Developing digital platforms for research

Open science in its broadest sense refers to efforts to make the scientific process more open and inclusive to all relevant actors, within and beyond the scientific community, as enabled by digitalisation (OECD, forthcoming b). It is not only about open access to publication or open data, but is also about access to research infrastructures and related information. This case study has shown that open digital platforms that aggregate RI meta-data and provide a variety of services can have substantial value for a wide range of stakeholders. To develop such platforms effectively, requires careful attention to a number of generic issues:

  • Many RI databases and platforms already exist and before developing new ones a thorough analysis of the existing landscape should be performed, noting that RI platforms should be a long-term investment. There may be opportunities to build on existing initiatives and share experiences.
  • The development of a set of concise, rational and prioritised objectives that address key questions for the initiative (what it is, who and what it is for), is important for engaging key stakeholders, and should guide the continuous development of the RI platform
  • The amount of data-related work for such initiatives should not be underestimated. It is important to define a reasonable scope of data collection based on the needs of key stakeholders and the available resources. For good data acquisition and maintenance, it is important to keep strong and constant engagement with stakeholders, especially data providers. Shared objectives can help here, though many initiatives pointed out the need for additional incentive mechanisms. Data expansion is natural considering the evolving nature of RIs, and this needs to be aligned with the overall objectives and stakeholder needs
  • Besides providing simple information, digital RI platforms have the potential for delivering many additional added value services. To do so, it is important to understand who the users are and what works for them
  • Data and platforms are valuable assets. It is important for the initiatives to consider how they can create value from such assets, as this will help to engage stakeholder in a more meaningful and proactive way. A well-defined business model, including value propositions for different actors, can provide a foundation for evaluation and long-term sustainability
  • Emerging digital tools open up new possibilities for more efficient data-related work or more value-add services. However, their adoption also requires foresight, planning and investment and the process of implementation may be complicated
  • International co-ordination around standards and interoperability is necessary. This is important for cross-border collaboration in the provision and use of RIs and for automation of data management processes. It should encompass not only terminologies and parameters of data, but also practices for RI identification and data curation across nations.