(A Spanish translation is available here).
Talking about next generation metadata in the context of different application areas
During the Spanish round table session on next generation metadata (NGM), last March, participants expressed the wish to see OCLC help them organize follow-up discussions to continue the landscape analysis of the NGM projects and the conversation on collaboration in Spain.
At the follow-up meeting, in September, participants discussed possible next steps and agreed to hold a series of virtual discussions, in Spanish, focusing on three application areas of NGM:
- Research Information Management (RIM) and Scholarly Communications
- Cultural Heritage
- The (non-scholarly) book supply chain
My colleague Francesc García Grimau from the OCLC office in Spain and I hosted the session on RIM and Scholarly Communications on the 3rd of November. Below you can read a short report of this session. However, let me first put this session into an historical perspective, to show that the conversation with Spanish research libraries about their involvement in RIM-related activities pre-dates the NGM round tables.
There is a longer story to this: registering researchers in Spain
From the March session, we heard that some of the major university libraries in Spain are enriching their local name authority file with persistent identifiers (PIDs) and feeding external systems – such as the local university’s research portal or the ORCID database – with library authority file and bibliographic data. These efforts are reminiscent of the recommended practices published by the OCLC Research Task Group in 2014, under the title “Registering Researchers in Authority Files”. This report was an early attempt to outline the then newly emerging multi-stakeholder RIM landscape and to foreground the central role of the researcher identifier in RIM dataflows. In some parts of Spain, libraries took heed of the recommended practices and invited us to take stock of their efforts, during a workshop hosted by CSUC (Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya) in December 2019. Karen Smith-Yoshimura and I reported back on the workshop in this blog. The demand for greater visibility of researchers’ data came from policy mandates (at institutional or autonomous community level) and the researchers themselves. The main concern was that all the behind-the-scenes work carried out by libraries needed to be better aligned and more visible in order to get commitment and resources from university leadership. Already then, collaboration was called for to help address some of the common issues and lead to guidelines, best practices, and more efficient workflows. Already then, two library collaboration networks were named as most relevant in this context: Dialnet (the network centered around the Portal of Hispanic scientific literature) and REBIUN (the Network of Spanish University Libraries).
Continuing the conversation: libraries’ RIM-related efforts in Spain
In a way, we picked up the thread again during our November 3rd NGM session on RIM and scholarly communication. For this session, we invited the main stakeholders and projects which our participants thought needed to be represented at the table: these included university libraries from different regions and cities of the country (a.o. Barcelona, Balearic Islands, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Madrid, Basque Country, and La Rioja), the National Library of Spain, and several players in the scholarly communications arena, such as CrossRef, ORCID and DataCite.
Concepts and analytical tools to help support our conversation
To get us started, I gave an update of our OCLC Research on RIM practices and the increasing role of libraries. A new report, detailing work led by Rebecca Bryant, on RIM at US Institutions was not yet out – but I could give a sneak preview and elaborated on definitions of – and differences between – RIM, scholarly communications, and research data management (RDM). The demarcations are fluid and evolving, but it is especially helpful to distinguish between the terms when talking about the purpose of a given project or system. When comparing different projects or systems it helps determining to what extent there is overlap and if collaboration might help achieve synergies and efficiencies. The six use cases that can be supported by RIM systems (see Figure 2), as detailed in the new report, and the RIM system framework, are useful conceptual and analytical tools for this type of exercise. Even though it was too premature to be able to use them during this session, it was a first step to become acquainted with them.
We then zeroed in on three Spanish initiatives that are considered most promising in terms of being able to mobilize community and/or achieve more concerted action: the REBIUN initiative, the Dialnet projects, and Hércules.
REBIUN: towards a union catalog of researcher identities
Almudena Cotoner (University of the Balearic Islands) presented the RDA application profile for the creation or enrichment of the authority records of teaching and research staff from Spanish universities. The profile was published this year by the RDA working group of REBIUN. The objective is to provide a cataloging guide for libraries who wish to make their MARC-based authority records ready for a linked data environment. To that end, the profile promotes the use of multiple identifiers, URIs, and URLs pointing to as many standards, information sources, data-hubs and reference sites as possible. In the longer term, when most university libraries in Spain will have adopted and implemented the profile, the vision is to integrate all the local authority files into a single, union catalog of academic and research staff in Spain. This catalog could serve multiple purposes: greater national and international visibility of Spanish researchers; access to their scholarly outputs; statistics about their presence in external hubs or platforms, such as VIAF, GoogleScholar, ResearchGate, etc. Currently, the profile is implemented by all university libraries of the RDA Working Group.
Dialnet: from supporting scholarly discovery to supporting RIM needs
Joaquín León (University of Rioja) presented on the latest Dialnet developments. As a reminder: the Dialnet-database collects data about Spanish/Portuguese/Latin-American researchers and their outputs, irrespective of their country of affiliation. Joaquín told us about Dialnet Metrics: a new service, still in beta, which aims to support the evaluation of both scientific journals and researchers by measuring their visibility, prestige and impact. To this end, it is developing a set of productivity and impact indicators and metrics, based on references and citations data collected over a wide range of years. These metrics are meant to complement the existing metrics from Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar, and address gaps that are common in these platforms, in particular under-representation of Spanish language publications and of the humanities and social sciences. Joaquín also mentioned Dialnet CRIS, which offers CRIS-software that can easily interoperate with institutional subsets of the data available from the underlying Dialnet bibliographic and metrics databases. The goal is to facilitate institutional access to the data and support institutional RIM-workflows. Currently the Dialnet CRIS is implemented at eight Spanish universities, with another eight in progress.
Hércules: a new RIM-initiative with national ambitions
Reyes Hernández-Mora Martínez (University of Murcia) presented Hércules, a €5.4M project, which is promoted by the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) and co-financed by the EU. Twenty universities participate in the Hercules initiative. The objective is to rationalize RIM in Spain, in order to facilitate the management of research costs and public investment, strengthen the dissemination and transfer of scientific knowledge, monitor open access to research results and identify collaboration opportunities between universities. Rationalization is aimed at through the development of CRIS software and a semantic RIM layer to be deployed at the country level. For the latter, an interconnected, linked data network of ontologies is being developed, based on the international RIM-standards VIVO and CERIF. The architecture of the semantic layer is designed to support the synchronization, enrichment and publication as linked data, of the RIM-data made available by the different university CRIS systems. The aim is to build an infrastructure which will support most RIM use cases and functions necessary at the institutional and national levels. Currently, pilots are running at two universities in Spain.
Connecting the dots … or the projects?
For the participants, the project presentations were very interesting and for many, the presentation of project Hércules was new. The similarity between the library data projects and the more RIM-related projects were evident as was the need to link them up. We attempted to classify the three initiatives (and some others that were inventoried previously) in a way that could reveal how this connecting might be most useful: by characterizing them by the type of data they focus on (bibliographic or bibliometric) and the scope of the data covered (institutional, regional, national, international):
|||Library authority and bibliographic data||RIM and bibliometric data|
|Institutional|| Portal del Investigador de la UCM; |
There are many more Researcher Portals run by university libraries in Spain.
| Dialnet CRIS (e.g. Portal Bibliométrico UCM) |
Hércules CRIS (e.g. at University of Murcia)
There are many more CRIS systems in use at Spanish universities.
|Regional|| Autores Baleares |
Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert
| Portal de la Recerca de Catalunya |
Sistema de Información Científica de Andalucía …
|National|| REBIUN RDA-application profile|
Future Shared Catalog of Name Authorities of REBIUN
Dialnet Portal Datos-BNE
| Dialnet métricas |
Hércules-semantic layer …
|International|| Dialnet Portal |
OCLC Shared Entity Management Infrastructure (SEMI)
| Dialnet métricas |
This table can help projects and existing services decide which other projects/services to connect their data with. For example:
- Interconnecting data vertically from the institutional scale (Professors UB) to larger scales (Catalan Researcher Portal, Dialnet, and internationally with OCLC SEMI), for consistency of the data across systems and discovery at larger scales.
- Interconnecting semantic models horizontally (e.g., the Hércules semantic layer, the Dialnet ontologies, and the REBIUN RDA-Application Profile for academics), to facilitate the navigation across different semantic systems using the same data about researchers and their outputs.
To be continued …
Time flew and we had to end the discussion prematurely. Most participants must have left the session with many new and unanswered questions: about the projects presented, about the opportunities and desirability to connect and collaborate, and about next steps? This was clearly a discussion to be continued. We will return to the participants with a proposal for next steps. And we are preparing the next session on Cultural Heritage data, which promises to be a completely different conversation!
Titia van der Werf is a Senior Program Officer in OCLC Research based in OCLC’s Leiden office. Titia coordinates and extends OCLC Research work throughout Europe and has special responsibilities for interactions with OCLC Research Library Partners in Europe. She represents OCLC in European and international library and cultural heritage venues.