In November 2015 the “eInfrastructure” Unit at the European Commission Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology asked several e-Infrastructure providers to develop a framework for a service portfolio to describe services developed with funding from the directorate. The THOR project participated in the definition of the concepts underlying such a portfolio. The resulting framework can be found here.
One of the goals of THOR is to ensure access to the scholarly record. Research support services are an important component in the overall production of research outputs. They should be preserved, cited, credited, reused and validated just like the other pieces of the research landscape. A service portfolio can play an important role in this.
A central or distributed shared service portfolio can also:
- assist users by
- making services easier to discover and compare;
- making it possible to determine the services’ relevance; and
- identifying overlapping efforts or gaps in the catalogued service landscape. This is particularly true as the portfolio is to be linked to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that enable some evaluation of the services.
- enable funding bodies and commercial providers to
- understand needs for and availability, quality and impact of tools;
- improve the visibility of their investments; and
- improve their uptake.
- assist service providers, such as THOR partners, by
- providing a common interoperable language for our own service descriptions to be shared with others, and, in turn,
- offering a competitive advantage by being able to showcase our products and services together with other EC-funded service providers.
Together with EGI, EUDAT, GEANT, OpenAIRE, and BlueBRIDGE, we have organised two workshops at which we presented the framework. Our workshop at the EGI annual conference in April 2016 was aimed at sharing our current practices, discussing how to harmonise them, and how they and our framework fit with the FitSM standard for IT service management. At DI4R 2016 in September, we continued the discussion by gathering current user experience and requirements for future portfolio development from different communities. This resulted in a set of recommendations to help shape future activities. The workshop at DI4R also enabled us to explore synergies with the MERIL project, which aims to develop a catalogue of openly accessible European research infrastructures (RIs) across disciplines and countries, and tools to analyse the described resources.
The Catalogue of Services framework can feed into the newly funded eInfraCentral H2020 project. eInfraCentral will develop an implementation of a common service catalogue, not just aimed at researchers, but also at industry, government, educators, and citizens; develop access and monitoring tools; and draw policy lessons.
Science today is “Open Science” − a global collaboration across institutions, borders and disciplines, underpinned by sharing scientific artefacts and resources at a scale hitherto inconceivable. Shared digital services are crucial to its success. They amount to a huge investment which must be responsibly developed. A service portfolio will be an important tool in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of service development and uptake.