SONAR project: the end of an adventure


After two years of intensive work, cross-institutional exchanges, lively debates, feasibility analysis and exploratory tests, the SONAR project ended at the end of 2020. It was carried out as part of the P-5 program “Scientific information: access, processing and safeguarding” of swissuniversities. The objective was to set up a national platform for open access scientific publications.

Autumn tests and new features

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The SONAR project ends soon and the system is getting closer and closer to going into production. Tests have been realised by various Swiss institutions. This article provides an update on the project progress.

Acquisition of Swiss-affiliated research records: first evaluation from the field

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One of the tasks of the SONAR project is to assess the feasibility of a pipeline for automatically retrieving publications of researchers affiliated to Swiss publicly funded institutions, from third-party international databases. Almost 500,000 candidate bibliographic records were collected from CrossRef, MEDLINE, and PubMed Central, for building the first version of the SONAR dataset.

See current result on

Invitation to test : IR hosting service

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One of the goals of the SONAR project is to set up a hosting service for institutional repositories (IRaaS - Institutional Repository as a Service). Two hosting variants are proposed: a shared portal and dedicated portals. In anticipation of its first production launch, this service is currently providing a public test instance at the address

Institutional Repository as a Service, by RERO: variants and scope

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The project SONAR has been raising a growing interest within the Swiss scientific community. Especially small and medium-sized Higher Education Institutions (HEI) showed their interest for the Institutional Repository as a Service (short IRaaS).

The first version of the service will be made available soon, RERO central and its project partners are working hard to finalise it. We took some time to define the scope of IRaaS, and its two possible variants: the shared portal and the dedicated portal. You will find all details on the IR hosting page.

On the color schemes of Open Access

        Karsten Schuldt (FH Graubünden)      ·

A problem one encounters with Open Access (OA) is the wide range of understandings of different OA types and classifications. What started as a classification of two “colors” (gold and green, see Harnad et al. 20081) has evolved into a plethora of possible classifications. Right at the outset of the OA movement the SHERPA/RoMEO-project (2002-2006) proposed an enhanced four color scheme (green, blue, yellow, white; see Jenkis et al. 20072). Since then, the number of colors meaning different classifications of OA, have grown rapidly. E.g. one LiBGuide of the De Paul-University, Chicago, now lists seven types of OA (green, blue, yellow, gold, white, black and hybrid; see Lucic (n.d.)3). Taubert et al. (2019: 34; further discussion see below) count 14 different colors used in different studies on OA.

On the problems of APC cost analysis

        Karsten Schuldt (FH Graubünden)      · · ·

What are we dealing with, when we talk about “costs of OA”?

It has become commonly accepted in the scientific community that Open Access comes with costs attached. Sustainable infrastructures, editorial work and other costs have to be financed somehow. But, as the concept of “Article Processing Charges” (APC) which have to be paid for the publication of OA-articles has taken root, it has also become commonplace to focus singularly on those costs when talking about the “costs of OA”.

Choosing a document typology is always a conundrum

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As reflected in the title, it is not a simple job to define a document typology for a library platform. This article gives a very brief overview of the problem and the choices made for SONAR.

On Open Access Analytics in Europe

        Karsten Schuldt (FH Graubünden)      ·

One of the work packages in the SONAR project is concerned with “Open Access (OA) Analytics”. This is a field on which work has been done already in the last years in other European countries. SONAR can profit from this work.

Short insight into the content tracking results

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The work done by HEG Genève for the content tracking, one of the most exploratory tasks of SONAR project, already led to interesting data.