Working framework of semantic interoperability for CRIS with heterogeneous data sources

Date08 May 2017
Published date08 May 2017
AuthorAmed Leiva-Mederos,Jose A. Senso,Yusniel Hidalgo-Delgado,Pedro Hipola
Working framework of semantic
interoperability for CRIS with
heterogeneous data sources
Amed Leiva-Mederos and Jose A. Senso
Department of Information and Communication, University of Granada,
Granada, Spain
Yusniel Hidalgo-Delgado
Department of Programming Techniques, University of Information Science,
Havana, Cuba, and
Pedro Hipola
Department of Information and Communication, University of Granada,
Granada, Spain
Purpose Information from Current Research Information Systems (CRIS) is stored in different formats, in
platforms that are not compatible, or even in independent networks. It would be helpful to have a well-defined
methodology to allow for management data processing from a single site, so as to take advantage of the
capacity to link disperse data found in different systems, platforms, sources and/or formats. Based on
functionalities and materials of the VLIR project, the purpose of thispaper is to present a model that provides
for interoperability by means of semantic alignment techniques and metadata crosswalks, and facilitates the
fusion of information stored in diverse sources.
Design/methodology/approach After reviewing the state of the art regarding the diverse mechanisms
for achieving semantic interoperability, the paper analyzes the following: the specificcoverage of the data sets
(type of data, thematic coverage and geographic coverage); the technical specifications needed to retrieve and
analyze a distribution of the data set (format, protocol, etc.); the conditions of re-utilization (copyright and
licenses); and the dimensionsincluded in the data set as well as the semantics of these dimensions
(the syntax and the taxonomies of reference). The semantic interoperability framework here presented
implements semantic alignment and metadata crosswalk to convert information from three different systems
(ABCD, Moodle and DSpace) to integrate all the databases in a single RDF file.
Findings The paper also includes an evaluation based on the comparison by means of calculations of
recall and precision of the proposed model and identical consultations made on Open Archives Initiative and
SQL, in order to estimate its efficiency. The results have been satisfactory enough, due to the fact that the
semantic interoperability facilitates the exact retrieval of information.
Originality/value The proposed model enhances management of the syntactic and semantic
interoperability of the CRIS system designed. In a real setting of use it achieves very positive results.
Keywords Linked data, Ontologies, Current Research Information Systems (CRIS), Metadata-crosswalk,
Ontology alignment, Semantic interoperability
Paper type Research paper
BIBO Bibliographic Ontology
BM2LOD2 Bibliographic Metadata to
Linked Open Data
CERIF Common European Research
Information Format
CORDIS Community Research and
Development Information
Service for Science Research
and Development
CRIS Current Research Information
System Journal of Documentation
Vol. 73 No. 3, 2017
pp. 481-499
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/JD-07-2016-0091
Received 15 July 2016
Revised 17 November 2016
Accepted 30 November 2016
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The authors thank the project VLIR of Cubas ICT network for aiding the academic formation and the
research work behind this paper.
CRIS with
data sources
FOAF Friend Of A Friend
FRBR Functional Requirements for
Bibliographic Records
ICT Information and
Communications Technology
KNAW Royal Netherlands Academy of
Arts and Sciences
LOM Learning Object Metadata
MESH Medical Subject Headings
NARCIS National Academic Research
and Collaborations Information
NIFA National Institute of Food and
NOW Netherlands Organization for
Scientific Research
OAI-PMH Open Archives Initiative
Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
PHP Pre Hypertext processor
RDF Resource Description Framework
SKOS Simple Knowledge Organization
SSA Situated Semantic Alignment
1. Introduction
Since the 1990s universities worldwide have been developing current research
information systems (CRIS) in various ways, depending on the organizations and
countries involved.
Most CRIS are designed to manage information from heterogeneous data sources, such
as digital libraries, knowledge bases and institutional repositories. They are converted
into formats that facilitate processing for authority control, locating items, the selective
diffusion of information, etc. With the arrival of the semantic web and linked data models,
these tools call for ways of interoperability that can scale the data of the various platforms
where the information is stored and described. Universities thus face the challenge of
developing CRIS that manage and store their research data organized in different
resources with different structures.
In the present paper we describe a framework for semantic and syntactic interoperability
designed to transform the research data of the Information and Communications
Technology (ICT) network into Resource Description Framework (RDF) format.
The techniques used to achieve interoperability were: semantic alignment, metadata
crosswalk and the management of linked data (Garoufallou and Papatheodorou, 2014).
These techniques are considered to be very well suited to the ontological vocabularies that
support research data in the ICT network, thereby facilitating the mapping of metadata
without calling for human intervention.
2. State of the art
2.1 CRIS: definition and design
CRIS are information systems that use a database to provide, in coherent fashion, research
data of very diverse nature, for individuals or organizations. For this reason their use is
widespread in the processes of evaluation of science and in activities for innovation and
development. The basis of the CRIS are defined in the works of Community Research
and Development Information Service for Science Research and Development
(Ivanovićet al., 2013; Joint, 2008). This same organization also created, some years later,
Common European Research Information Format (CERIF), a research data format that
facilitates the interoperability of systems and standardizes data needed for the evaluation of
science. In the USA, CRIS were founded within the National Institute of Food and
Agriculture at nearly the same time as in the European Union.
Along with many national initiatives, the present century has witnessed national
research networks that aim to link data stored in CRIS with products designed to evaluate
science. In the case of the Netherlands, we have for instance the National Academic

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