Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Research Repository System identity management

This is the third of a series of posts aiming to expand on the idea of the negative click, positive value repository, which I'm now calling a Research Repository System (RRS). I've suggested it should contain these elements:
I didn’t want to talk about identity management so early in the piece, but it turned up in so many parts, I had to take it out and talk about it first. In a good RRS, this should Just Work, but at the moment it probably wouldn’t do what I want! I may see the RRS as a special case of an Institutional Repository (IR), but many if not most research collaborations are cross-institutional. This means that if there is to be support for cross-institutional authoring, there has to be support for members of other institutions to log in to your RRS. And this has to be seamless and easy, ie done without having to acquire new identities.

In addition, Researcher Identity should provide name control, that is, it knows who you are and will fill in a standardised version of your name in appropriate places. It should know your affiliation (institution, department/school, group, project and/or possibly work package). It might know some default tags for your work (eg Chris is normally talking about "digital curation"). However, this naming support must extend beyond your institution, so that collaborators and co-authors can be first-class users of other features. And it should relate to your (and their) standard institutional username and credentials; nothing extra to remember. This implies (I think) something like Shibboleth support.

This is getting kind of complicated, and verging towards another complex realm of Current Research[er] Information Systems (CRIS). These worthy systems also aim to make your life easier by knowing all about you, and linking your identity and work together. But they are complex, have their own major projects and standards, and have been going for years without much impact that I can see, except in a few cases. The RRS should take account of EuroCRIS and CERIF (see Wikipedia page) as far as they might apply.

1 comment:

  1. Personal data involved here too. You’ve mentioned that many research collaborations are cross-institutional. This means there are likely to be multiple data controllers. Agreements will have to be reached as to how decisions relating to the processing of that data will be made.


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