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eResearch Support Services: a cost effective solution for the SA research community. Susan Veldsman SASLI Project coordinator CODATA Workshop 6 September 2005. Outline. Rational and objectives of SARIS Challenges of eResearch Components of eResearch SA Scene? Online Access Open Access

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eresearch support services a cost effective solution for the sa research community

eResearch Support Services:a cost effective solution for the SA research community

Susan Veldsman

SASLI Project coordinator

CODATA Workshop

6 September 2005

  • Rational and objectives of SARIS
  • Challenges of eResearch
  • Components of eResearch
  • SA Scene?
    • Online Access
    • Open Access
    • Digital Curation
    • eScience
  • eResearch Support Services
    • Performance requirements
    • Governance
  • Roll out?
saris rational and objectives
SARIS: rational and objectives
  • Researchers are dependent on access to global research outputs and interactive tools if quality of research is to be maintained
  • Increasing proportions of information and knowledge available online as part of the emerging e-world
  • Two main obstacles: high & increasing cost of
    • Access rights
    • Connectivity
  • Many disconnected small initiatives, which makes scholarly communication disjointed and inaccessible for the majority
  • Need to create a Team SA approach with high level participation and commitment to the interests of all researchers
  • SARIS – focused on online content
the sa research information services saris project
The SA Research Information Services (SARIS) Project
  • Funded by Ford Foundation, via the CSIR
  • Team
    • Roy Page- Shipp, Martie v Deventer (CSIR)
    • Heila Pienaar, Monica Hammes (UPAIS)
    • Susan Veldsman (SASLI), Gwenda Thomas (GAELIC)
    • Fey Reagon (HSRC)
  • Local consultations and workshops
  • Overseas visits to UK, Australia, Brazil, USA, Canada, Indonesia
a wider scope emerges
A wider scope emerges
  • Overseas visits indicated a wider scope – some called it eResearch, so do we!
  • eScience, Digital Curation, Access to content
  • Common infrastructural issues
  • Common researcher support needs
  • All are pre-competitive and lend themselves to joint investment
  • Expand scope to include eResearch Context?
  • Adv Group said OK
challenges of eresearch in the noughties
Challenges of eResearch in the ‘Noughties’
  • Integrate IT and eResearch in the daily work processes of researchers, teachers, and students
  • To take needs of our researchers as the starting point (access to information, study environment, collaboration tools, personalised information, support with statistical databases, information literacy etc.) of what we should be doing
  • To integrate the digital library with the digital learning environment
  • To be actively involved in creating and maintaining institutional repositories and open access as a support tool for researchers
  • This requires a closer connection between libraries ,researchers, IT, government , others? To enhance and support a SA Team approach

Components of eResearch


Digital Curation & Preservation

Access to eContent

Data Transfer

Primary Data Sharing

Tools & applications

Commercial Publishing

Open Access Publishing

by definition this is

Active management of databases including promotion of effective and widespread use of the datasets for their scientific & scholarly useful life

Science employing transfer and sharing of large volumes of data

Making research data available to other researchers

Software that allows manipulation, modeling and analysis of data

Contribution to & use of published resources requiring payment by readers

Contribution to & use of published resources where content is regarded as ‘free’

which requires

Access to remotely held large datasets & high performance computing via affordable high bandwidth

Access to models, source code and open standards

Accessible repositories & quick reference

Preservation & curation repositories & access mechanisms, archival skills & infrastructure

Affordable licenses for researcher access & discovery mechanisms

Serviceable infrastructure for publication and access

Researcher Requires: Perpetual access, Curation, Training, Marketing

Supplier must ensure: Security - Access, Authorization, Authentication

sa scene online access
SA Scene – Online Access
  • Expenditure on online access ~ $18Mpa
  • SASLI doing good work on site-licensing.
  • 2005 savings $50 000 000
  • No high level ‘national’ clout in negotiations. COSALC an ineffective empowerment structure.
  • Publishers still strive to make the rules.
  • Many researchers well-served, others very poorly off. ‘Feast or famine’.
  • Wide range of effective access cost: eg SD $2 - >$84/Full-text Download
  • R recovering but subs €/$-denominated
sa scene open access
SA Scene – Open Access
  • Scattered initiatives – some e-thesis repositories, some e-journals (5 out of 21) (currently 2 are OA )
  • No focus for development of support systems
  • Researchers in bondage to a subsidy system focused on a limited list of peer-reviewed journals
  • Approx 90% of global journals now allow publication in institutional repositories, but we have few* and no incentives to use them
  • DST contemplating legislation to make research results more accessible – followingUK, USA etc
  • SASLI is creating awareness on OA and IR by running regular workshops

* HSRC publishing model is an exception

digital curation
Digital Curation
  • “ … includes but goes beyond that of data archiving and digital preservation, to include the active management and appraisal of data over the life cycle of scholarly and scientific interest”

Dr Peter Burnhill, Director, Digital Curation Centre, Edinburgh, UK

sa scene digital curation
SA Scene – Digital Curation
  • Exponential growth of data – major resource investment
  • Moves to make primary research data accessible, as well as findings
  • Most databases institutionally held (even project level)
  • Data lost in the 80’s/90’s
  • No managed access or promotion of use beyond original data generators
  • SA initiatives
    • SA-ISIS - for spatially related data
    • HSRC - HRD Warehouse
    • SADA in NRF
    • DISA
  • Some moves from DST
  • ‘eScience is about global collaboration in key areas of science, and the next generation of infrastructure that will enable it.’ (includes social science data sets):
  • Purpose is to allow scientists to do faster, different, better research

Prof Tony Hey: Core programme director for UK eScience and chair of JISC committee

sa scene escience
SA Scene – eScience
  • Some researchers (eg Human Genome) battling with global data transfer – VM reporting real threat of isolation
  • Use of data and models across research teams is increasing
  • SANReN is here – linking SA to GéANT, Internet 2, AREN
  • Some potential users will cope, others need help – need for a national Helpdesk
  • eScience a new growth area
eresearch support services performance requirements
eResearch Support Services- Performance Requirements
  • All eResearch support initiatives coherently managed
  • Service support coordinated centrally provided, on contract, by good performers in system
  • Ditto for new developments
  • Energetic adoption of good solutions developed overseas
  • Web-access framework to equalize support to researchers
  • Governance and ownership by TEI and SETI users
proposed structure for eresearch support service for sa
Proposed Structure for eResearch Support Service for SA

eResearch Board

Governance & Management Model

Who will ‘own’ this?

eResearch Development & Innovation


eResearch Service Delivery

  • Future eResearch activities
  • Web Access Framework – eResearch Portal
  • Data Transfer and Sharing (processes and protocols, 3As, helpdesk)
  • Open Access (Standards, common software, institutional repositories)
  • The eResearch Librarian (Training and re-orientation)
  • Digital Curation Services (Standards, software, marketing & training services)


  • Immediately
  • ISP functions
  • NReN Management & Access Support
  • SASLI+

Innovative services move to Service Delivery

Ongoing cost reduction and efficiency improvement

Usually sub-contracted to competent agents in the system

Lead Users Forum

roll out possibilities
Roll – out possibilities
  • DST
  • Consortium stakeholders
    • Ford Foundation
  • Funding possibilities
    • Carnegie
    • DST


Susan Veldsman