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Virtual Research Environments


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Just a few slides I put together to quickly introduce the idea of Virtual Research Environments (VRE) at the University of Lincoln. All content was borrowed from JISC's work on VREs.

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Virtual Research Environments

  1. 1. A VRE helps researchers from all disciplines to work collaboratively by managing the increasingly complex range of tasks involved in carrying out research.
  2. 2. Heavy investment from JISC The intention is not to produce one single complete VRE, but rather to define and help to develop a common architecture, and to progress the institutional capabilities needed to develop and populate VREs with applications, services and resources appropriate to their needs.
  3. 3. Research-active staff The primary target user group, including staff occupying a variety of roles within institutions, such as full- and part-time Lecturers, Readers, Chairs, Research Assistants, Research Fellows and Research Associates
  4. 4. Research support staff Including those who do not conduct research directly, but provide various types of support to research-active staff within their institutions
  5. 5. System administrators Staff who support the installation, technical set up and maintenance of a VRE
  6. 6. Soundbites tools & technologies, frameworks & standards local, national, international leads to faster research results and novel research directions dependent on discipline, context and security requirements community building projects rather than technology projects. complementary to and interoperable with existing resources iterative, user driven, bottom up development flexible, lightweight and adaptable to changing and specific needs connects resources, people, infrastructures a social as much as a technical achievement moving target
  7. 7. Three types of socio-technical systems
  8. 8. Accessing and combining data and computing resources Working with dispersed data sources, across databases, applications and legacy systems
  9. 9. Online collaboration Facilitating the (a)synchronous combination of expertise of dispersed researchers
  10. 10. Virtual research management Supporting the whole research lifecycle Collecting and managing Information Crossing inter-departmental boundaries
  11. 11. Benefits VREs can close the gap between research steps (such as data collection, data processing, data analysis, writing, publication) and therefore speed up the research process. VREs can enhance the transparency and reliability of research processes which, in turn, can lead to a better understanding of the research question. Moreover, projects proved how VREs can contribute to data generation, e.g. by facilitating multi-site trials and experiments, and in some cases, even leading to greater speed and accuracy of data capture and analysis. At the same time, projects showed how VREs can expand the boundaries of current research methods in a specific discipline as well as introduce new ways of doing research. In either case, the result has been both the generation of new knowledge and research paradigms. In addition to introducing a new way of conducting research, VREs also provide a different way of handling data and related documentation, thus making project management more effective.
  12. 12. Challenges Policy: legal, ethical Sustainability: Require continued investment. Need business model Researchers won't use them if there are not long term guarantees
  13. 13. Further information Our wiki: JISC Programme: VRE Study: VRE Lessons Learned: JISC Podcast: JISC Video for researchers: JISC video for developers: JISC video playlist of projects:
  14. 14. Content for these slides came from various JISC sources Joss Winn Centre for Educational Research and Development University of Lincoln