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Table of Contents



This document is intended to serve both as an aide-memoire for the Open Repositories organization and as a loose guide for each year's conference organisers. It is offered as guidance only and is provided "as is" without any warranty as to accuracy or completeness.

Following the overview, the middle sections of the document are essentially a walk through of the conference "creation" process whilst the Appendices contain related documents that will be useful in the process.

The Open Repositories Vision

The annual international Open Repositories Conference occupies a unique place in the landscape of open knowledge, open source and digital preservation conferences. Acknowledging institutional interests in the vital role open repositories play in preserving and creating access to scholarly outputs, the OR focus on "how to" rather than "how come" has made it a favorite among librarians, developers and repository managers among others. OR is the conference where attendees learn about formative techniques and technologies while connecting with people who are solving related issues at their institutions. OR provides participants with an informal look at current community practices and future repository trends combined with collegial networking opportunities. This dynamic makes this conference the preferred event for people who have on-the-ground responsibilities for stewarding institutional digital resources.

Open Repositories Organization

The Open Repositories Steering Committee (OR SC) is the organizing group whose members have deep knowledge of the open repository space. The OR SC identifies future conference sites and host organizations, selects a programme committee in a process that is independent from that of selecting a conference site, helps to reach out to potential sponsoring organizations, manages scholarships, maintains the code of conduct and associated documents, develops policies, coordinates the work of presenting the conference each year, and is responsible for managing the OR finances (made up of surpluses from previous conferences and used for scholarships). The OR SC meets monthly (via conference call) or more often as needed. The OR SC is made up of permanent members as well as the Program and Host Chairs. Program and Host chairs rotate off of the OR SC when their responsibilities are complete. There may be some items which only the permanent members may act on such as the decision on a bid to host. The OR SC elects a Chair and Vice-Chair for terms of two years. Generally, the Vice-Chair moves into the Chair position at the end of Chair’s term, and a new Vice-Chair is elected.

The Open Repositories Host Organizing Committee (OR HOC) changes with each new venue and is responsible for managing the conference logistics including the venue, accommodations, receptions and dinners, sponsorships, and the budget. Generally the chair(s) of the Host Organizing Committee are named when the bid for hosting is put forward; the chair is then responsible for naming the remainder of the committee. The OR Host Organizing Committee Chair(s) (selected by the Host organization) attend the monthly OR Steering Committee meetings, and work closely with the OR SC and the OR Program Committee Chair(s).

The Open Repositories Program Committee (OR PC) changes with each new venue and is responsible for managing the program including building a program committee with chairs for each track, identifying the theme of the conference, issuing the call for proposals, identifying and inviting keynote speakers, managing the peer review process, selecting proposals for presentation, and establishing the program schedule. The Chair(s) - generally there are at least two - are selected by the Steering Committee; the Chairs then select members of the committee. The OR Program Committee chair(s) attend the monthly OR Steering Committee meetings, and work closely with the OR SC and the OR Host Organizing Committee Chair(s).

Specific responsibilities of each group are outlined below.


Steering Committee (SC) responsibilities

The current Steering Committee list can be found at:

  • Recruitment and selection of host organizations and institutions via the Expression of Interest (EoI) and bidding process.

  • Recruitment and selection of Program Committee Chair(s).

  • Setting of policies and guiding documents that apply across OR conferences such as the Code of Conduct.

  • Approval of the theme, Call for Proposals (CfP), and overall structure of the conference as put forward by the Program Committee Chair(s).

  • Oversight and management of the Open Repositories Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy

  • Conducting monthly meetings via conference calls.

  • Setting and meeting timeline for conference activities. (See the Annual Cycle).

  • Oversight of  reserve funds.

  • Oversight of scholarships selection and awards. Coordinate with the Host Organizing Committee for travel arrangements for the full fellowship.

  • Support for solicitations for fund-raising / sponsorship to previous & new donors in conjunction with Host Organising Committee.Identification and maintenance of links with allied / affiliated groups for cross-promotional mktg, program activities, etc. (e.g., SPARC, COAR, CNI, IASSIST).

  • Selection of new SC members;

  • Election of OR SC Chair, Vice-Chair, and other officers.

  • Communication about the conference, including the CfP, EoI, registration calls, etc.Maintenance of Conference Handbook and Knowledge Base (i.e. the OR Steering Committee wiki).

  • Management of membership and charge of standing subcommittees including the Finance, Scholarship, and Code of Conduct subcommittees.

Host Organization Committee (HOC) and Chair(s) responsibilities

The Host Organization Committee and chair(s) is generally selected by the hosting institutions.

  • Selection of conference venues and accommodations.

  • Establishment and monitoring of budget for the conference.

  • Engagement of a professional conference organizer if desired.

  • Management of conference registration and fee collection.

  • Maintenance of conference website and mobile program app or interface.

  • Subscription to, and maintenance of submissions website (ConfTool).

  • Use of the OR Twitter account to communicate about the conference (see for example) and to respond to questions and issues.

  • Use of the Open Repositories Facebook account to communicate about the conference and respond to questions and issues.

  • Provision of visa letters to attendees as needed.

  • Arrangement of travel for scholarship recipient if needed. Travel costs will be reimbursed by OR via CLIR.

  • Arrangement of travel and payment of honorarium for the keynote speakers.

  • Management of relationship with conference organizers (if used), venue staff, and others key to the logistics of the conference.

  • Work with the Program Committee on holistic plan for overall program, flow, and logistics.

  • Promotion of the conference via social media.

  • Organize and coordinate any A/V needs for presentations, event recording, live streaming, and other related services.

  • Development of a sponsorship prospectus.

  • Identification and engagement of sponsors in financial support of the conference in collaboration with the OR SC as needed.

  • Planning and coordination of meal services throughout conference.

  • Protocol for managing Code of Conduct violations in collaboration with the Code of Conduct subcommittee of the OR SC.

  • Management of issues regarding logistics (A/V, wifi, food, venue, etc.) that come up during the conference itself.

  • Administration of a survey assessing success of the conference using a standard tool in use by the OR SC.

  • Post-conference feedback to the OR SC and Conference Knowledge Base (attendance statistics, financial report).

  • Submission of the conference Web site to the Internet Archive’s crawls, for long-term access to its contents.

  • Feedback to SC for improving and evolving the Conference Handbook.

  • Return of any profits to OR reserve fund as soon as feasible after the conference.

Program Committee (PC) and Chair(s) responsibilities

The Program Committee Chairs are appointed by the OR SC. The Chairs populate the Program Committee with members. Some members may be responsible for a specific track (posters, 24x7, developers, etc.). The Program Chair(s) generally shape the theme and Call for Proposals first, and then appoint a Program Committee. The Chairs have ultimate responsibility for determining the program for OR.

  • Identify theme(s) of conference with approval by the OR SC.

  • Work closely with the HOC to ensure information is posted on conference website and submission system is established and open when the CfP is released.

  • Produce and publish the Call for Proposals (CfP) with approval by the OR SC.

  • With support from Steering Committee, set timeline for submission, review and notifications

  • With support from Steering Committee, identify Track Chairs (e.g., Workshops, Developer track, Ideas Challenge, Posters, 24x7, etc.).

  • Establish guidelines and expectations for each category of submission.

  • With HOC establish expectations for posters (electronic only? If printed, what size?). There may be constraints on numbers given size of venue.

  • With support from Steering Committee, recruitment of appropriate reviewers.

  • Management of review and selection process for all content for the conference.

  • With HOC determine number of acceptances possible given rooms available.

  • Once reviewing and review is complete, alert proposers of the status of their submissions.

  • Identify workshops to be offered early in the process so that they can be included in the registration process (which typically opens before the program is set).

  • Set schedule for the conference.

  • With approval from the OR SC, identify, communicate with, and manage the keynote speakers. Arrange with the HOC the travel and honorarium.

  • Management of website for submission, review, and acceptance procedure (in coordination with HOC).

  • With the Steering Committee Chair and Vice-Chair and Chair of the HoC, plan the opening and closing plenary sessions. Provide a slot at the end of the conference for next year’s HOC.

  • Feedback to SC for improving the Conference Handbook.

Open Repositories Resources

Wiki and Website

The OR SC maintains a website at This website is public facing and contains a current list of SC members as well as announcements relevant to OR conferences such as a CfP, etc. The OR SC may also use this to publish policies or statements that they want to make public.

The OR SC also maintains a wiki, hosted by Duraspace, at The wiki has some public information, but in the main is used by the OR SC and associated Program and Host Chairs as a knowledgebase for tracking OR SC meeting minutes, internal conference planning, distribution lists, etc. While conference planning may take place using other tools such as Google Drive, all material that is important for documenting a conference should be moved to the wiki when possible. The list of items that should be transferred is in Appendix D.

Conference Program Management Tool

The OR SC maintains a license for ConfTool as of 2018 in order to have consistency across conferences and to ensure data is transferred between instances as allowable.

Communication Channels

The OR SC maintains a listserv that is used for regular communication amidst SC members. The OR SC also uses a Slack channel for communications.

Social Media

As of August 2018, there is one twitter account ( that is passed from each Host Organizing Committee to the next, and can also be used by the Steering Committee to communicate as needed. The Steering Committee also maintains a Facebook site ( that is also used by the Host Organizing Committee.

OR Reserve Fund

If there are excess funds at the end of an OR conference, those funds are transferred into a reserve fund that is held by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The fund itself is monitored and managed by the OR Finance Subcommittee. The reserve fund is generally not used to fund or support a host organization except under extraordinary circumstances, but is generally used to fund expenses such as:

  • the provision of scholarships to assist the attendance of individuals (usually from the developing world) who would would not otherwise be able to attend and whose circumstances deserve special attention;

  • administrative costs such as web site hosting and domain management;

  • the provision of a particular prize or prizes as part of the conference proceedings;

  • assistance in the case of extraordinary circumstances; and/or

whilst it is the host institution's responsibility to make appropriate insurance arrangements, the Steering Committee would be willing to consider requests for additional assistance from this fund in the event that, for example, closure of national airspace resulted in the conference having to be cancelled.

Appendices and Links to Related Content


OR 2013 and OR 2014 Code of Conduct

OR Steering Committee Membership Policies

Sponsorship brochure

Exhibition space for Open Source Projects

Rationale for Sponsoring OR Conferences

Conference Knowledge Base and document archive

ConfTool (Conference and Event Management Software)

Sample: Call for Proposals to Host the Annual Open Repositories Conference

Sample: Response to potential host organizations

Sample: Acknowledgement of receipt of EOL

Sample: Invitation to submit a detailed proposal to host

Sample: Thank you for your interest in hosting (not selected to submit detailed proposal)