PolicyGrid II - Supporting Interdisciplinary Evidence Bases for Scientific Collaboration & Policy Making

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: Computing Science

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

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Bouttaz T (2012) Integrating Text and Graphics to Present Provenance Information in 4th international provenance and annotation workshop (IPAW 2012)

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Bouttaz T (2011) A policy-based approach to context dependent natural language generation in 13th European workshop on natural language generation (ENLG)

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Edwards P (2012) ourSpaces - Design and Deployment of a Semantic Virtual Research Environment in 11th international semantic web conference

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Edwards P (2010) A provenance fabric to support the digital economy in Digital futures 2010 : digital economy all hands meeting

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Edwards P (2012) DEMO: ourSpaces - A Provenance Enabled Virtual Research Environment in 4th international provenance and annotation workshop (IPAW 2012)

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Edwards P (2011) Provenance on the web, leaving the walled garden behind... in 3rd ACM web science conference

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Edwards P (2010) A provenance fabric for science on the web in 9th UK e-Science All Hands Meeting

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Pangbourne K (2011) Some Researchers Do, Some Researchers Don't: Reflections on Interdisciplinarity and Digital Social Research in Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Electronic Journal

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Pignotti E (2013) Using provenance to analyse agent-based simulations in Joint EDBT/ICDT 2013 Workshop on Managing and Querying Provenance Data at Scale (BIGProv)

 
Description Many social scientists engage with policy-making, producing data to be used by those who develop and review policy or as the evaluators or critics of particular policy interventions.
PolicyGrid-II explored how software tools could be developed to support integrative research, i.e. research which attempts to bring together investigators from traditional, disparate disciplines in order to address major issues. The research involved close working with three interdisciplinary case study groups to explore the challenges associated with interdisciplinary working.

In terms of technical infrastructure development, the project:
• Enhanced an existing virtual research environment (ourSpaces) combining Semantic Web and Web2.0 technologies, in order to provide a platform for collaboration and resource management.
• Further developed an extensible provenance framework based upon the Open Provenance Model (OPM); this allows information about research artefacts and activities to be documented, and captures associations between artefacts, activities, and people. A key mechanism describes and enforces user, project and system policies.
• Developed a set of tools to enable users to visualise and interact with semantic metadata, as follows: use of natural language generation techniques to present RDF metadata to users and to support them in metadata creation; a graphical visualisation tool for RDF; a vocabulary mapping service to facilitate communication across disciplines.
• Furthered a discussion (begun in the earlier Fearlus-G pilot RES-149-25-0011) into the role of Semantic Web technologies in social simulation, in order to support greater transparency of simulation models and their outcomes. This resulted in the development of the OBIAMA modelling toolkit designed to facilitate discrete event modelling using OWL ontologies to represent the structure of the model. OBIAMA also makes use of aspects of our provenance framework to document model creation and execution.

In terms of capacity building, the project:
• Contributed through a range of activities (surveys, interviews, workshops) to the development of a better understanding of researcher requirements that will help shape design of future virtual research environments.
• Introduced a sizeable cohort of researchers to the potential of virtual research environments as a means to support their research (through training and support).
• Raised the profile of Semantic Web technologies across a number of groups, including the social simulation community, and the UK Data Archive.
• Provided an environment in which researchers drawn from computer science and human geography could explore each other's working practices, develop shared goals and enhance their own experience of interdisciplinary working.

Within PolicyGrid-II there was a specific focus on understanding interdisciplinarity and the potential role that technology could play in helping to overcome challenges encountered by researchers. Although there is an existing corpus of conceptual work about interdisciplinary research there is less published material about the 'doing' of interdisciplinary research. Evidence from our studies identified a number of barriers that eScience solutions should address, including support for multiple theoretical and methodological approaches; mechanisms to support communication across discipline vocabularies; the importance of designing for users with diverse experiences of, and interest in, ICTs.
Exploitation Route There is scope for a number of audiences to take forward the project outcomes. The provenance infrastructure has potential application in any domain that requires a mechanism to support transparency and/or audit. We are already working with partners in healthcare, transport and environment to explore these issues further.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

 
Description The nature of the project funding, with its focus on eSocial Science (and later Digital Social Research) meant that our emphasis was always on academic researchers and tools to support them. However, through partnerships with a number of external stakeholders, there may be scope for non-academic impacts in the future. This includes policy makers and the wider evidence-based policy agenda. UPDATE October 2014 Work has recently begun with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) representing Scotland's Environment Web (SEweb), to transfer some of the technologies developed within PolicyGrid into SEweb. The project seeks to develop innovative tools to make Scottish research information, data and expertise, easily accessible and understandable to the widest range of users (including public bodies, academics, businesses, and interested members of the public), and to promote Scotland's Research Excellence to European stakeholders. These tools will help maximise the impact and reach of Scottish environmental research to a wide range of environmental data and information users. Aspects of the PolicyGrid-II provenance framework (including technologies for representing and reasoning about policies) have also been exploited in the context of the 'Trusted Tiny Things' project - exploring transparency and trust issues in the context of the Internet of Things. This work is in partnership with Swirrl ltd and Aberdeenshire Council. UPDATE March 2017 The PolicyGrid-II provenance framework is influencing the development of a new policy making observatory (the Food Sentiment Observatory) - in partnership with Food Standards Scotland; this work is one of the ESRC New Forms of Data Policy Demonstrator pilot projects.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description W3C Provenance Working Group Membership - E Pignotti
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
URL http://www.w3.org/2011/prov/wiki/Main_Page
 
Description New and Emerging Forms of Data - Policy Demonstrator Projects
Amount £160,644 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/P011004/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Description Provenance and linked open data
Amount £27,734 (GBP)
Funding ID Research Theme 18 
Organisation University of Washington 
Department eScience Institute
Sector Academic/University
Country United States
Start 01/2011 
End 07/2011
 
Description RCUK dot.rural digital economy hub
Amount £11,800,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G066051/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2009 
End 09/2015
 
Description SEWeb Academic Research Tool - Knowledge Exchange Funding
Amount £43,016 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Environment Protection Agency 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2014 
End 03/2015
 
Description Social Media: Developing Understanding, Infrastructure and Engagement
Amount £542,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/M001628/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2014 
End 02/2016
 
Description TRUMP : a trusted mobile platform for the self-management of chronic illness in rural areas
Amount £1,684,861 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J00068X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2012 
End 09/2015
 
Description Trusted Tiny Things
Amount £39,734 (GBP)
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2013 
End 03/2014
 
Description User-driven scoping activities for ourPolicies
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2012 
End 03/2013
 
Description Development of software and wider thinking on issues of interdisciplinarity 
Organisation University of Aberdeen
Department Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration between PolicyGrid-II and ACES (Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability) - a virtual centre bringing together researchers from a range of disciplines. ACES researchers acted as trial users of the ourSpaces virtual research environment and through their feedback, influenced development of the software system and wider thinking on issues of interdisciplinarity.
Collaborator Contribution Participation in meetings, workshops; use of and evaluation of software prototypes.
Impact Discplines involved: ecology, biology, environmental science
Start Year 2009
 
Description Online communication and metadata entry tools feedback and requirements gathering 
Organisation University of Aberdeen
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution BeWEL (Behaviour for Well-being, Environment and Life) is a network of researchers established to explore potential motivators of, and barriers to, individual pro environment behavioural change (sustainable behaviours). PolicyGrid PI (Edwards) was involved with BE-WEL as a co-investigator and was thus able to introduce members of the network to the ourSpaces VRE, leading to its use by members of the core BE-WEL team.
Collaborator Contribution BE-WEL researchers helped generate requirements for ourSpaces, and provided feedback on aspects of the system including the online communication and metadata entry tools.
Impact Disciplines: human geography, ecology, sociology, environmental science
Start Year 2009
 
Description Reducing E. coli 0157 risk in rural communities 
Organisation University of Aberdeen
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration between the PolicyGrid-II and Reducing E. coli 0157 Risk in Rural Communities (RELU) projects.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration took the form of a series of joint meetings, trials of the ourSpaces virtual research environment by the RELU eColi 0157 team, requirements gathering (leading to enhancements to ourSpaces), evaluation of ourSpaces. These activities also involved close working with the RELU Data Support Service, UK Data Archive (see comments under another research outcome).
Impact Disciplines involved: geography, sociology, economics, medicine, microbiology, ecology, agriculture, food science.
Start Year 2009
 
Description SEPA Knowledge Exchange: SEWeb Academic Research Tool 
Organisation Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are providing expertise on provenance and linked data technologies to extend the existing SEWeb search portal to access academic outputs from Scottish HEIs.
Collaborator Contribution SEPA are managing the overall software development effort and are overseeing integration activities; they are also facilitating communication between the project team and the wider SEWeb community. The relationship between academic outputs and wider impact is also of interest to them.
Impact Too early to report outcomes (as of October 2014).
Start Year 2014
 
Title Personal lexicon service 
Description Service to create a set of mappings of similar terms from two personal text corpora using a distributional similarity technique. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Not known at this time. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/PersonalLexiconService.git
 
Title PolicyGrid-II OWL ontologies 
Description Series of OWL ontologies developed by the PolicyGrid-II project; available in the following GitHub repository: https://github.com/policygrid/ontologies/tree/master/pgII Ontologies contained within the repository are: academic-disciplines.owl actionOntology.owl geo-properties.owl ourspacesVRE.owl policy.owl project.owl provenance-generic.owl provenance-impact.owl provenance-module.owl provenance-simulation.owl 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Ontologies feature in the ourSpaces VRE (used by researchers) and have gone on to inform work in other domains including public transport, environmental data. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/ontologies/tree/master/pgII
 
Title Provenance service software 
Description A Java library that can be used to create/query/update provenance information, based on the Open Provenance Model (OPM) specification. Available via GitHub repository (always updated to latest version). Authors: Edwards, Pignotti, Eckhardt 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Software integrated into the ourSpaces VRE used by a sizeable number of researchers. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/Provenance-Service.git
 
Title Provenance visualisation software 
Description Software to visualise OPM (Open Provenance Model) provenance metadata encoded as RDF. In future, a version for PROV-O will be implemented. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Integrated within the ourSpaces VRE 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/Provenance-Visualisation.git
 
Title RDF to natural language translation software 
Description Software to generate short textual descriptions from RDF metadata. Software is composed of two components: LanguageSpecCreator and RDF2TextTranslator. LanguageSpecCreator (https://github.com/policygrid/LanguageSpecCreator.git) This application assists a user with creation of language specification files, describing how the properties contained in an OWL ontology should be translated to English. RDF2TextTranslator (https://github.com/policygrid/RDF2TextTranslator.git) Service to generate short textual descriptions of resources from RDF metadata. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Software integrated within the ourSpaces VRE. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/LanguageSpecCreator.git
 
Title ourSpaces virtual research environment 
Description A web-based virtual research environment, developed initially by the PolicyGrid-I project and significantly extended by PolicyGrid-II. Built upon a range of Semantic Web and Web2.0 technologies. This outcome represents the latest version of the site - developed considerably since the original version produced in an earlier project. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact Software was at one time in use by 100+ researchers; aspects of the system are the subject of a knowledge exchange activity with SEPA to enhance their SEWeb tool. 
URL http://www.purl.org/policygrid/ourspaces
 
Title ourSpaces virtual research environment software 
Description Source code, etc. for the virtual research environment - available under the Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL) Version 2.1 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-2.1.html) 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Software in use by 100+ researchers; elements of it subject of a knowledge exchange activity with SEPA as part of their SEWeb portal. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/ourSpaces.git
 
Description Digital horizons, evidence and impact (Speaker: Peter Edwards) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation at the ESRC 'Making an impact' seminar, 24 May 2012, St Hugh's College, Oxford.
Part of the ESRC funded seminar series 'The Impact Agenda'.

We received a number of approaches from researchers wanting to use the ourSpaces VRE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.methods.manchester.ac.uk/events/past/2012/
 
Description European Social Simulation Association - special interest group on large scale social simulation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Special Interest Group on Large Scale Social Simulation - founded 4 May 2010; three PolicyGrid researchers as original members (Polhill, Pignotti, Edwards).

Promoted interest across Europe in large scale social simulation (and potential for semantic technologies)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Geography and digital social research : exploiting ?'eScience'' technologies in geographical research or bamboozling the academic? ?(Speaker: K Pangbourne) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation given in the Research, data and social media session at Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers Annual International Conference 2014, Kensington, London. 31 August - 2 September 2011.

Not known.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.rgs.org/NR/rdonlyres/2B7FB54C-D9DF-4BF2-AD22-CDE6483B3BF4/0/AC2011ProgrammeBookfinallowre...
 
Description Ontologies in integrated socio-environmental simulation (Speaker: Gary Polhill) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Seminar at the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC); 8th March 2011.
Ontologies in various forms are being used in social simulations and specifically in agent-based models, where individuals and their interactions are explicitly represented. Increasingly, agent-based models are being coupled with environmental models, and this can cause issues with consistency. This talk will give a brief overview of some this work, before discussing ways OWL ontologies can help in representing the state and structure of integrated socio-environmental simulations.

Stimulated a number of academic conversations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Seminar on the findings of the W3C Provenance Incubator Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Seminar organised as part of the eScience Institute mini-theme on Provenance and Linked Open Data - delivered by Paul Groth (U Amsterdam).

Abstract: Given the increased interest in provenance in the Semantic Web area and in the Web community at large, the W3C established the Provenance Incubator Group as part of the W3C Incubator Activity with a charter to provide a state-of-the art understanding and develop a roadmap in the area of provenance and possible recommendations for standardization efforts. This seminar summarizes the findings of the group. Provenance is a crucial aspect of understanding, trusting, reusing, and reproducing data. In particular, in open environments such as the web,provenance becomes critical. As the Semantic Web becomes a reality with the introduction of massive amounts of Linked Data, it becomes critical that machines as well as humans. Given this context, the W3C chartered an incubator group whose goal was to provide a state-of-the art understanding and develop a roadmap in area of provenance for the Web and in particular the Semantic Web. The Provenance Incubator Group finished its work just recently in December 2010. In this talk, I present the outcomes the Incubator group including a framework for thinking about provenance research, use cases and requirements, and the roadmap. Additionally, I will discuss the group's proposed charter for a W3C working group to standardize an interchange language for provenance and what such a standard would enable from a research perspective.

This was an information sharing session at the beginning of a series of events - no obvious impacts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://wiki.esi.ac.uk/Seminar_on_the_Findings_of_the_W3C_Provenance_Incubator_Group
 
Description Supporting interdisciplinary research, scientific collaboration and policy making : The PolicyGrid II project (Speaker: Lorna Philip) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation at the Association of American Geographers 2010 Annual Meeting in Washington DC, USA; delivered during the 'Virtual Communities' session. Co-authors: A Laing, E Pignotti

Not known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://meridian.aag.org/callforpapers/program/AbstractDetail.cfm?AbstractID=29709
 
Description The ICT Revolution, interdisciplinarity and human geographers: engaging with digital research resources (Speaker: K Pangbourne) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation given in the Co-production of digital geography session at Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers Annual International Conference 2014, Kensington, London. 26-29 August 2014.

Not known.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://conference.rgs.org/AC2014/409
 
Description User-driven Scoping Activities for ourPolicies: Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of user-driven scoping activities for a possible follow-on project (ourPolicies) we organised a focus group involving people from various local councils (Fife, Perth & Kinross, Clackmannanshire and Stirling) and people from SEPA and SSN. The group explored what benefits the technologies developed in the ourSpaces VRE might have for collaboration, knowledge exchange and communication between academics and non-academics such as supporting low-cost, low-maintenance networking to find experts and data to answer particular queries

The event led to ongoing engagement with SEPA, ultimately leading to a knowledge exchange activity involving their SEWeb online portal and outcomes from the PolicyGrid project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Workshop : developing a set of provenance principles for linked open data 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop built on a previous workshop "Understanding Provenance and Linked Open Data" (see http://tinyurl.com/3mlyfoo for materials produced during the workshop) during which we identified a number of relevant issues and challenges (http://tinyurl.com/3gqo7dl). A small number of use-cases illustrating these issues have also been defined (see http://tinyurl.com/3gdj6j2). The aims of this workshop were: to review the issues identified during the previous workshop; to review the use-cases developed during the previous workshop; to develop a set of principles for publishing Provenance of Linked Open Data and to inform the development of a roadmap for future directions.

Contributed to the development of a roadmap for provenance and linked open data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://wiki.esi.ac.uk/Developing_a_Set_of_Provenance_Principles_for_Linked_Open_Data
 
Description Workshop : understanding provenance and linked open data 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop brought together key academic and non-academic stakeholders to identify what provenance dimensions (as identified by the W3C Provenance Incubator Group http://tinyurl.com/5v45f7h) are relevant to Linked Open Data; to identify additional provenance issues and challenges of Linked Open Data; identify a small number of relevant case-studies and to review existing provenance solutions that might be applicable to Linked Open Data.

Event led to the identification of a series of case studies that influenced discussion throughout the remainder of this eScience Institute mini-theme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.nesc.ac.uk/esi/events/1194/
 
Description ourSpaces - a provenance enabled virtual research environment (Speaker: Edoardo Pignotti) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation and software demonstration at the ESRC Methods Festival 2012; St Catherine's College, Oxford

We received several approaches by researchers wishing to use the ourSpaces VRE
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.ncrm.ac.uk/RMF2012/home.php