All posts by Agustina Martínez-García

Thoth Archiving Network goes live at Cambridge 

Dr Agustina Martínez-García, Head of Open Research Systems, Digital Initiatives

Cambridge University Library (CUL) is piloting participation in the Thoth Archiving Network, which allows small presses to use a simple deposit option to archive their publications in multiple repository locations, creating the opportunity to safeguard against the complete loss of their open books catalogue, should they cease to operate. 

Participation in the pilot has allowed us to explore the implementation of suitable infrastructure, built on interoperable, open, and widely adopted platforms to support discovery, access, and long-term availability of open scholarly works. 

Work done so far 

We are pleased to share that the Cambridge repository platform participating in the Thoth network is now live at, and now includes a full back catalogue of two open monograph publishers. This repository is based on the open-source DSpace software

Through the implementation phase, we have worked very closely with the Thoth technical team to support the implementation and testing of standard and automated deposit mechanisms into DSpace-based repositories. This work has allowed us to further our knowledge and expertise on scholarly and research platforms by using well adopted repository platforms (DSpace) in a new area: open access books and monographs. It has also provided us with the opportunity to test the implementation of additional infrastructure to support discovery, access, and dissemination of such open access content, and potentially experiment with other types of scholarly work. 

What’s next 

Now that the repository platform is live, we would like to gather insights about volume of content, required storage and staff resources (both infrastructure and user support). This will help us estimating associated costs for provision of such a service as well as preservation costs for the longer term, during the 3-year pilot.  

In terms of long-term preservation, we will explore several preservation options, including preserving the content in-house as part of the Libraries’ wider Digital Preservation Programme. The types of material hosted in this platform can provide an exemplary use case of scholarly content that is “preservation ready”, uses open and standard file formats (i.e., PDF and epub) and is accompanied by rich, high quality descriptive metadata. 

See this post by the Open Book Futures Team for more details about the pilot:

Diamond Open Access Journals platform launch at Cambridge

Dr Agustina Martínez-García, Head of Open Research Systems, Digital Initiatives

We are pleased to announce that our Diamond Open Access Journals at Cambridge platform has launched in May and can be accessed at This service will be available initially as part of a one-year pilot project undertaken by the Open Research Systems (ORS) and Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) teams within Cambridge University Library (CUL).  

Project overview

The main aim of the Diamond project is to support Cambridge’s research community in the context of a changing open research and scholarly publishing environment. To meet increasing demand to share research findings we are scoping, assessing, and implementing future services and systems that meet those needs, while contributing to a growing wider open research community and ecosystem. The pilot is being launched off the back of a project to understand the community-led publishing landscape at Cambridge (findings to be shared soon). Researchers in the Office of Scholarly Communication uncovered a vibrant ecosystem of DIY publishing projects at Cambridge that the library is exploring how to support through technical and resource-based approaches.  

As part of the project, we are engaging with Cambridge researchers and exploring whether open and community-developed platforms meet their needs around institutional publishing and can be used as the basis for service development in this area. We are using the DSpace repository platform to support this pilot. DSpace is a widely adopted, open-source repository platform, and it is currently the solution underpinning Apollo, Cambridge’s Institutional Repository. In its newest version, it offers advanced functionality and features that can potentially make it a suitable platform for journal publishing, an area we are keen to explore with this pilot. 

Where we are at

Main activities of the project are focusing on: 

  • Exploring the implementation of suitable infrastructure, built on interoperable, open, and widely adopted platforms. 
  • Gathering use cases of community-led open access journals at Cambridge, focusing on discipline, journal type, frequency of publication, production standards. 
  • Gathering insights and inform future service development in this area by a) assessing the suitability of the DSpace open-source repository platform as a journal publishing platform; and b) estimating the associated costs and resourcing requirements, both in terms of service management and infrastructure (long-term access, storage, and preservation costs). 

The following four Cambridge student-led journals have agreed initially to participate in the pilot, and we are also exploring opening participation to additional journals in the upcoming months. 

  • Cambridge Journal of Climate Research (Climate Research Society, first issue now available in the Diamond platform
  • Cambridge Journal of Human Behaviour (Anthropology) 
  • Cambridge Journal of Visual Culture (History of Art) 
  • Scroope (Architecture) 

What’s next

The next iteration of work for the pilot will focus on assessing the resources and costs involved in transitioning from pilot to service. Ensuring long-term preservation and access comes with several associated costs and it is critical to assess these when evaluating sustainable approaches to service development. Examples of cost elements that we will consider include onboarding (initial implementation) fees, hosting and maintenance fees, volume of content and storage costs, persistent identifier (DOIs and ISSN) minting and publisher databases indexing services costs, etc. We will also explore suitable long-term content preservation options, including approaches such as integrations with existing preservation services such as CLOCKSS (, or assessing in-house preservation via the services that are currently being developed as part of CUL’s Digital Preservation Programme. 

Apollo achieves CoreTrustSeal certification!

We are delighted to share the fantastic news that Apollo, the University of Cambridge’s institutional repository, achieved CoreTrustSeal certification in May 2023.

In 2020, Apollo was one of 10 repositories selected to take part in FAIRsFAIR Repository Support Programme through an open call to obtain CoreTrustSeal (CTS) certification. As a result, the Repository team was awarded funding to support the required certification activities.

What does this mean for Apollo?

CTS is an international, community based, non-governmental, and non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable and trustworthy data infrastructures. CTS is a self-assessment status for repositories, awarded based on meeting 16 requirements that reflect the characteristics of trustworthy repositories.

The achievement of CTS status for Apollo is a particularly important milestone, and one that is critical to several areas currently being developed as part of a wider Open Research Infrastructure programme led by Cambridge University Libraries (CUL).

Following certification, the Libraries are in a much stronger position to demonstrate the value of Apollo to key internal stakeholders, as well as our research communities. More importantly, CTS provides us with the opportunity to not only demonstrate the trustworthiness and robustness of the systems and processes involved in curating, making available, and preserving the University’s research outputs for the long-term, but also to meet funder requirements which are increasingly requiring more open practices and the deposit of publicly funded outputs in repositories with a trustworthy status.

The certification preparation and submission has been a remarkable collaborative effort across teams within Digital Initiatives and the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) and has provided our services with a fantastic opportunity to assess all processes and policies relevant to the delivery of our repository and data services. This work has involved reviewing all existing processes, workflows and underpinning policies, and more importantly, identifying areas where policies did not exist and subsequently developing them and making them publicly available where appropriate. It has also led to a full review, update, and improvement of key Apollo service pages.

This work has been critical to formalising key policies and demonstrating best practice for system management and service delivery, which has led to continuous improvement and further professionalisation of key services supporting Cambridge’s open research communities.

Towards better support for our research communities

For Apollo and underpinning services, it is not only about achieving certified status. It is important that researchers, and our user communities, do trust Apollo and are reaffirmed about the University of Cambridge’s commitment to preserve its research outputs for the long-term and ensure widest possible access, following the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles:

Findable: we know that content in the repository scores high in search results on Google and Google Scholar and receive large numbers of downloads based on our use of COUNTER-compliant usage tracking services such as IRUS UK.

Accessible: as outlined in Apollo’s succession plan and digital preservation policy, CUL strives to maintain the availability of deposited works in Apollo indefinitely. Apollo’s core activities include the preservation, curation, and dissemination of the research outputs it holds with the aim of guaranteeing that all content entrusted to it by depositors remains suitable for the needs of its primary users now and in the future. Once a research output is published in Apollo, a persistent Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is minted and associated with the output.

Interoperable: Apollo makes use of open, community-driven, and well-adopted standards and technologies: all public content is available via a REST (REpresentational State Transfer) API (Application Programming Interface) and high-quality metadata for repository content is available via OAI-PMH and DataCite Search endpoints. This is critical to ensure continued access, dissemination, and the long-term availability of research outputs being produced and shared via institutional, research repositories.

Reusable: to reassure our users that they are accessing and using quality data, we provide careful and detailed guidance for data depositors about how to make their data FAIR, clearly outline the review and quality checks we perform upon submission, as well as require that every repository submission must include some human-readable documentation.

Find out more

More detailed information about Apollo and CoreTrustSeal is available in the following pages:

Apollo, trustworthy digital repository

Apollo’s CoreTrustSeal application (full application)



We would like to acknowledge the support of FAIRsFAIR in our CoreTrustSeal certification journey. FAIRsFAIR is playing a key role in the contribution to policies and practices for broader adoption of FAIR practices, and in the development of standards for FAIR certification of repositories.

The Team

Dr Agustina Martínez-García, Head of Open Research Systems, Digital Initiatives

Dr Sacha Jones, Research Data Manager, OSC

Peter Sutton-Long, Repository Manager, Digital Initiatives

Caylin Smith, Head of Digital Preservation, Digital Initiatives

Digital Services’ DevOps team, Digital Initiatives