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Project Posters


  • Gather & Catalogue Datasets
  • Determine & Specify Use Cases
  • Build Prototype Repository Platform
  • Represent Datasets in the developed Platform

Recent Publications


UPBox e DataNotes: um ambiente de suporte à gestão colaborativa de dados científicos. Universidade de São Paulo, December 20, 2013 - João Rocha da Silva, Cristina Ribeiro, João Correia Lopes; DOI:

Designing an Application Profile using qualified Dublin Core: a case study with fracture mechanics datasets Dublin Core 2013 Conference Proceedings (Lisbon, Portugal), June 2013 - João Aguiar Castro, João Rocha da Silva, Cristina Ribeiro

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DataNotes (September 2012 - February 2013)


Scientific research is increasingly based on the collection and use of significant amounts of data, which has led researchers to consider depositing them in data repositories. The goal of these repositories is the storage and preservation of datasets. One of the problems that usually arise is the difficulty experienced in interpreting these data. To overcome this issue, it is necessary not only to save the data but also to describe it. Descriptions can be specialised to varying degrees: they can be based only on generic descriptors such as title, date and creator, or include domain features. The creation of rich descriptions for the datasets in a repository requires the collaboration of an information-management specialist who is responsible for creating those descriptions. In this scenario, as the researcher has little control over data descriptions, the process tends to be time-consuming. In the case of the storage and description of data in universities, there are some projects where the uploading process depends on these specialized staff, called “curators”. This project aims to design and develop a collaborative annotation system to be used by re- searchers at the University of Porto. Using this system, they will be able to upload and describe their datasets themselves, using a set of tools to assist them in this process. They will also be able to describe, in free text, other observed facts that may be hard to fit into the available descriptors. Researchers are able not only to describe and update their own data but also data belonging to other researchers, provided they are authorised to do so. Based on the Semantic MediaWiki platform and one of its extensions, Semantic Forms, this new extension was developed to ensure the functionalities of DataNotes. The platform was also integrated with another project called UPBox so that they can both be part of a complete research data curation process. The initial objectives have been met, but there is plenty of opportunity for future expansion. Possible improvements include the development of a new extension on Semantic MediaWiki which would allow metadata schemas to be automatically imported into DataNotes, as well as semi-automatic annotation of data using the content of the datasets to be annotated.


UPBox (September 2012 - February 2013)


The new digital technologies boosted the generation of scientific data, on one hand, due to the digital storage capacity, on the other, due to the evolution of methods and research tools. The sharing of scientific data is essential in the discovery process and represents the dominant means by which researchers can earn credits for their work.

Several entities, such as universities and research communities, provide some infrastructures and services to improve data sharing and curation. However, the data deposit process on these insfrastructures is complex and requires the joint effort of curators and researchers, whereby much of the generated research data doesn't reach these repositories.

The purpose of this work is to promote the sharing of research data in the University of Porto, bringing the researchers closer to the data curation process. This dissertation proposes a different approach to data curation, encouraging the participation of researchers in collaborative management of their research data. The adoption of the proposed methods will, in the future, accelerate and automate the submission and curation process into the University of Porto's repository.

According to the results of an audit conducted at University of Porto in order to survey the researcher's practices in the management of their data, it was verified that some researchers manage and share their research data through cloud storage applications like Dropbox.

The proposed solution, UPBox, is a service that supports the collaborative management of research data during the research process, keeping researchers in control of their data sets. This cloud storage service allows the researcher to annotate their data and, when appropriate, submit them for curation in order to be available in the University of Porto's repository. This simple and familiar platform works as a proxy between the researcher and the data repository, accelerating the submission process into the repository.

UPBox is a web application that allows the creation of data workspaces structured in directories and sharing them with other researchers. It is integrated with an annotation system, devoloped in a parallel project, DataNotes, which enables the annotation of files and directories.

To validate the acceptance of the solution, a group of researchers were requested to conduct a usability test. The test has evaluated the available features, identified improvements and new features and provided insight on the usefulness of the the developed prototype.


UPData (February 2011 - September 2011)

About the project

This was an experiment developed at U.Porto, which aimed to identify the scientific data curation needs at the university and the main problems in establishing a multi-disciplinary data curation platform.

U.Porto already offers a shared publications repository platform. The Open Repository of U.Porto is designed for depositing and disseminating the scientific production of the academic community.

U.Porto has participated in a state-of-art study in the context of the RCAAP. This study provides some insight on current data curation-related projects.

This project has been referenced at U.Porto's TIC Portal.

In June 2011 a presentation at IASSIST by Cristina Ribeiro and Eugénia Matos Fernandes, “Data Curation at U.Porto: Identifying current practices across disciplinary domains”, has referenced the project setup plan.

U.Porto has created an informative video presenting the institutional framework for the data repository. It includes three demonstration videos which highlight the curation process, data exploration and dataset search in the experimental repository.


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