Challenges and opportunities of using VIVO as a reporting tool
Due to a number of state and federal regulations and other obligations, publicly funded institutions in Germany have to fulfil a variety of reporting duties. One example of such a regulation is the guideline for transparency in research in the German federal state Lower Saxony. This guideline frames, which information about third party founded research projects has to be made publicly available by the universities in Lower Saxony. Besides the federal bodies, there are also German governmental and European funding agencies like Leibniz Association, European Commission, German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) which demand reports about staff, research activities, infrastructure, and other information.
Compliance with certain standards is another key feature for reporting. For example, the German Science Council asks research institutions to collect research information according to defined standardized criteria (Research Core Data Set, KDSF). The TIB transformed the data model of the KDSF to make it usable in VIVO. CERIF is another standard of high importance for German research institutions.
The Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) – German National Library of Science and Technology has decided to use VIVO for reporting. In the scope of VIVO-KDSF project, an internal VIVO is going to be used for generation of reports in accordance with the KDSF. This poses some technical and ontological challenges to a standard out-of-the-box VIVO.
To allow the use of VIVO in such a context, it has to comply to a set of laws, rules and regulations, e.g. regarding privacy, and protection of employees. These require some information to be visible only to specific user groups. Furthermore, to achieve a high quality of research information, there is a need for validating and editing workflows. To establish these workflows, some developmental work on VIVO has to be done. This includes amongst others an advanced role and rights management and a tool to track changes and who's responsible for them.
On the technical side, for report production a reporting module integrated into VIVO is needed. For now VIVO is not technically geared for reporting, as its basic goal focuses on information representation in the web. VIVO provides a SPARQL query editor which can be used for reports, but it requires deep knowledge of SPARQL and the VIVO data model. a convenient reporting component should include a user interface which can be intuitively operated by administrative staff, normally not familiar with SPARQL. The user interface should offer a number of options to set a single report and offer export of data in different formats like CSV and PDF. Visualization of data in charts and diagrams has to be provided as well.
This poster describes the developments (to be) conducted at the TIB, and the challenges, it has been facing concerning the use of VIVO for reporting.