Many institutions in the Swiss academic and data landscape are confronted with the challenges of managing research data and ensuring long-term preservation and accessibility, but do not have the tools nor the knowledge needed to fulfill the requirements for increasingly open and data-driven research. The implementation of a large number of isolated solutions is cost-inefficient and should be avoided. Also, international or private solutions bring substantial risk with respect to ensuring control and sustainability. It therefore makes sense to work on a national data infrastructure solution. It should, however, not be a generic “one size fits all” – but rather a modular solution that is easily adaptable to the needs of different research institutions and scientific disciplines.
Starting from the FORSbase platform, an existing and proven national archive solution for Swiss social science research data, this two-year project will implement SWISSUbase, a national cross-disciplinary solution for Swiss universities and other research organisations in urgent need of local institutional data repositories for their researchers. Starting with our main partner institutions (the University of Zurich and the University of Lausanne) SWISSUbase will fill the gap to soon become the central national tool for the curation, preservation, and dissemination of scientific research data in Switzerland and the primary tool for information on ongoing and completed research projects in the country.
The advantages of making available such an established archiving solution to Swiss universities are multiple – FORSbase relies on international archiving standards and processes to ensure that data are preserved and accessible in the long-term. While each university, faculty, or institute will manage the research data and information from the projects of its own researchers, each university, administrative office or private research institute of SWISSUbase will be interoperable, allowing public data and metadata from any scientific discipline to be discovered and accessed, regardless of one’s affiliation or location.
Our approach relies on flexible modularity and loose technical interconnectedness, so that universities, faculties, and institutes will have the customized tools they need for their own archiving and research management purposes. At the same time, each separate instance will be joined up within a larger national infrastructure.
The action plan of SWISSubase is characterised by twelve work packages (WPs). FORS will coordinate and lead all work packages. Each work package will have certain project deliverables.