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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.We attempt to keep this as up to date as possible, but there may be areas which are inaccurate. If you have questions, please contact the Chair of the Open Repositories Steering Committee..

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 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 scholarshipsfellowships, 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 primarily for scholarshipsfellowships). The OR SC meets monthly (via conference call) or more often as needed. The OR SC is made up of permanent 12 standing members as well as the Program and Host Chairs for the current year and the upcoming year as they are selected. Program and Host chairs rotate off of the OR SC when their responsibilities are complete. There may be some items which only the permanent standing members may act on such as the decision on a bid to host or voting on new standing members. The OR SC elects a Chair and Vice-Chair for terms of two years. Generally, the 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(s) 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).


  • 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).

  • Subscription to submissions website (ConfTool) and management of personal data within.

  • Management of the conference website (in process).
  • Oversight of reserve funds.

  • Oversight of scholarships fellowships 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).

  • Election of new SC members according to the membership policy.

  • Election of OR SC Chair, Vice-Chair, and other officers (if any).

  • 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.


  • 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. (Please note, that this is under discussion to transfer to central set up at CLIR, though maintenance would continue to be the Host responsibility).

  • 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 (depending on location, this can be an intensive process).

  • Arrangement of travel for scholarship recipient if needed. Travel costs will be reimbursed by OR via CLIRfellowship recipients. The OR SC maintains funds that can be used for this purpose; however, we cannot easily make the travel arrangements and prefer the HOC to do so. We can reimburse the Host Organization, or the costs can be taken out of the surplus.

  • Arrangement of travel and payment of honorarium (generally a minimum of $1000 USD) for the keynote speakers.

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

  • Work closely with the Program Chair(s) and 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. We expect that meals and drinks will meet a wide range of dietary needs and include non-alcoholic options.

  • 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. (Please note, this may change given the potential shift to CLIR).

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

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


  • 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 and the HOC, set timeline for submission, review and notifications

  • With support from Steering Committee and the HOC, 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.


The OR SC also maintains a wiki, hosted by DuraspaceDuraSpace, 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 knowledge-base 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.


As of August 2018, there is one twitter account (http 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.


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 fellowships 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 prizes or prizes gifts as part of the conference proceedings; and/or

  • 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.



Providing some combination of meals (lunch), snacks and receptions during the conference as part of the cost of registration is an OR tradition. Meals present key networking opportunities and attendees look forward to connecting with new and old colleagues while enjoying local food specialties. Some OR participants are on limited travel budgets so in-house food and beverages help to make it possible for them to attend. Some hosts have chosen to require payment for attendance at the conference dinner; this will depend on costs and venues. We expect meals and snacks to meet a range of dietary needs (vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free) and that there will be non-alcoholic options at receptions. See for an excellent checklist.

Providing access and information for a range of types of accommodations is expected. Depending on the whether the main conference will be held on a campus or at a hotel conference center there are often blocks of rooms available at a discounted price. Because OR is held in summer months some host organizations have made low-cost dormitory accommodations available to attendees. These considerations along with access to local listings for other types of accommodations for those traveling with family members are appreciated.

Proving information about accessibility of the venue is expected.

Providing access and information about local transportation options is expected. While OR attendees make their own travel plans, guidance and "insider" information is helpful particularly for those traveling from one remote location to another.


Planning for some amount of recording or live streaming of conference sessions is preferred. Because there are eager potential OR attendees who would like to have access to conference content even if they cannot attend, planning to make the conference as accessible as possible for as many people as possible is a key concern. Hamburg was able to record all sessions, and to livestream the keynotes.

Working with the OR Subcommittee on the Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy to respond and manage any reported issues or questions concerning the Code of Conduct and the Anti-Harassment Policy. Please see Appendices A and B for the policies, and Appendix C for the protocol.

Planning a special event that highlights aspects of local history and culture is a part of the OR tradition. From castles to galleries, museums and aquariums OR attendees look forward to an evening out with friends and colleagues while sampling local cuisine and traditions. Events should be as accessible as possible; again see the Digital Library Federation's Social Event Checklist for a good guide to ensuring events are welcoming to everyone.


The current pattern is that the OR Steering Committee will publish a request for "expressions of interest" (EoI) in the winter two years before the conference is due to take place (so, for example, Winter 2018 for the 2020 summer conference).


It is not the intention that hosting OR  should be a financial burden on the organising institution. Theirs should be a contribution in kind - providing staff time, and associated facilities, to organise and manage the event; the conference fees and sponsorship income should cover all other expenditure. That said, the OR SC recognizes that many organizations may have to put significant funds towards reserving a venue, for example, well prior to recouping the costs. The bidder should be cognizant that they will be bearing the financial risk of putting these funds forward and potentially of bearing a loss if the conference does not meet targets of sponsorship and registration. All but one OR conference  have made a profit(PEI) have had a surplus at the end of the conference. Please note that it is part of the host’s agreement with the OR SC that any such profit surplus be passed back to the OR reserve fund for the benefit of future events. It ; It is not the intention that this fund be used to subsidise an unprofitable conference unless extraordinary circumstances can be cited. If providing the surplus back to OR is not possible due to organizational circumstances, we request that we are notified of that in the bid. 

Ultimately, since there is no legal Open Repositories organisation, the hosts are putting on a conference and using the  Open Open Repositories branding. It follows that the hosts must take fiscal responsibility for any contracts that they enter into during the course of conference organisation and must ensure that they are covered by any appropriate insurances (including liability insurance).


  • Daily meals and refreshment breaks

  • Two-three evening events (on other evenings delegates make their own arrangements) - see for a useful set of guidelines on social events

    • Ideas Challenge Reception (often underwritten by a sponsor) - Please note that this did not occur in Hamburg and was instead wrapped into the Poster reception. That would be an acceptable alternative.

    • Poster reception

    • Banquet dinner

  • Travel, accommodation costs, and a small honorarium (usually about $1000) for keynote speakers

  • Conference venue rental and associated costs (if not provided for by the host)

  • Facilities rental and setup (AV equipment etc)

  • Website costs (if not provided for by the host) Proposal submission site (ConfTool, for example) costs- Please note that this may be managed by the Steering Committee in the future so costs for this should be tentative.

  • Event recording/streaming costs

  • Conference 'swag' including small printed programmes, badges, etc

  • Transportation costs (if applicable, perhaps to/from banquet)

  • Insurance costs (if applicable)


  • Brief details of other conferences that the team has organised

  • Proposed dates for the conference (see below)

  • Details about the campus and/or city hosting the conference (this may well be scans of an official brochure)

  • Details of the hotels that are likely to be used by delegates with approximate costs and a statement that there will be sufficient accommodation available during the proposed dates (see below)

  • Details of the conference venue (see below)

  • Details of the workshops venue(s) if different (see below)

  • Details of the proposed Host organizing committee

  • Details of how the proposed conference website would be maintained

  • Details of how social media would be utilized
  • Ability to provide visa letters to attendees as needed

  • Evidence that the institution would be able to arrange travel for the scholarship recipient fellowship recipients in case the recipient recipients would not be able to do that themselves (this cost would may be reimbursed to the institution or taken out of surplus costs)

The bid should not exceed 15 pages. Any further details can be provided in appendices if necessary.


From 2015, the Open Repositories event has spanned four days, Monday to Thursday, with the first day being given over to workshops.  The main conference has then typically filled 3 days. We no longer have a separate day for interest groups; these are instead integrated into the conference.


The hotels recommended to delegates should be reasonably priced and be within comfortable walking distance of the conference venue. As they are attending a technology conference, delegates will expect that all rooms will have free internet.


The conference venue should have a single meeting space comfortably big enough to accommodate all the delegates during plenary sessions. It should have further rooms to accommodate parallel tracks when the conference splits into two or more strands (Hamburg had five parallel sessions; generally we are seeing about three to four).  The conference venue should have a large open area where delegates can gather for refreshments during breaks and in which sponsors and other organizations can have exhibition tables, with monitors etc. as necessary, for delegates to visit and browse. It is likely that this area will also be used for registration.

The venue will need a place that lunch can be efficiently provided for delegates since often the schedule only allows an hour for lunch; in the past this has sometimes been a dedicated dining room, but the open area described above has also been used successfully. If the open area is to be used, a reasonable amount of seating will be appreciated if possible.


Generally workshops are held the day prior to the conference start and are a combination of half and full day workshops. We have had as many as five to six parallel sessions of workshops. Organizers will need to use their local knowledge to decide where, and how many of these workshops can be managed. The total number of delegates attending such workshops will be somewhat lower than that attending the conference proper, and it may not make financial sense to use the main conference venue for them. Whatever venues are made available should have good wifi, projection facilities, and be close to places where attendees can get lunch. Ideally they will be close together and close to the main conference venue.


If your bid is successful it will be important that you gather together a Host Organising Committee as soon as possible. In particular, the OR SC will want to know the name of its Chair as soon as possible so that (s)he can immediately become party to the wider planning process.The expectation is that the Chair of the HOC will begin to regularly participate in calls in the first call immediately after the OR that will precede their conference (i.e. if you are hosting the 2020 OR, you will be asked to participate in the regular OR SC calls starting in July 2019).  However, the Chairs of upcoming conferences are encouraged to join in the OR SC calls immediately if only to become familiar with the process of hosting. as soon as selected since much can be learned from the planning of the previous years conference; however, regular participation is definitely expected from the call in July forward. The Chair will also be added to the appropriate email lists, and given access to the wiki and social media sites for publicizing the conference. We also hope that the Chair(s) can attend the conference immediately preceding their conference as there are at least two meetings (a debrief and a standing OR SC meeting) that are useful for knowledge exchange.

The Annual Cycle

(Starting in July or August after the annual OR conference)


  • Nov 15 - Call for Proposals opens

  • Jan 5 - Published deadline for submissions

  • Jan 13 - Actual deadline for submissions

  • Feb 1 - Deadline for review of workshops

  • Feb 13 - Deadline for review of all other proposals

  • Feb 15 - Registration opens with accepted workshops and keynotes announced

  • Mar 1 - Decisions sent to submitters

  • Mar 15 - Schedule Available

  • June - Conference

Details of


Fellowships -


Fellowship Subcommittee

Prior to the release of the CfP the Scholarships Subcommittee should decide how many scholarships to the year's OR will be offered so that a call for applications can accompany it.  An application form of some sort needs to be available. (For OR2014 this was a web form as part of the conference website. For OR2015 a Google form was trialled.) An appropriate page of information will be needed on the conference website. The deadline for applications should allow plenty of time for recipients to complete arrangements for additional funding, to get any necessary visas and to make travel arrangements.


Once all bids have been submitted the OR SC should review each bid carefully for the criteria required (see above) with close attention to the budget, logistics, and experience. In areas that need further clarification, the OR SC should seek clarity from the bidder. Once the OR SC has satisfied their questions on the bids, they should vote on which bid should be awarded the conference. The successful and unsuccessful bids should be notified. The successful bid should be given time to prepare a “Save this Date” website before a public announcement is made. However, it is critical to make the Save the Date announcement as soon as possible ideally in time for this year’s conference so that those dates are on people’s calendars, and other conferences are planned around them. All bids should be saved in the knowledgebaseknowledge-base.


Prepping of Keynote Speakers - Program Committee


Please see Open Repositories Anti-Harassment Protocol.

Appendix D: What to include in the


knowledge-base for each conference

Each conference will have different methods for managing documents and data related to a conference. They may use a combination of Google Drive, ConfTool, and other collaboration tools. The OR SC does not dictate what tools are used in the process of managing a conference; however, the OR SC does request that certain data and documents are preserved in the Duraspace hosted wiki so that future organizers can refer to these.