Photo from Open Source Photography group at Flickr (author: Aztlek)
Virtual Open Access Agriculture & Aquaculture Repository: Sharing Scientific and Scholarly Research related to Agriculture, Food, and Environment.
Open access to scientific/scholarly content removes the access barriers related to copyright retention to the outcomes of research. Several for-profit and non-profit cases have demonstrated their sustainability in this endeavour to date. However, leveraging the full potential of open access requires considering all the elements and aspects of scientific/scholarly work and not only unrestricted access to the final outcomes, i.e. the papers.
It also requires Information and Communication Technology (ICT) support for searching, relating and browsing open access contents that is tailored to the specific needs of the different stakeholders, including the producers and the consumers. Generalist search engines as Google Scholar, databases as PubMed, citation systems as CiteULike and indexes as DOAJ are access enablers for large masses of open scholarly content, but they still require significant effort for researchers and practitioners (each having different information seeking styles) to retrieve the relevant information for targeted needs and cover only part of the processes and tasks that are inherent to the nature of research work, including highly specific literature analysis and contrast, preprint publishing, informal feedback, different forms of peer evaluation and post-archival assessment.
The VOA3R platform aims at re-using existing and mature metadata and semantics technology to deploy an advanced, community-focused integrated service for the retrieval of relevant open content and data that includes explicit models of the scholarly methods and procedures used and of the practical tasks targeted by applied research (which represent a principal information need expression for practitioners). The service will enable researchers to formulate their information needs in terms of elements of the scientific methods established in their field (variables, techniques, assessment methods, kinds of objects of interest, etc.) combined with topical descriptions as expressed in metadata. The community approach will enable the enhancement of information seeking with extended evaluation elements (as for example, ratings, public reviews, social tagging and links to supporting or conflicting reports) that complement and go beyond the traditional, anonymous peer review process which results are not made available openly.
The technology used will itself become open source, so that the model of the service can be adopted by enterprises (including SMEs) or other kinds of institutions as a value-added, community-oriented model for open access content