Building the National Research Information Hub requires comprehensive collaboration

Currently, research metadata is being collected to several different organization specific, national and international data warehouses and other systems. Now, finally, we are moving towards an era where information once filed in one system automatically transfer to other systems as well, and several rounds of laborious information entering are no longer required. Let the powerful servers, fast web and machine-readable interfaces fulfil their duties. 

In practice, building a seamlessly working system to transfer large amounts of metadata of various types is not simple. To succeed in this task, a comprehensive collaboration between different participants is required, as well as common experience about why such system is needed. Regarding the National Research Information Hub, these questions are taken upon by the steering group. The steering group consists of experts in the field, and their task is to monitor and coordinate the national level collaboration. The National Research Information hub’s steering group gets together six times during 2018. After every meeting, a short summary of the most important discussion points will be shared here in the Research Information Hub’s blog.

The latest steering group meeting (8.2.2018) contemplated why Finland should invest in a national research information hub. Some of the already known user cases and concrete benefits  were discussed. For example, when a researcher is applying for funding, (s)he can utilize the hub’s information content by selecting from a personalized drop-down menu on what information will be shared directly to the funding organization. This is a clear advantage of the hub since often researchers have to manually enter the same, e.g. publication information, tens, if not even hundreds of times (e.g. when applying for funding, writing research reports i.e.).  As a matter of fact, the option to search and automatically include one’s publication information from VIRTA publication information service does already exist, but only for Academy Finland related reporting.  The steering group decided that in future publication information can be also utilized when applying for CSC computing services.

The steering group also discussed researcher’s identity recognition. This is a vital condition for the hub, since the right meta-information needs to be able to be connected to the right researcher. Traditionally, researcher recognition has leaned on researchers’ name. However, there can exist several researchers with the same name, one can use different name combinations in different contexts or the name can change along the way. An internationally developed solution to this problem is a persistent digital identifier ORCID. Over 4 million researchers worldwide have already registered with ORCID. The steering group aims to advocate the benefits of ORCID in Finland. A range of possible benefits and use cases where introduced in the meeting. You can read more about ORCID from here.

The full memo from the latest steering group meeting can be read here (in Finnish only).

More information about ORCID can be read in and

ORCID use cases discussed in the Research Information Hub steering group meeting can be read here (in Finnish only).

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