Published August 19, 2013 | Version v1
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Best Practices for Archival Processing of Research Objects (a librarian view)

  • 1. UPM
  • 2. PSNC


A Research Object is a multidimensional digital object which comprises elements that describe the way research findings are produced since the formulation of a hypothesis, the design and execution of the experiments, the analysis of results and the conclusion makings. The concept of Research Object is largely motivated by the needs to address the actual challenges associated with knowledge communication.

These new digital objects have been defined in the context of the European Wf4Ever project (, focused on the provision of technological support for their preservation and efficient retrieval and reuse.

Following the approach developed by the GeoMAPP’s [1] previous awarded work this document presents a suggested workflow for archival processing of Research Objects. These best practices are for librarians who want to support research preservation with novel techniques and revolutionize their conventional role as document stewards – they can start to preserve not only research data, but also the methods and the documentation of the role of these data and methods in leading to the outcomes reported in digital publications. In particular, these best practices intend to be useful for digital libraries managers and designers of any scientific workflow infrastructure.

The first part of the document offers a brief introduction to OAIS, as it provides the general framework and basis for an archival processing workflow. In the second part, high level storage architecture is presented that supports the multi-phase archival processing workflow. The third part of the document is the major focus, and offers an RO processing workflow based on the OAIS model to receive submissions, archive, and make accessible Research Objects from archival repositories. Some key questions for an RO-infrastructure with regard to each process are presented.

The digital library framework proposed extends the traditional one, mostly used for documents and non- executable digital content, with the notion of dynamic digital objects linked with semantic relations, supporting the evolution of these objects, and with specialized preservation features, such as monitoring of workflow decay or other issues compromising the reproducibility of experiments.

This document provides information at varying levels of detail. We suggest several “trails” through it depending on your interest:

  • If you are already familiar with the notion of ROs, go directly to section 2.
  • If you are interested in the technology needed to storage ROs, read section 3.
  • If you are responsible for a library, read mainly sections 1 and 4.


Document for the Wf4ever Knowledge Base. Document identifier: KH/BP-librarians



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WF4EVER – Advanced Workflow Preservation Technologies for Enhanced Science 270192
European Commission


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  • Producer-Archive Interface Specification (PAIS) Draft Recommended Standard CCSDS 651.1-R-1 (Red Book) Issue 1 February 2012
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