by Sheena Bassett (PIN Scrl), Sara Di Giorgio (MIBACT-ICCU) and Paola Ronzino (PIN Scrl)
Understanding how data has been created and under which conditions it can be reused is a significant step towards the realisation of open science.
PARTHENOS [L1] is a Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Commission that aims at strengthening the cohesion of research in the broad sector of linguistic studies, cultural heritage, history, archaeology and related fields through a thematic cluster of European research infrastructures. PARTHENOS is building a cross-disciplinary virtual environment to enable researchers in the humanities to have access to data, tools and services based on common policies, guidelines and standards. The project is built around two European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs) from the humanities and arts sector: DARIAH [L2] (research based on digital humanities) and CLARIN [L3] (research based on language data), along with ARIADNE [L4] (digital archaeological research infrastructure), EHRI [L5] (European Holocaust research infrastructure), CENDARI [L6] (digital research infrastructure for historical research), CHARISMA [L7] and IPERION-CH [L8] (EU projects on heritage science) and involves all the relevant integrating activities projects.
Since 2016, the Horizon 2020 Programme has produced guidelines on FAIR data management [L9] to help Horizon 2020 beneficiaries make their research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) [L10]. Funded projects are requested to deliver an implementation of DMP which aims to improve and maximise access to and reuse of research data generated by the projects. This is in line with Commission’s policy actions on open science to reinforce the EU’s political priority of fostering knowledge circulation. Open science is in practice about “sharing knowledge as early as practically possible in the discovery process” and because DMPs gather information about what data will be created and how, and outline the plans for sharing and preservation, specifying the nature of the data and any restrictions that may need to be applied, these plans ensure that research data is secure and well-maintained during a project and beyond, when it might be shared with others. DMPs are key elements to knowledge discovery and innovation and to subsequent data and knowledge integration and reuse.
Special attention has been paid to the development of a PARTHENOS data management plan which builds on the Horizon2020 DMP template. This has resulted in a template (draft) which aims to address the domain-specific procedures and practices within the humanities, taking into consideration standards and guidelines used in data management that are relevant for PARTHENOS specific research communities, which includes archaeologists, historians, linguists, librarians, archivists, and social scientists.
The PARTHENOS DMP template has been enriched and tailored with specifications from the humanities which were derived from a survey carried out among the consortium’s experts. To gather these specifications, representatives of the PARTHENOS communities were asked to describe their daily data management procedures in detail. The questionnaire was structured according to the various phases of the data life cycle and was then mapped to the FAIR principles. Each respondent had the opportunity to choose his/her role (e.g., researcher creating data / repository provider) and to provide insight into their best practices through the form.
The PARTHENOS DMP template will satisfy different stakeholders, such as institutional repositories, funded projects and researchers each of which have an individual perspective on the data quality and FAIRness issues. The PARTHENOS DMP template will be divided into three different levels: a first level which includes a set of core general requirements irrespective of discipline, a second level including domain specific requirements and a third level which is project-based. To help users in completing a data management plan, a set of guiding statements for the specific disciplines will be provided.
At present, the PARTHENOS DMP template collects the high-level requirements that satisfy each community of researchers involved in the project, with a list of recommended answers that will support the compilation of the DMP. A second stage of this work will concern the production of PARTHENOS community-specific DMP templates, which will be included in the final version of the “Guidelines for common policies implementation”.
Further work will concern the creation of a DMP template addressing institutions that manage repositories. Since enabling interoperability is a great benefit for researchers, repository providers should be able to explain in depth how to provide data to them in the best way. Through the envisaged template, PARTHENOS will provide the right tools to repository providers to be able to offer standardised answers and guidance, and to liaise with researchers that are looking to deposit their data with them.
Thanks to the PARTHENOS DMP template, researchers will be able to freely access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate their data and identify the tools needed to use the raw data for validating research results, or provide the tools themselves, a significant step towards to the realisation of open science.
Visit the PARTHENOS website [L1] for more information and subscribe to the newsletter to keep up to date with developments.
 The Three Os – Open innovation, open science, open to the world – a vision for Europe, produced by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research & Innovation, 2016-05-17, https://kwz.me/hm4
 Wilkinson, M. D. et al: “The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship”, Sci. Data3:160018
doi: 10.1038/sdata.2016.18 (2016).
Sheena Bassett, PIN Scrl, Italy