This is the second in a series of posts we are publishing to keep you informed and involved in the development of the SSH Open Marketplace. We want to ensure that the service is useful for the community, and that we receive the feedback necessary to improve it.
In our last post we provided an overview of the SSH Open Marketplace and development timeline, and we stressed why we need your participation in its creation. In this post, we focus on the main concern of a user entering any marketplace: Will I discover what I am looking for? And we pose an important question: What content do you want to see included in the SSH Open Marketplace?
What do we mean by content?
By content we do not refer exclusively to tools or web services, as is often the case, but also to data sets, tutorials, training materials, articles or even other types of material. Content can be anything that contributes to or is part of a research process in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The format or type does not matter, as long as it is digitally available. We are aware that this is an ambitious definition.
Initial and upcoming content
As the marketplace is intended to meet user needs, an important aspect of the design phase was the exchange with researchers and research support staff from the Social Sciences and Humanities. From that we compiled a prioritised content population plan with three main phases:
Initial onboarding phase
Between project initiation and the Alpha release in June 2020 we will primarily ingest well-known content collections. Some 1,500 individual resources have so far been selected and will constitute the minimum viable product. The most important sources are TAPoR, Programming Historian and the Standardization Survival Kit (SSK) from the PARTHENOS project.
TAPoR, led by Geoffrey Rockwell, is a well-recognised and fairly comprehensive registry of the digital humanities tools . In 2018, data from the DiRT directory were integrated and include a curated list of research tools for studying texts and a discovery interface.
From the Programming Historian, we present content as tutorials accompanied by contextualised content. We define contextualised content as supporting information such as software tutorials, related academic articles, and other useful resources. We adopt the same approach for the Standardization Survival Kit, a collection presented as research scenarios.
Extended population phase
Community feedback received during the Alpha release will inform our efforts to add further content to the Marketplace. We will also build on the experience of the initial onboarding phase to develop tools and strategies to handle as many sources as possible. Nevertheless, we expect many challenges particularly as regards “not- so- obvious sources” where only parts of the content are relevant to our users.
High quality source metadata and standardised vocabularies to tag the content (such as TaDiRAH) will allow for seamless integration. The application of the FAIR data principles at the source is therefore a helpful pre-condition for us.
Equally, as long as there are well-documented data models and machine-readable APIs (that also offer readability of the scheme in use) at hand, regular and automatic content updates will be possible. Otherwise, a very detailed analysis process will need to be initiated, and the content mapped to the data model manually. As the aim is not only to have much content present but also to connect the elements to provide context, population from new sources will need to include associated background information on digital research methods and approaches. For this we will rely heavily on the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities research communities.
Community supported phase
Once the Marketplace has reached a certain maturity and uptake by the users, we intend to include the community substantially in the curation and enhancement of the content.
Community curation might be as simple as a suggested correction or a comment to a specific item, but could take more advanced shapes.
One pillar of a successful platform is the availability of powerful curation workflows and tools that help to improve the quality of the data, thus enriching the content and helping users gain new perspectives. In this regard, the development of curation tools will be a major focus of this phase.
Offering a wide selection of useful material is key to attracting an open and active community. We believe our curated, context-driven approach will help researchers gain new ideas, useful documents, exciting tools to try -out, and recommendations by peers from different research communities, institutions and countries.
We envision a lively community boosting the SSH Open Marketplace not only for the benefit of the SSH domain but also as an integral part of the larger European Open Science Cloud where it will dovetail with many other disciplines.
If you want to participate in one of the opportunities outlined below, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or even register for our community of testers at https://www.sshopencloud.eu/form/ssh-open-marketplace-join-community-testers
When and how can you be involved in the creation of the SSH Open Marketplace?
- As an Alpha or Beta tester: right now, if you follow the different upcoming events by subscribing to the SSHOC newsletter following the SSHOC Twitter account and by registering as a SSHOC user.
- As a contributor: from December 2020 on you’ll be able to suggest new content in the portal and/or to enrich existing items.
- As a member of the editorial team: between December 2020 and December 2021 an editorial team will be created. Its composition and mission still need to be refined, but we’ll probably have a mix of people suggested by the institutions engaged in the sustainability of the Marketplace and an open call for participation. The most active contributors could also become members of the editorial team.
All users involved in the SSH Open Marketplace as testers, contributors or members of the editorial team will be acknowledged and cited for their contribution and, when possible, other rewarding models will be considered.
Authors: Klaus Illmayer, Stefan Buddenbohm, Raisa Barthauer
Editors: Tracey Biller, Friedel Grant, Eliza Papaki