With the ISTEX project, the French world of Scientific and Technical Information is preparing to receive a new tool in the field of access to electronic scientific documentation. This project aims to offer on-line access to a maximum of digital publications in all disciplines to the whole of the French research and higher education communities, and to construct a national platform to exploit and make available these resources.
On the 19th of April, 2012, the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) and the National Research Agency (ANR) signed with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) the convention of sponsorship attribution to the level of 60 million euros over 3 years, of which 55 million euros were dedicated to the acquisition of scientific archives and 5 million euros to the creation of the platform, which will house the data acquired. This innovative project associates the CNRS, the Library Agency of Higher Education (ABES), the Couperin consortium, and the University of Lorraine acting on account of the Conference of University Presidents (CPU).
As a vast programme of acquisition of scientific documentary resources, the ISTEX project has as its aim to create a digital library to the highest international standards, thus allowing the reinforcement of French research and higher education. Accessible from a distance to all members of scientific establishments and universities, the ISTEX platform will provide scientific and technical publications with a high visibility.
The ISTEX project will begin with the acquisition of documentary resources. The purchases will concern exclusively retrospective collections of electronic journals, electronic books of the research level, major digitized heritage corpus, or archives of databases. The expected resources will comprise closed groups each of a definitive and perennial purchase. This step of the selection of the resources and identification of the requirements was co-ordinated by the Couperin consortium, and in 2012 it gave rise to:
- An survey to measure the needs of all French members of higher education and research;
- A call to tender to the publishers, who were able to propose their products. This opened tests at the national level.
At the end of the measure of requirements, a steering committee will meet and will proceed to analyse the needs of the researchers in relation to the offers of commercial publishers. After the selection and validation, an initial list of products selected for the first campaign of purchases will be made public. The acquisition of retrospective collections could then be solidified by national licences contracted with the publishers and negociated by the ABES.
The creation of the ISTEX platform will enable all the data to be aggregated and provide access to a unique and exceptional corpus of document resources. The platform will be administered by the INIST-CNRS and will provide users with numerous advantages such as access to full text documents, an efficient search engine, data processing services (data extraction, text mining, etc.) or integration into local digital environments. This tool will enable the various communities concerned to enrich their local portals and dovetail each establishment’s current subscriptions with ISTEX resources. The scientific archives will be accessible at the start of 2014 on the publishers’ websites and via the ISTEX platform in 2015.