Stellenbosch University
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Open Repositories Conference 2023

​​In less than a month, the Library and Information Service will be playing host to the 18th International Open Repositories Conference (OR2023). The conference, at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, will be held from 12 to 15 June. This is the first time that this event is being hosted on the African Continent and only the second time in the southern hemisphere as it is usually North American or European based. The conference will be an in-person conference with 270 delegates attending from 41 different countries.

The annual Open Repositories Conference brings together researchers, librarians, developers and professionals from around the world to discuss the latest trends and advancements in open science and digital repositories. It is a beacon of innovation and collaboration which provides a platform for practitioners and policymakers to shape the future of open repositories and drive positive change in scholarly communication.

This year's theme is “Repositories unlocked for discovery and interoperability" and will provide an opportunity to explore and reflect on the ways repositories enable discoverability and interoperability of information and data within the structured web of data. The theme includes a number of sub-themes of which two are particularly significant in the African continent, namely “Unbiased discovery of knowledge: Open repositories facilitating the unbiased discovery of indigenous knowledge" and “Sustainable development: Linking open repositories content to the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)".

The conference will be opened by Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies on the first day of the conference and delegates will also be welcomed by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers at a welcoming event in the Endler Hall. This year's proceedings will feature an opening keynote panel who will share thoughts on how repositories can improve data equity worldwide and how they can be better utilised to share data with both humans and machines. Panellists are Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa, Director of the African Open Science Platform, Prof Willem Fourie, founder of the South African SDG Hub, Ms Joy Owango, Founding Director of the Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa), and Ms Ellen Tise, Senior Director of Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service.

The closing keynote will take place on Thursday, 15 June 2023 and our closing keynote speaker is Prof Hussein Suleman whose research is situated within the Digital Libraries Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Cape Town. This session promises to inspire and challenge our participants - to encourage them to think broadly about the ways repositories enable discoverability and interoperability of information and data within the structured web of data.

Hosting events of this stature has always been a highlight on our Library calendar, from our own Symposium, since 2003, to international events such as the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) Presidential Meeting in 2010 and the Berlin 10 Open Access Conference in 2012. Next year we will continue the tradition by hosting the IAML (International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres) Congress.

Mimi Seyffert-Wirth