CERIF refactoring call released

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 11:35 -- euroCRIS Secret...
euroCRIS Secretariat

The euroCRIS Technical Committee for Interoperability and Standards (TCIS) have now issued the call for proposals for the CERIF refactoring pilot project to be funded by euroCRIS. This pilot project aims to make CERIF more useful and effective for modern data interchange and software engineering practices. The maximum budget for project proposals, to be submitted before Wed Sep 30th, 2020, is €20,000 and the associated project should run for a maximum of 9 months. The proposals will be evaluated on the basis of three criteria: description of the organisation and relevant experience, workplan and value for money.

The full text for this call for proposals is available below.

Call for proposals. CERIF refactoring pilot project


1. Context 
2. Goals
3. Call for proposals 
    3.1. Budget and timeline 
    3.2. Motivating use cases
    3.3. Eligibility and requirements for bidders
    3.4. Requirements 
    3.5. Methodology for tracking progress and outcomes
    3.6. Submission of proposals
    3.7. Evaluation and selection

1. Context

The CERIF standard has grown and matured over the years, serving the community of CRIS practitioners, managers, vendors and IT integrators. However, some potential improvements have also been identified with regards to aspects as its modularity, documentation or extensibility in the course of the years. As a reaction to this, euroCRIS has planned a major refactoring of CERIF to make it more useful and effective for modern data interchange and software engineering practices. This call for proposals is the first step towards that end, in an attempt to bring ideas of a better structure and documentation of CERIF to a concrete form that can then be discussed and eventually adopted by euroCRIS.

The CERIF refactoring pilot project is an open, transparent call for proposals in the direction of the abovementioned improvements. The pilot is intended to progress in analyzing and selecting the best approaches for a major refactoring, improvement and realignment of CERIF.

euroCRIS will select and fund one of the pilot proposals received (according to the guidelines described in this document), but other organisations, companies or institutions are also welcome to carry out their efforts with their own funds and propose alternative refactoring schemes to the euroCRIS community. The results of the pilot funded by euroCRIS (and eventually of other concurrent proposals not funded by euroCRIS) will set the basis for the eventual change of CERIF in the future, discussed inside euroCRIS. euroCRIS is fully committed to evaluate and consider the results of the pilot and also alternative proposals.

2. Goals

The pilot has a limited scope and focuses on a number of requirements for a new way of structuring, expressing, maintaining and documenting CERIF.
Concretely, the outcomes of the pilot project should demonstrate support for the following goals:

1) Full multilingual and localization support.
2) Modularity and extensibility, improving maintainability.
3) Separation of concerns in the standard.
4) Alignment with current IT and software engineering practice.
5) Verification of compliance of data formats via automated checking.

It should be stressed that the pilot should focus on the overall structure, modularity and extensibility of an envisioned future new release of CERIF, and not on fine-grained particularities of modeling concrete entities. It is important that the proposed structured and framework supports the distribution of the effort of extending CERIF by different Communities of Practice (CoP), since a key element of a new version of CERIF is supporting decentralised work that extends a core model for specific purposes that may depend on regional or national aspects, disciplinary specificities or other special-purpose elements.

3. Call for proposals

3.1. Budget and timeline

The maximum budget for this pilot is 20.000 EUR, and the maximum time span of 9 months.

3.2. Motivating use cases

As a way of focusing on key elements of the work to be done, the following use cases are proposed as a point of departure:

- A researcher is willing to move from a country to other (e.g. France to Australia) to a different institution. It is expected that his profile and vitae may be transferred electronically to the new institution via a standardised model and format that can be digitally signed as a verifiable claim or verifiable credential (following the directions of the W3C working group of the same name).

- Partners in a multinational project funded under the EU H2020 programme need to share project participation data electronically with the coordinator for reporting under the particular rules of a scheme or call. The partners include non-EU members, e.g. from China.

- A researcher is looking for a research infrastructure for a very concrete physics experiment and wants to know if there are e-infrastructures available in other countries that he could eventually use, with or without paying for it.

These represent typical interoperability scenarios proposed as use cases for the assessment of the outcomes and guiding technical work.

3.3. Eligibility and requirements for bidders

Organisations bidding as providers for the pilot should have a sound understanding of Research Information Systems (RIS), and technical software engineering capabilities specially those related to information modeling, data interchange and interoperability.

3.4. Requirements

The following is the list of requirements for the outcomes of the pilot that concern the proposal of the new expression, structure, organization and documentation of CERIF.

1) Separating the specification of data types from the main entities in the model and preparing them for multilinguality and localization, using best practices from other data interchange standards.
2) Extracting the “CERIF core model” as a subset of CERIF that represents the minimum entities, properties and relations that are essential to a set of previously agreed CRIS core use cases.
3) Selecting the best modeling notation or language for expressing the data types and the CERIF core model, and for future models layered on top of the core. The notation needs to have both textual, formal (or semi-formal) and graphical representations.
4) Documenting the core model and data types using formats and templates that generate documentation in several formats and support translations.
5) Specify potential modules to be layered on top of the core model for covering at least the use cases mentioned, and that could be independently reused. Draft the contents that may be included in those modules for the use cases, including selecting best practices in models that could be reused, e.g. in the sub-domain of bibliographic information.
6) Specifying a concrete mapping in at least JSON and RDF of the core model and the extensions to demonstrate the use cases, including some form of constraint checking for validation of the data transferred in both cases.
7) Specifying how provenance information can be expressed in a data interchange to support the concept of verifiable claims or credentials.
8) Creating a proof of concept implementation in which some basic test data is interchanged according to the abovementioned use cases or others of similar complexity and scope.

3.5. Methodology for tracking progress and outcomes

Regular reporting on-line meetings with representatives of the CERIF Technical Committee on Interoperability and Standards (TCIS). The organisation of the project must be based on some agile methodology.
All interim and final products will be maintained in a GitLab private repository or similar. All the results will at the end of the pilot be made available to the CRIS community as open source software.

3.6. Submission of proposals

Submission deadline: Sep 30th, 2020 EOB
Send your submissions to:

Submissions must adhere to the following guidelines for the structure of the document.
1) Description of the company/institution or team and relevant experience (1-2 pages) This should include a short summary of the relevant experience and skills of each team member, and previous project references relevant to the proposal, products, publications, participation in conferences, collaborations, community projects, etc. related to the call. Link to evidence of these records will be appreciated as they will help evaluators to assess the team experience and skills. The aim of this section is justifying why the team has the required knowledge to guarantee a successful project execution.
2) Work Plan (1-3 pages)
The workplan should include a description of the main activities, the timeline and milestones, and proposed means of tracking work progress.
3) Value for money (2 pages): A table with the effort to be spent and cost of each team participant associated to envisaged activities or tasks, and justification of additional costs if any.

The maximum extension of any proposal should be 8 pages (including a cover page with the identification of the submitter)

3.7. Evaluation and selection

All submitted proposals adhering to the abovementioned guidelines and submitted before the deadline will be evaluated according to the following procedure:

 The euroCRIS TCIS (Technical Committee on Interoperability and Standards) members will evaluate the proposals (according to the criteria above). At least two evaluation reports will be done by submission.

 The euroCRIS TCIS will discuss the proposals and elaborate a final ranking

 The final ranking will be sent to the euroCRIS board as a recommendation for initiating negotiation with potential contractors.

The following criteria for evaluation will be used:

      Team: the team or company will be evaluated on the basis of the demonstrated skills and expertise. Previous works or activities, related to CERIF will be also evaluated.
     Weight: 30%

      Plan: the plan will be evaluated on the basis of the activities envisaged, their relevance with respect to the work described in the call for proposal, and the overall coherency of activities, timeline
     and milestone. The proposed means for tracking the work will also be considered relevant.
     Weight: 30%

      Value for money: the value for money will be evaluated on the basis of the coherency and costs associated to tasks and activities described in the workplan section.
     Weight: 40%