Toscana Open Research was created as a tool for accountability, based on a platform for the integration of, and access to, heterogeneous and geographically delocalized sources of data, based on semantic technologies and standard formats that go under the name of Linked Open Data (LOD).
The portal was built using the ONTOP system (ontop.inf.unibz.it/) with an open source approach based on ontologies (Ontology-based Data Access and Integration – OBDA/I), using a relational database and creating a SPARQL endpoint. (language used to “query” integrated datasets in RDF format).
The integration of data through a domain ontology allows users to query data through “queries” (queries) without having to use the technical terminology related to the physical organisation of databases and their complex internal structure.
The existence of a domain ontology that is compliant with international (VIVO) and European (CERIF) standards, totally open and adapted to the Italian context, is absolutely unique. The functional components of the system allow this good practice to offer constantly updated monitoring and analysis (every time the original open data is updated, the system is updated automatically).
The information system also allows a series of real-time benchmarks to map the ecosystem of regional skills and specializations on higher education, research and innovation.
The development activity of Toscanaopenresearch is the result of a process led by the Tuscany Region, supported by IRPET, FST and a technical partner, Siris Academic. There are three crucial steps
- Development of strategic questions for regional policies
- Involvement of the members of the Regional Conference for Research and Innovation
- Synthesis work-out.
Stakeholder contributions were collected through thematic workshops in which representatives of regional departments, universities and research centres, and business associations took part. The contributions were ratified by the members of the Regional Conference for Research and Innovation in Autumn 2017. The published information is therefore the result of a co-design process with the Tuscan R&I stakeholders
To date, mainly open data have been integrated:
- from official sources on Universities and, where present, on Higher Education Schools for tenured and contracted teaching staff and researchers, and for the student population.
- research and development projects financed under the FP7 and Horizon200 direct management programs (source: Cordis database)
It was not possible to integrate the data on the CNR, INFN, INAF, INGV, CREA, ENEA and IIT research centres as the information relating to the specific institutes based in Tuscany was not available in an open format.
The platform is in continuous development through the integration of additional databases, including those owned by the Tuscany Region.