CORE Data Provider’s Guide
CORE Data Provider’s Guide

1. Who is this document for?

These guidelines aim to assist institutions and repository managers in configuring their harvesting via CORE. Content indexed by CORE is made more visible to the researcher community. Millions of users access CORE papers monthly, and many thousands of researchers do research using the CORE API and Dataset. This document aims to ensure each repository is harvested to maximum effect. By reading and following the instructions in this article, repository managers can ensure their institutional research content and relevant metadata, are visible to the world.

2. Terminology

This section provides clarifications on the meaning of the terms used within this document.

  • Data provider: an institutional repository, journal, preprint server, etc. exposing content to CORE.
  • Repository: In this document, we use the term repository to denote the software platform of data providers. As a result, we sometimes use the term repository not only to refer to software platforms of institutional repositories but also to refer to platforms of journals and preprint servers.
  • Landing page: An HTML page in a repository where one typically enters when accessing a scholarly publication and from which one can access the associated resources.
  • Full text: The research manuscript.
  • Content: Refers to any data supplied by the data provider including metadata and full text.
  • Record: Metadata describing a single scholarly resource exposed by a repository
  • Resource: Any Web resource, such as an identifier, file or a webpage.
  • Rioxx: The Research Outputs Metadata Schema (Rioxx) was developed for institutional repositories to share metadata about the scholarly resources they contain.

3. Requirements and guidelines for indexing repository content

The following section details requirements and guidelines to ensure repositories are best configured for indexing with CORE.

3.1 Repository configuration

3.1.1 Ensuring your repository is visible via OAI-PMH (Required)

CORE uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to regularly harvest and update the information it holds about its data providers. In order to get indexed, CORE data providers must expose information about their resources via OAI-PMH.

It is a relatively common problem that the OAI-PMH endpoint of the data provider is misconfigured or not functional. This can occur even when other functionalities of the repository appear to be working without issues. It is therefore important that repositories monitor that their OAI-PMH endpoint remains functional. This can be done in several ways.

3.1.2 Data providers considering registration with CORE

Can use the Open Archives OAI-PMH validator tool. The tool expects an HTTP(s) URI of the OAI-PMH endpoint (also called the OAI-PMH base URL) and conducts a number of checks to assess the validity and correct configuration of the endpoint. If the validator returns errors, then these will need to be fixed prior to getting registered with CORE. It is advised that this step is conducted prior to attempting registration with CORE.


Figure 2: Sample OAI-PMH validation check for University of Manchester

Data providers registering with CORE

Can visit the CORE data provider registration page and enter their OAI-PMH base URL. If the OAI-PMH base URL is valid, then the repository will be registered in CORE, subject to additional checks described in Section 4.1. It is important to note that checking that the OAI-PMH endpoint is configured correctly does not guarantee that it correctly exposes all the metadata records from the repository system. This can only be checked once CORE has attempted harvesting of the repository. 

Data providers already registered in CORE

Registered data providers can claim access to the CORE Dashboard in accordance with the procedure described in Section 4.2. The Dashboard provides access to a harvesting report, which includes information such as, the last time of successful harvesting, the number of metadata and full text records found and indexed, any errors or warnings encountered during the harvesting process. 


Figure 1. Sample Dashboard harvesting information for the Open University repository, Open Research Online

It is not uncommon for the number of indexed metadata records in CORE to be slightly different from the number that the data provider might see in their repository system, as the Dashboard provides an independent outside view of the repository. Deviations can occur due to a number of reasons, such as your repository not exposing all records through its OAI-PMH interface, some records being disabled or their metadata not meeting the minimum quality requirements. As a result, we recommend that data providers regularly check and resolve any errors and warnings indicated on the Dashboard.

3.1.3 Use of OAI-PMH sets (Required)

OAI-PMH allows data providers to segment the content of their repository flexibly. CORE can use the capabilities of OAI-PMH selective harvesting to limit harvesting requests to portions of the metadata available from a repository. It is recommended that if repositories want CORE to limit its indexing only to a portion of the repository, then they should contact the CORE team for support.

3.1.4 OAI identifiers (Required)

An OAI (Open Archives Initiative) identifier is a unique identifier of a metadata record minted in a decentralised manner. OAI identifiers are formed using a globally unique prefix and a locally unique suffix. Together they form a globally unique identifier of a metadata record.


Figure 2. OAI identifier

CORE registers OAI identifiers supplied by repositories during the harvesting process and use them to deliver a global OAI Resolver service. The use of OAI Identifiers is automatic for data providers supporting OAI-PMH. However, it is important that these identifiers are correctly managed. Specifically:

  • Every metadata record indexed by CORE must have an OAI ID.
  • Repositories that declare their level of support for deleted documents in the deletedRecord element of the Identify response as persistent. CORE recommends repositories to provide this persistent level of support. CORE recommends that  repositories never regenerate OAI IDs for their records, for instance during migration to new repository software, previously assigned OAI IDs should remain unchanged.
  • Data providers should register their OAI prefix and mapping on the Settings tab of the CORE Dashboard. This will prevent OAI ID conflicts and ensure that the OAI Resolver service can correctly link resources supplied by your repository to their respective repository landing page.

OAI IDs will resolve to the landing page of the repository when configured correctly. If the OAI Resolver is misconfigured for your repository, then linking to your content might produce errors. If your repository does not support linking to landing pages via the OAI Resolver or you disable it for your repository, then CORE will resolve OAI IDs to the version of the record in CORE (instead of linking to your repository).

3.1.5 Access for machine agents - (Required)

A robots.txt file provides a commonly used mechanism with which the webmaster can limit access to a website for machine agents, such as crawlers, and control the load on the server. The CORE agent obeys information in the robots.txt file. As a result, if the repository has a robots.txt file, then the CORE agent must be allowed access.

It is therefore important that:

  • The “core” agent is allowed to access the repository, including the landing pages and the full text files
  • No crawl-delay should be specified for the “core” agent. As repositories often contain tens of thousands of records, it is important to understand that a crawl-delay of just 10s, could result in the inability to harvest the repository within a reasonable time frame. This is also why some search engines, such as Google, ignore this directive.

3.1.6 Repository registration in open registries (Recommended)

CORE uses established open registries of repositories, such as OpenDOAR, to identify new data providers of open access content. It is therefore advisable that your repository is included in an international repositories list and that the OAI-PMH base URL is kept up to date in that registry. Apart from repositories, CORE also automatically indexes content from journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals, several preprint servers and scholarly works that have PIDs registered in Crossref.

3.1.7 Meta-tags (Recommended)

Meta-tags describe webpage content using code, which makes the content visible to machines rather than humans. Crawlers of harvesting services, like CORE, rely on meta-tags in the webpage to be able to determine if the page they are on represents a scholarly document. There is a helpful list of meta-tags that are useful to aggregators here. Failure to add meta-tags may result in crawlers making guesses about the content, or completely omitting it.

The meta-tags CORE recommends are:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Publication date
  • Journal title (or conference title)
  • Publisher, that is, the institution (for theses and dissertations)

3.2 Metadata Configuration

In order for CORE to harvest a repository successfully, the repository must have an OAI-PMH compliant endpoint as previously discussed. Most common software such as EPrints, DSpace or Open Journal Systems (OJS) support OAI-PMH. In addition to this, ensuring the metadata for the repository’s records are correct and in a supported format is critical to successful indexing. 

3.2.1 Supported application profiles (Required)

Several standard metadata formats for describing scholarly documents are supported by CORE. The metadata must, as a minimum, be exposed in one of the following application profiles: 

i. Dublin Core / Extended Dublin Core (Minimum)

Dublin Core is one of the simplest and most widely used metadata schemas. An extended version was formalised as the DCMI Metadata terms in 2020, with approximately 70 data fields. While Dublin Core and Extended Dublin Core are sufficient for getting indexed in CORE, the schema provides only limited capabilities for describing scholarly resources compared to OpenAIRE Guidelines and Rioxx.

ii. OpenAIRE Guidelines (Supported)

The OpenAIRE Guidelines were established to support the Open Access strategy of the European Commission and to meet the requirements of the OpenAIRE infrastructure. This new version of the Guidelines, according to the expansion of the aims of the OpenAIRE initiative and its infrastructure, has a broader scope. By implementing these Guidelines, repository managers will enable authors who deposit publications in their repository to fulfil the EC Open Access requirements.

iii. RIOXX v3 (Recommended)

CORE recommends that repositories use RIOXX v3, which we consider to be the most suitable metadata application profile for describing scholarly research outputs. Rioxx: The Research Outputs Metadata Schema was developed for institutional repositories to share metadata about the scholarly resources they contain. Originally designed to meet the reporting requirements of Research Councils UK (RCUK), Rioxx has also proved to be useful as a standard for sharing metadata between repositories and network services such as large-scale metadata aggregators like CORE. Rioxx focuses on applying consistency to the metadata fields used for identifiers of scholarly outputs, people and organisations, research funders and project/grants, and is designed to support the consistent tracking of open-access research publications across scholarly systems.

Rioxx has several benefits over other schemas, including:

  • It has been designed with a particular focus on enabling efficient data exchange between repositories and machine agents, making harvesting run faster and more accurately due to avoiding ambiguity in linking metadata describing resources, such as full texts, datasets and software, and the resources themselves.
  • It provides comprehensive capabilities for describing a wide range of scholarly properties useful in reporting and analysing research, such as grant IDs, project IDs, funder IDs, licensing information, etc.
  • The Rioxx schema is compatible with and logically integrates with other protocols for machine access to scholarly documents, specifically Signposting and ResourceSync.
  • It provides mechanisms for distinguishing resources under the custodianship of the repository from those under external custodianship, enabling CORE to prefer linking to the repository where possible (and appropriate) instead of linking externally to the publisher's website.

CORE provides a metadata validator for data providers supporting Rioxx in the CORE Dashboard.


Figure 3: Rioxx metadata validation tool in CORE Dashboard

3.3 Full text configuration

A number of powerful capabilities of CORE are derived from CORE’s ability to index full text content. These include full text search (CORE Search), full text-based recommendation of content (CORE Recommender), helping researchers to discover full text open access content when they hit a paywall (CORE Discovery), the provision of full text links to repositories from within PubMed (Repository Discovery Boost), detection of versions and duplicate content (Versions and Duplicates Detection), detection of Rights retention Strategy Statements, and others.

3.3.1 Supported full-text formats (Required)

CORE only supports valid PDFs, doc or docx files where there is extractable text. If a PDF is not digitally born, e.g. it is a scan, then the use of the document in CORE will be limited. 

3.3.2 Same-domain policy for hosting full texts (Required)

CORE requires that the full text must be hosted on the same domain or subdomains as the OAI-PMH endpoint. This is to ensure that content of other external data providers linked from the repository is not treated as content belonging to the repository. Exceptions are made where the domain is owned by the same organisation. We advise data providers to contact us in those circumstances.

Example Scenario

Same domain hosting

The fictional organisation “We Love Open Access”, has an OAI-PMH endpoint at By default, CORE accepts any papers hosted as follows:

  • Notice that the files and the OAI-PMH endpoint are hosted on the same domain (

Subdomain hosting

We can accept the following setup, but please contact us to allow a specific exception:

  • (with exception)
  • (with exception)

Out-of-domain hosting with a dedicated repository content section

We may also accept where there is a clear link between the owner of the OAI-PMH and the hosting website:

  • (with exception and proof of ownership)

Out-of-domain hosting

CORE does not support this option.


CORE does not allow indexing full texts hosted on shared services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive.

  •… or… or

3.3.3 Linking to the full text of an article

For CORE to successfully index full text content, it must be linked in one of the following ways:

i. Direct link to the full text (Recommended)

CORE recommends that data providers provide an unambiguous link to the full text in the metadata. The correct linking strategy depends on the employed metadata schema.

Dublin Core (Minimum)

Where Dublin Core is used, it is recommended to provide a direct link to the full text in the first occurrence of dc:identifier.


EPrints follows this recommendation by default. This approach significantly reduces the load that CORE places on the repository during indexing.

If this is not possible, then CORE can index the content if there is a well-defined link in the metadata that directs to a machine-accessible document (either PDF, or Microsoft Word doc/docx format). 

Rioxx v3 (Recommended)

In Rioxx v3, the data provider links to the landing page in dc:identifier and the lists the direct link to the full text in dc:relation specifying the rel=”item” property with the type=”application/pdf”












<dc:relation rel="cite-as"></dc:relation>

3.3.4 FAIR Signposting (Recommended)

Pages that host scholarly articles are designed with human viewers in mind, those pages are not optimised for use by machine agents that navigate the scholarly web. Signposting caters to machine agents by providing metadata, links to documents and more, in a standards-based way, using Typed Links as a means to clarify patterns that occur repeatedly in scholarly portals.

As an administrator of a repository platform that hosts research outputs, you can help machines to navigate the information systems you manage by implementing the FAIR Signposting Profile that provides concrete recipes aimed at uniformity across systems.

Signposting has especially significant benefits in the case of indirect linking. It allows CORE to navigate from the landing page to the resources in an unambiguous and efficient manner using HTTP Headers.

4. Registering a data provider with CORE

Below details the steps required to register your repository with CORE. Once set up, indexing repository content becomes largely automatic - no additional human input is usually required. 

4.1 Submitting the data provider OAI base URL (Required)

Open the CORE website page for new data providers. Click on the "Join Now" button on the CORE webpage to request that you are included as a new data provider.

In the form, you will be asked to provide your OAI-PMH based URL and your institutional email address. Start by submitting the OAI base URL of your data provider into the provided form. CORE has an automatic system that guesses the OAI URL from your normal URL, so if you don’t know the URL at first you can try to use your repository homepage URL first.

Next, add the email address of the contact person. This email address will be used by CORE to notify the contact once the repository has been included in CORE and harvested for the first time.

4.2 Indexing the data provider’s content

Once registered, CORE will begin indexing your content. The time required for this process can vary. Repositories are placed in an indexing queue and scheduled for harvesting according to a range of criteria.

Several factors can influence the speed of harvesting, including the size of your repository (larger repositories may take longer to process), technical issues (any technical issues that arise during the process can cause delays), and system workload. i.e. the overall workload on the CORE system at the time of your request. All these may affect how quickly CORE can process a new repository.

Once the harvesting process has been completed, CORE will send a notification to the designated contact. This email will contain a link to the data provider's CORE profile page. Note that the repository content will only be visible on the CORE website after the harvesting process has been entirely finished. Once this has completed, the repository manager can claim access to the CORE Dashboard account.

4.3 Claiming access to the CORE Dashboard (Recommended)

The CORE Dashboard offers various tools for repository management, content enrichment, metadata quality assessment, and open access compliance checking. Repository managers are invited to gain free access to the CORE Dashboard. The claiming procedure requires that the authenticity of the repository manager is validated by means of confirming access to the email address of the registered contact listed in the OAI-PMH administrator field. Once validated, access to the CORE Dashboard is granted.

The Dashboard also provides the opportunity to check and to revise your OAI-PMH base URL, link your repository ROR ID, register your OAI prefix for the CORE OAI Resolver and to upload the data provider’s logo used across the CORE services ecosystem.

5. How does CORE process data supplied by Data Providers

CORE is a not-for-profit open scholarly infrastructure service dedicated to the open access and open science mission and a subscriber to the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructures (POSI). CORE’s mission is to index all research worldwide and deliver unrestricted access for all.

CORE endeavours to index research papers and associated data, such as information about datasets and research software, that the CORE crawler discovers on the Web.

CORE supports and follows industry practices used by crawlers and search engines to locate and access the resources it indexes. These standards include robots.txt, which can be used by repository managers to control which resources within the Data Providers systems can be accessed by the core indexing agent.

CORE promotes and advocates for the use of machine-readable licencing descriptions. In particular, we advise the use of the NISO Access License and Indicators (ALI) Schema. This schema is supported, for instance, by the Rioxx v3+ metadata schema, which is the recommended metadata standard for CORE. We advise Data Providers with complex licensing arrangements to adopt Rioxx and the ALI schema.

CORE Data Providers can also freely register for the CORE Dashboard to control which of and how their content is indexed in CORE.

The Data provider-supplied OAI identifiers for metadata records are automatically identified and registered with CORE for resolution in the CORE OAI Resolver. We advise that repositories check the configuration of OAI resolution to their repository on the Settings tab in the CORE Dashboard. This provides repositories with a free decentralised identifier (which can be managed as a persistent identifier (PID)) for their metadata records. The registered OAIs resolve to the landing pages in Data Providers systems and the OAI resolver is used throughout the CORE ecosystem, including in CORE Search, to maintain and acknowledge the provenance of the supplied information.

6. Further reading

The objective of this document was to document the requirements and guidelines for data providers, helping them to understand what they need to do in order to get content indexed.

For further details on the way CORE operates, we refer you to the below publication.

For further information about features offered by the CORE Dashboard, access the CORE Membership documentation.

For information about any other CORE services, such as the CORE API, Dataset, Discovery, etc. visit the CORE Services page.