This post is authored by Hanna-Mari Puuska and Tommi Suominen, CSC – IT Center for Science, Finland
The Finnish Research Information Hub collects and connects information of Finnish research from various sources. It was launched at www.research.fi on June 9, 2020.
Vast amounts of research metadata reside in different research organizations’, research funders’, and other stakeholders’ databases and systems. The metadata on publications, research data, projects, and infrastructures are typically fragmented in silos behind organizational or topical boundaries. This makes finding research more difficult than it needs to be.
The aim of the Finnish Research Information Hub is twofold: 1) to collect and connect information of Finnish research and provide it in a single access point, and 2) to lessen researchers’ reporting and administrative work through smooth information flows between systems.
The new Research.fi portal.
Research.fi as the gateway to Finnish research
The first goal is supported by making all information openly available and accessed in one place. This benefits researchers and research organizations and also various user groups such as citizens, media, and businesses interested in Finnish research. The first version of Research.fi provides information on publications, funding decisions, research infrastructures, and research organizations. The service also displays research news from Finnish research organizations. Besides, the portal contains a comprehensive set of facts and figures, interesting visualizations, and bibliometric analyses about the Finnish research and innovation system.
Visualization of the development of university teaching and research staff FTEs in Finland. [Source]
The Finnish Research Information Hub facilitates the information flows
The second goal means constructing smooth data flows between research organizations, funding agencies, and other services used by researchers. Through the Finnish Research Information Hub, information stored in one organization’s system is also available to others. Efficient data flows benefit researchers in their daily work but also help research organizations, funding agencies, and other administrative bodies to get consistent and reliable information.
This is just the beginning, with exciting new features on the way. In this first release of Research.fi, the emphasis is on collecting information. The next phase will focus on connecting information through the increased use of persistent identifiers and semantic annotation of content. This will result in improved search and visualization capabilities in Research.fi. Also, coverage of the Finnish research sector will increase as more research organizations and funders start providing data. The service will also start harvesting metadata on research data, for example, from the national Fairdata services. This will further improve the ground for researchers to gain recognition for opening their data.
ORCID plays an important role in the next big step
The users and stakeholders of the Finnish Research Information Hub have highlighted the need to find experts on particular research topics. In the next major release, the most significant new feature of Research.fi will be the researcher profiles. ORCID iDs will play a central role here. In 2021, the service will introduce a dedicated “my data service,” which enables researchers to create their profiles in Research.fi by signing in with their ORCID accounts. To avoid “yet another profile to maintain,” no content will be entered or edited manually but will be transferred from existing sources. Researchers can connect their information both from ORCID and their home organizations’ CRISes. After researchers give their consent, the information will be automatically imported from the preferred sources.
Information on researchers include, for example, names, affiliations, contact details, education, expertise, scientific merits, and awards. Also, the researchers will be able to connect previously collected publications, research data, and projects in Research.fi to their profile, even if an ORCID iD was not provided at the time of their collection.
Figure 3. Researcher profile Proof of Concept in Research.fi with data imported from ORCID
The Research Information Hub provides a way to share researchers’ information between different stakeholders. The researchers can choose what information they want to display on Research.fi and decide which third parties (e.g., funders or universities) their information may be disclosed to.
The aim is that after the introduction of the “my data service” in 2021, Research.fi will comprehensively provide information on researchers and research activities from different fields in Finland.
The Finnish Research Information Hub service is owned by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and it is developed on commission by CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd. CSC carries out the work in close cooperation with higher education institutions, other research organizations, funding agencies, and other research actors in Finland and abroad.