Journal article Open Access

Mapping heterogeneous research infrastructure metadata into a unified catalogue for use in a generic virtual research environment

Martin, Paul; Remy, Laurent; Theodoridou, Maria; Jeffery, Keith; Zhao, Zhiming


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    <dcat:keyword>Virtual research environment</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>Science gateway</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>Research infrastructure</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>Metadata catalogue</dcat:keyword>
    <dcat:keyword>Metadata mapping</dcat:keyword>
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    <dct:description>&lt;p&gt;Virtual Research Environments (VREs), also known as science gateways or virtual laboratories, assist researchers&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;in data science by integrating tools for data discovery, data retrieval, workflow management&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;and researcher collaboration, often coupled with a specific computing infrastructure. Recently, the push&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;for better open data science has led to the creation of a variety of dedicated research infrastructures&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;(RIs) that gather data and provide services to different research communities, all of which can be used&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;independently of any specific VRE. There is therefore a need for generic VREs that can be coupled&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;with the resources of many different RIs simultaneously, easily customised to the needs of specific&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;communities. The resource metadata produced by these RIs rarely all adhere to any one standard&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;or vocabulary however, making it difficult to search and discover resources independently of their&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;providers without some translation into a common framework. Cross-RI search can be expedited by&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;using mapping services that harvest RI-published metadata to build unified resource catalogues, but&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;the development and operation of such services pose a number of challenges.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;In this paper, we discuss some of these challenges and look specifically at the VRE4EIC Metadata&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Portal, which uses X3ML mappings to build a single catalogue for describing data products and other&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;resources provided by multiple RIs. The Metadata Portal was built in accordance to the e-VRE Reference&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;Architecture, a microservice-based architecture for generic modular VREs, and uses the CERIF standard&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;to structure its catalogued metadata. We consider the extent to which it addresses the challenges of&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;cross-RI search, particularly in the environmental and earth science domain, and how it can be further&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;augmented, for example to take advantage of linked vocabularies to provide more intelligent semantic&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;search across multiple domains of discourse.&lt;/p&gt;</dct:description>
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