Project promotion materials:

Project Homepage:

Data collections can be seen on:!/q=*%3A*/p=1/tab=collection/type=collection/group=Griffith%20University

Software is available at:

Software categories:

Metadata Store Solutions

Project Members:

Joanne Morris (Project Contact,

Natasha Simons (Project Manager,

Arve Solland (EResearch Senior Developer,

Mark Fallu (Technical Analyst,

Gerhard Weiss (EResearch Senior Developer,

ANDS Contact:

Andrew White (

Project Status:


Griffith Research Hub

Griffith University

Project Description:

International researchers looking for datasets, higher degree by research students looking for supervisors, industry looking for consultancy expertise and journalists looking for expert sources of information. These are just a few of the audience segments that have a critical need for a single, comprehensive view of a university’s research output.

In a culture that has rapidly transitioned from traditional research to a more data-intensive research, characterised by data analysis and mining; patterns discovery; and the evolution of large databases and data archives, the Research Hub service has been developed as the first step in helping to make university research data more discoverable and accessible, while following open access and linked data best practice models.

Like any large institution, Griffith University has information of varying quality, stored in a wide variety of enterprise systems, and--prior to the development of the Research Hub--no way of bringing that information together, linking it, and presenting it in a simple and seamless interface. The Research Hub has been designed as a “simple” solution that allows information to be brought together in one place and enhanced by the people to whom it matters the most, Griffith University researchers.

Unlike traditional approaches, the Research Hub dynamically aggregates information from multiple enterprise systems to expose Griffith’s extensive research activities and its researchers. This saves researchers from having to enter their data into “yet another system”.

The semantic smarts go beyond “simple aggregation”. The Research can propose connections between a researcher and their top 5 research areas inferred from their publication and project history. It can automatically identify broader and narrower fields of research. The Research Hub can even help to identify collaborators based on co-authorship and co-investigation networks.

To ensure the greatest exposure of the 1000 researchers, 50,000 publications and 5,500 projects profiled in the system, the Research Hub has developed a “faceted browse” and search system with JavaScript driven usability enhancements to facilitate advanced querying on a wide variety of metadata attributes, full text indexes.

One of the most compelling features of the Research Hub is the “linked” nature of the data. Users can browse from an article to a profile of one of its authors; from there they can browse to any of the projects the researcher is involved with and so on. By making the links between researchers, projects, groups, data collections and publications explicit, a much richer view world class research work undertaken at Griffith University is exposed to the world. Importantly this view showcases the highly collaborative and cross-disciplinary nature of Griffith research.

The portal features go beyond profiling academics and their publications, it also provides detailed descriptions of research datasets accessible to national and international research collaborators.
The information collected in the Research Hub is exposed to a wide variety of external harvesters, including Research Data Australia, the National Library’s Trove service as well as to be highly indexed by Google and other search engines.

In terms of current and future trends, an important objective has been to help to prepare researchers for new scholarly publishing paradigms, especially the integration of data with publications. All of this work ideally will lead to improvements in research quality and meet researchers’ needs as research becomes more data intensive.

One of the most immediate benefits of the Research Hub has been the huge volume of traffic it has generated: more than 20,000 page views a month, with in excess of 80% of the traffic from sources external to the University.

Some of the key benefits the Research Hub provides include:
• Enter data once, use many times
• Powerful yet simple search and browse tools which allows for richer data mining, improved discovery, flexibility
• Easily accessible to non technical users, e.g. journalists and members of the public
• Meets the advanced requirements of research experts, e.g. international collaborators and higher degree research students
• Automatically makes explicit the links between data, researchers, their publications, projects and research group affiliations
• Enhances the presentation of data in other Griffith University systems, e.g. Research Data Repository and Griffith Research Online (institutional repository)
• Queried by the self-service Research Data repository to auto-populate fields when registering new research data collections.
• Aggregates multiple “sources of truth” to a single location and exports custom feeds to multiple end-points using simple queries.
• Contributes to Australian National Data Services (ANDS) vision of “more Australian researchers reusing research data more often”
• Totally automated ingests that non-destructively merge updated enterprise information with user-supplied enhancements.
• Advanced JavaScript widgets enhance data entry capabilities to make tasks simple and intuitive
• Breaks down information silos within the University
• Researcher profiles: identification of collaborators for new research; potential for prospective HDR students; showcase for Griffith research

In addition the benefits of this project extend far beyond Griffith University. In order to comprehensively describe Research Activities as carried out in the Australian context, the ANDS-VIVO ontology was developed, initiated and led by Griffith University ( ).

The ANDS-VIVO ontology represents information about research activities mapped to commonly understood (and formally defined) sets of concepts within the higher education sector, e.g. a formal hierarchical vocabulary for describing fields of research used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics ( ).

By detailing the relationships among those concepts, it can be used to reason about the entities within that domain, e.g. searches can be made broader or narrower based on hierarchical fields of research definitions. The great strength of the ANDS-VIVO ontology is the broad community acceptance of the shared vocabulary and taxonomy which models the domain of research activity in Australia, with the definition of activities, entities, their properties and relations being adopted by a wide variety projects and institutions. Users of this ontology include institutions that have adopted very different software stacks, but valued the approach of a shared definition for research activity.

The community that has developed around the ANDS-VIVO ontology has enabled the marshalling of community requirements for future enhancements of the ANDS RIF-CS Schema ( ), the Research Data Australia Service ( ), and engagement with the National Library of Australia Trove service ( ).

Several of the enhancements and extensions made in the ANDS-VIVO ontology have been adopted by the international VIVO ontology maintainers and are now part of the shared vocabulary of a widely distributed, and high impact, international research community ( ).

High Level Software Functionality:

The Research Hub has been implemented as a “loosely coupled” system architecture which has been developed through the use and extension of several best of breed open-source components, including:

•VIVO ( )
We chose VIVO as a semantic web front-end application because it allowed us to implement a Model View Controller (MVC) design pattern through its implementation of page templates, SPARQL queries and ontology editing features, along with a wealth of other administrative features.

•Apache Jena Triple Store ( )
This is a Java framework for building Semantic Web applications with a comprehensive and well documented API and easy deployment on a relational DB backend for enterprise support.

AJAX Solr is a JavaScript library for creating user interfaces to blazing fast open source enterprise search platform from the Apache Lucene project. Its major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search.

•Jedox Extract Transform and Load Tool (
Jedox ETL facilitates the extract of data from a huge variety of SQL data sources, flat files, XML files, web services, and LDAP and other systems. The “extracts” from these systems are “transformed” to RDF, the language of the semantic web and “loaded” directly into the Jena triple store.

•MOAI ( )
MOAI is an Open Access Server Platform for Institutional Repositories. The MOAI software has a very flexible system for combining records into sets and publishing them via the Open Archive Initiatives protocol for metadata harvesting. It also comes with a simple yet flexible authentication scheme that can be easily customized. We use MOAI to enable harvesting of Griffith research data by a variety of external systems, including:
-Research Data Australia
-NLA Trove

•Java Script widgets to enhance and simplify data entry and manipulation.