
  • Timely participation in all discussions, in-person and online.
  • Reviewing conference proposals and submissions.
  • Reviewing conference host bids.
  • Selecting new standing members for the ORSC.

We strongly recommend that potential nominees refer to the conference handbook for more information about the role of the ORSC.

Submitting a nomination

When submitting a nomination (and self-nominations are welcome) you will be asked to submit the following information:

  1. Personal information: name, email, institution affiliation, and a brief description of the nominee’s role.
  2. An indication that your nominee has attended at least one OR in the previous four years.
  3. Statement of interest, e.g. why the nominee wants to join the Steering Committee.
  4. Statement of qualifications, e.g. what specific experiences the nominee would bring to the Steering Committee.

Link to the nomination form.


  • The nomination deadline is July 30th 2022. 
  • The OR Steering Committee will elect new members in August 2022.
  • Successful new members will be expected to join the ORSC in September 2022 for a three-year period.

Any questions

If you have questions about the OR Steering Committee, please feel free to contact any of the current standing members or to reach out to the Chair, Claire Knowles and Vice-Chair, Torsten Reimer.

Statement on the invasion of Ukraine

Open Repositories has always been about bringing together people from across the world to support each other, develop solutions that benefit all and enable an open exchange of ideas based on democratic values. Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion does not only cause untold suffering to the people of Ukraine, it is aimed at destroying the values we as a community hold dear.

It has also affected us directly, with Ukrainian members of our community being attacked alongside other civilians in Ukraine. Iryna Kuchma, a long-standing member of OR and former program co-chair, has shared tweets about missile attacks. Our thoughts are with her, all members of our community and everyone under attack. Iryna has called to the community to make donations to help civilians who are suffering, and we are joining her in this call. If you can afford it, please give to a reputable charity including the Disasters Emergency Committee  Ukraine Appeal and UNICEF.

OR2022 Dates and Call for Proposals

We are pleased to announce the dates, theme, and venue for Open Repositories 2022. It will be held 6th – 9th June at the Auraria Campus in Downtown Denver, Colorado, USA.  The theme for this year’s conference is Building Trust Together: Integrating, Collaborating & Sharing.

The local hosts and Open Repositories Steering Committee have not taken the decision to host a physical conference lightly. We are mindful of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and will be monitoring the ongoing situation and regulations. We are considering how we can build on the successes of the virtual conferences we have held in the last two years that have enabled us to grow the open repositories family. We are intending to have some online elements to Open Repositories 2022, however they will not be in the form of a hybrid conference and the call for proposals is for the physical conference in Denver.

Thank you for your continued support of the Open Repositories community.

Claire Knowles. Open Repositories Steering Committee Chair and Torsten Reimer, Open Repositories Steering Committee Vice-Chair

Call for Expressions of Interest in hosting the annual Open Repositories Conference in 2021

The Open Repositories Steering Committee seeks Expressions of Interest (EoI) from candidate host organizations for the 2021 Open Repositories Annual Conference series. Proposals from the Americas will be given first consideration.

Important dates

The Open Repositories Steering Committee is accepting Expressions of Interest (EoI) to host the OR2021 conference until May 17th, 2019. Shortlisted sites will be notified by the end of May 2019 and invited to submit a full proposal.


Candidate institutions must have the ability to host at least a four-day conference with up to 450 attendees (see the list of past conferences which includes the number of attendees where available). This includes appropriate access to conference facilities, lodging, and transportation, as well as the ability to manage a range of supporting services (food services, internet services, and conference social events; conference website; management of registration and online payments; etc.). The candidate institutions and their local arrangements committee must have the means to support the costs of producing the conference through attendee registration and independent fundraising. In addition, candidate institutions should consider the OR Statement on Inclusion and Openness as well as our Code of Conduct to determine whether there are conditions in the local environment that might conflict with these positions or prevent travel for large portions of the attendees.

Fuller guidance is provided in the Open Repositories Conference Handbook on the Open Repositories wiki.

Expressions of Interest Guidelines

Organisations interested in proposing to host the OR2021 conference should follow the steps listed below:

  1. Expressions of Interest (EoIs) must be received by May 17th, 2019. Please direct these EoIs and any enquiries to OR Steering Committee Chair Elin Stangeland – elin.stangeland at
  2. As noted above, the Open Repositories wiki has a set of pages at Open Repositories Conference Handbook which offers guidelines for organising an Open Repositories conference. Candidate institutions should pay particular attention to the pages listed at “Preparing a bid” before submitting an EoI.
  3. The EoI should be fairly brief (1-2 pages, or email length), and must include:
    1. the name of the institution (or institutions in the case of a joint bid)
    2. an email address for the first point of contact
    3. the proposed location for the conference venue with a brief paragraph describing the local amenities that would be available to delegates, including its proximity to a reasonably well-served airport
  4. The OR Steering Committee will review proposals and may seek advice from additional reviewers. Following the review, one or more institutions will be invited to submit a detailed proposal.
  5. Invitations to submit a detailed proposal will be issued by the end of May 2019; institutions whose interest will not be taken up will also be notified at that time. The invitations sent out will provide a timeline for submitting a formal proposal and details of additional information available to the shortlisted sites for help in the preparation of their bid. The OR Steering Committee will be happy to answer specific queries whilst proposals are being prepared.


Open Repositories Statement on Inclusion and Openness

In response to recent inquiries, the Open Repositories (OR) Steering Committee would like to share with the broader community our discussions and decision-making processes regarding conference locations. While recent political developments in various locations have brought this issue to the fore, many of our processes are not new and have informed our evaluation of conference locations and related efforts. These processes have evolved over the twelve Open Repositories, and will continue to do so.

First and foremost, we reiterate that we are an open community. We view inclusion and international participation as cornerstones to our work. We actively seek to include people from across the world, as both attendees and hosts, and have over the last four years offered a scholarship program to assist attendees who might not otherwise be able to attend.

We deliberately rotate the conference location on an annual basis. This is done to allow as many people as possible to attend, to expose local practices, and generally to gain the benefits of geographic diversity. Conferences have historically alternated between Europe and North America; in order to gain more global participation, Open Repositories 2017 was held in Brisbane, Australia. The Steering Committee welcomes, and actively solicits, proposals from hosts in more geographically diverse locations for future events.

We strive to avoid problematic, controversial, or exclusive locations. One of the challenges that any international conference faces is the length of time to plan, organize and host an event. OR sites are typically chosen one to three years in advance of an event, as part of a competitive bidding process. This process involves a great deal of work by all parties – including the host (and potential host) sites and the OR Steering committee. A typical call for Expressions of Interest (the first step a potential host institution must take) will elicit six to eight proposals, from locations. These vary widely in scope, detail and options, and the OR Steering Committee evaluates them all seriously. Once a host site is chosen, it will take over a year to organize and put on the event. Money also begins flowing early in the process, as venues need to be reserved and resources booked, and host institutions typically take on substantial financial risk as part of that process.

Moving a conference of this size to a new host, in a new region, isn’t a trivial undertaking. When socio-political events take place that would exclude or make it more difficult or dangerous for certain people to attend after an OR is selected, we assess the impact and best course of action. We work with the local hosts and international delegates to mitigate impacts as much as possible. In the most extreme cases, we would consider several possibilities, including cancellation or relocation of an OR.

Another factor to conference planning often overlooked is that many countries, particularly those in the global north, have higher bars of entry in terms of requirements for visas for participants from certain other countries (often in the global south). The OR Steering Committee works with potential attendees to help wherever possible. This includes providing visa support letters to those attendees as needed. Recent OR Calls for Proposals have been earlier in the year; a benefit of this is to allow more time for attendees to apply for visas and complete any necessary paperwork once authors of successful proposals have been notified.

After a conference location has been chosen, the OR Steering Committee also works diligently to make the conference open by offering scholarships, facilitating travel, and providing a good space for collaboration and discussion. We take our Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy very seriously and have a standing committee dedicated to it.

This year we are exploring new options for attendance at OR, including robust remote participation. This is not something that can be implemented immediately, but must be written-in as part of the requirements for any potential host. As anyone who has attended a large, technology-focused conference can attest, network capacities are often still a challenge. Many venues struggle to accommodate 400-600 attendees with multiple devices. Adding a requirement for real-time streaming (if not fully interactive capabilities) would significantly reduce the number of sites that could potentially host an OR.

We are proud of our commitment to inclusion and openness; however, we can and do strive to do better. The entire OR Steering Committee is dedicated to improving the Open Repositories experience for all. We welcome feedback and continued conversation around these issues. Please contact any member of the Steering Committee with comments.

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