. . . opening access to research  

DRIVER - Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research

Service  | Mission  |  Objectives  |  Partners  |   Management

Service Site

The DRIVER Support site provides a single point of contact and information for the work of the project and the provision of advocacy materials and guidance on the development of a repository network in Europe.The DRIVER Project site is run by project staff in Athens and holds information on the project itself together with project documents and deliverables.


DRIVER is an 18 month project which started in June 2006 that has been funded under Framework 6 of the European Union IST Programme. The project sets out to build the testbed for a future knowledge infrastructure of the European Research Area. Aimed to be complimentary to GEANT2, the successful infrastructure for computing resources, data storage and data transport, DRIVER will deliver content resources, i.e. any form of scientific output, including scientific/technical reports, working papers, pre-prints, articles and original research data. The vision, to be accomplished in a second phase, is to establish the successful interoperation of both data network and knowledge repositories as integral parts of the E-infrastructure for research and education in Europe.

DRIVER meets the three key strategic objectives of the EC programme for research infrastructures: a) it optimises the use of the technical infrastructure GEANT by delivering all types of content resources, b) it contributes to the creation of a new Europe wide infrastructure for knowledge and c) it aggregates and presents the knowledge base of European research to the world.

DRIVER will not build a specific digital repository system with pre-defined services, based on a specific technology and serving dedicated communities. The testbed will in its inception focus on the infrastructure aspect, i.e., open, clearly defined interfaces to the content network, which allow any qualified service-provider to build services on top of it. Like the data network GEANT, DRIVER's knowledge infrastructure offers mainly a well structured, reliable and trustworthy basis. DRIVER opens up knowledge to the communities, it does not prescribe how to use the knowledge


DRIVER has formulated five objectives for the project:

1. To organise and build a virtual, European scale network of existing institutional repositories from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Belgium
More concrete, it starts with 51 institutional repositories, namely 15 from the Netherlands (coordinated by DARE), 20 from the UK (coordinated by SHERPA), 14 from Germany (adhere to the German DINI-standard), one each from France (CNRS) and Belgium (UGent). During the project further repositories will be identified and included. Joint policies and objectives to support broad and multiple user groups will be defined, metadata, technical and organisational standards for repository hosts will be explored and agreed.

2. To assess and implement state-of-the-art technology, which manages the physically distributed repositories as one large scale virtual content resource
DRIVER exploits existing state-of-the-art digital library and repository technologies. More concrete, it will integrate management middleware as part of both a "collective service" (CS) and an "enabling services" (ES). The collective layer is responsible for processing metadata records and full text from distributed providers as a result of harvesting, to support indexing and browsing. The "enabling service" provides the basic services (such as "metadata schema registry"), which support the interactions between the DRIVER management middleware (objective 2) and services, available to the end-user (objective 3).

3. To assess and implement a number of fundamental user services
With respect to the limited timeframe of the project, DRIVER has defined a realistic number of user services to be implemented in the testbed: search, collection service, profiling, recommendation. These services will demonstrate the potential of a future pan-European digital repository service to researchers. The implementation of services will be based on incremental upgrades, which consider also feedback from studies and widely organised communication programmes (see objective 5).

4. To identify, implement and promote a relevant set of standards
Standards are an imperative for interoperability in distributed environments. Within the testbed, DRIVER emphasises the implementation of nominal, globally accepted standards in a real-life system, with a focus on metadata (OAI-PMH), persistent identifiers (URN, handles) and some technology standards (SOA, web services).
DRIVER will also look at the impact, preservation preconditions may have on standards (e.g. metadata schema) and technology. However, it has not included preservation activities as part of the testbed, as it acknowledges the responsibility of nationally organised archiving strategies and services (such as the e-depot in the Netherlands or KOPAL in Germany).

5. To prepare the future expansion and upgrade of the DR infrastructure across Europe and to ensure widest possible user involvement
The current situation and projected development of the repository environment across Europe will be analyzed in the context of several coordinated focussed studies on DRs and DR related topics. Among the studies, one will draft a provider and business model framework to ensure long-term sustainability of the Digital Repository Infrastructure. Emphasis will be placed on the identification of concrete contacts and interested partners of potential user groups (such as learned societies, university research administrations) to provide points of contacts for the programme of workshop and communication activities which DRIVER will also run. This comprehensive programme aims to create an informed and active environment for repository infrastructure development in each European country. As part of this program, DRIVER will establish a communication series through workshops for key stakeholder groups from all European countries. These workshops will on the one side facilitate the set up and national networking of institutional repositories, before becoming part of the envisioned European DR infrastructure. On the other side, these workshops provide open forums for discussions with and feedback from user groups of the infrastructure, which will aid the incremental technical, organisational and strategic development of the testbed.


The project is a joint collaboration between 10 international partners.

The experience and skills of each partner complement the aims of the project. EDINA has great experience in providing national and national-scale data services, while SHERPA has experience in the creation and use of repostiories, and advocacy amongst stakeholders.

Project Management

University of Athens as the co-ordinating partner for DRIVER will have the overall responsibility for managing the project. University of Bielefeld will provide the technical and scientific project management.

Administrative Co-ordinator
Prof.M.Hatzopoulos, University of Athens, will assume responsibility for the overall Project Management and Administration of DRIVER. He will have the overall responsibility for the organisation, planning and control of the project. He will be the contact person for the project with the Commission and will ensure the timely delivery of the technical reports, the deliverables, the financial reports as well as any contractually relevant document. He will also be supported by a permanent Project secretariat, which will deal with all of the administrative and financial issues related to DRIVER.

Technical and Scientific Co-ordinator
Dr.N.Lossau, Bielefeld University will be the Technical and Scientific Coordinator. He will chair the Technical Management Committee and will be responsible for the co-ordination of all technical activities.

Steering Committee (SC)
The SC is designed to provide a high level supervision of the project activities and to promote and assess the scientific quality of the project, to define means to implement all major technical decisions, to define funding policies, to identify the need for significant changes in the Project work-plan and oversee their implementation, to review and/or amend the cost or time schedule under the EC Contract, to review and/or amend the termination of the EC Contract, and to provide recommendations for improving the Project's efficiency.

Composition: The SC is composed of the Administrative and Financial Coordinator, the Technical and Scientific Coordinator and the Project Managers (one key person of each contracting partner). The Administrative Coordinator will also attend meetings of the Steering Committee to guarantee coordination between scientific and the necessary administrative back-up actions.

Technical Management Committee
The role of the TMC is to monitor the technical direction of the Project, to define the schedule of scientific activities inside and among the various work packages, evaluate and validate the progress of the Project. In addition, the TMC proposes to the SC reviewing and/or amending of the workplan, approve all major technical decisions, approve all official deliverables, and assign specific responsibility to the most suitable partner representative when new events require it.

Composition: The TMC is composed of the Technical and Scientific Coordinator and the Work-package Leaders. The Administrative Coordinator will also attend meetings of the Technical Management Committee to guarantee coordination between scientific and the necessary administrative back-up actions.

Project Managers
Each contracting organisation has appointed a Project Manager (PM). For SHERPA, the Project Manager is Bill Hubbard.


The European Commission has backed the project under Framework 6 IST. This project addresses the FP6-2005-IST-5 strategic objective 2.5.6 "Research networking testbeds". Its main focus is on "Fostering interoperability of solutions across different scientific […] disciplines." (focus 3).

Project Documents


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