The Research Object Initiative: Frameworks and Use Cases


Thu Jun 11th 10:00am to 11:00am PDT


Carole Goble


The exchange, reproduction, preservation and reuse of scientific outcomes is dependent on reporting and exchanging more than just the article. Other projects of research – “Research Objects” such as data, standard operating procedures, computational codes and algorithms – need to be bundled, exchanged and interpreted along with the narrative. The NIH BD2K Commons program talks about “Research Objects” in terms of recognising the multi-various products of research as first-class artifacts in their own right. But it is important to recognise that research has many products and these are linked: the data, SOPs, samples, and models that together support a finding; or the software codes and services that together are needed as the steps in a computational workflow. Thus Research Objects (RO) also need to be a framework to bundle and link potentially scattered resources, using pre-existing metadata standards to carry research context and “off-the-shelf” container infrastructures.  

Through various European Union (EU) and national projects, we have been developing a framework for Research Objects. The framework attempts to be as lightweight as possible using: identity, layered community standards for metadata representation of the RO “manifest”; and commodity container mechanisms such as Zip and Docker. This talk presents the principles and models of our Research Object framework, the RO services needed and experiences of three Use Cases:  the FAIRDOM Systems Biology Commons, The Farr RO Commons for the UK’s Health care Farr Institutes, and Computational workflow preservation and reproducibility.



Carole Goble is a Professor in the School of Computer Science, at the University of Manchester in the UK. She leads a team of researchers and developers working in e-Science, building e-infrastructure for researchers working at the lab, national, and pan-national level. Her current research interests are in reproducible research, asset curation and preservation, semantic interoperability, knowledge exchange between scientists and new models of scholarly communication. She co-leads data management work packages in several major EU Research Initiatives including ELIXIR (for bioscience data) and Infrastructure for Systems Biology Europe and FAIRDOM (both for Systems Biology). She is deputy director of the ELIXIR-UK node and is Co-I of the UK’s Software Sustainability Institute.

Goble serves on numerous committees, including advisory boards for: FORCE11, Software Carpentry Foundation, GigaScience, Faculty1000, IMI eTRIKS and the NIH BD2K CEDAR Centre. In 2008 she was awarded the Microsoft Jim Gray award for outstanding contributions to e-Science. 

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