Semantic Grid Tools for Rural Policy Development and Appraisal

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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Chorley A (2008) Developing ontologies to support eSocial science : the policyGrid experience in 4th International conference on e-Social science

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Chorley A (2007) Tools for tracing evidence in social science in 3rd International conference on e-Social science

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Edwards P (2007) Using the semantic grid to support evidence-based policy assessment in AAAI 2007 workshop on semantic e-science

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Edwards P (2007) Using the grid to support evidence-based policy assessment in social science in UK e-Science all hands meeting

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Edwards P (2007) Why ontologies are only part of the answer for eSocial science in 3rd International e-Social science conference

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Edwards P (2009) Using the social semantic web to support eSocial science in AAAI spring symposium on social semantic web : where web 2.0 meets web 3.0

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Edwards P (2009) e-Social Science and Evidence-Based Policy Assessment Challenges and Solutions in Social Science Computer Review

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Gotts N M (2009) Narrative Scenarios, Mediating Formalisms, and the Agent-Based Simulation of Land Use Change in 2nd International Workshop on Epistemological aspects of computer simulation in the social sciences

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Hielkema F (2008) Evaluating an ontology-driven WYSIWYM interface in 5th International natural language generation conference

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Hielkema F (2007) A flexible interface to community-driven metadata in 3rd International conference on e-Social science

 
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.

The PolicyGrid project investigated how Semantic Web technologies could be employed to develop a software infrastructure to assist researchers involved in aspects of evidence-based policy research.

Outcomes of the work included:

- a prototype Web-based environment (ourSpaces) designed to support management of research resources and activities

- a novel metadata framework able to capture the provenance (audit trail) of research outcomes to be used as evidence

- a mechanism to allow social simulation experiments (workflows) to be annotated with goals and constraints - to aid workflow execution and enhance transparency of results

- a natural language generation tool to support users in accessing RDF metadata.
Exploitation Route The software tools have potential in a range of non-academic contexts, as do the various ontologies developed to support the provenance model. Outputs of the project could be exploited in a number of ways; perhaps the most obvious of these would be use of the provenance framework in different contexts requiring audit/compliance trails to be captured.

Others include use of the natural language generation toolkit in software applications employing Semantic Web metadata, and development of enhanced simulation models able to document experimental outcomes more fully.

Finally, the ourSpaces virtual research environment has been designed to be deployed across a range of projects and thus could be exploited by users for their own applications.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,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 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 See comments under the continuation project - PolicyGrid-II (ES/F029713/1)
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Behaviour for well-being, environment and life (BE-WEL)
Amount £199,918 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/G033447/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2009 
End 09/2010
 
Description PolicyGrid II : supporting interdisciplinary evidence bases for scientific collaboration and policy making
Amount £874,262 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/F029713/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2009 
End 08/2012
 
Description SwarmCloud
Amount £33,422 (GBP)
Funding ID ECS/506-364112 
Organisation University of Westminster 
Department JISC-ENGAGE
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2008 
End 05/2009
 
Description eInfrastructure for the social sciences
Amount £558,363 (GBP)
Funding ID RES-149-25-1063 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2006 
End 12/2009
 
Description Collaboration with RELU data support service 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department UK Data Archive
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution PolicyGrid researchers attended meetings, shared information on ontologies, software tools.
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration between Veerle Van den Eynden (RELU Data Support Service, UK Data Archive) and PolicyGrid project. Veerle contributed expertise on archiving requirements for RELU projects and worked with us to tailor the metadata infrastructure and tools within the ourSpaces VRE to ensure a trouble-free export route from ourSpaces to the UK Data Archive.
Impact The major outcome of this collaboration was to ensure that tools within the ourSpaces VRE were able to export research outcomes (and their supporting metadata) in a form that was compatible with the UK Data Archive. This was tested using the RELU eColi O157 project.
Start Year 2008
 
Description Computing science and human geography 
Organisation University of Aberdeen
Department Department of Geography and Environment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Funding to support this project helped to establish a new collaboration between computer science and human geography researchers at the University of Aberdeen.
Collaborator Contribution This project represented the first collaboration between the PI (Edwards) and colleagues in Geography at Aberdeen; the collaboration led to joint publications, further funding (to both computer science and geography), joint PhD supervision.
Impact Multi-disciplinary collaboration involving computer science and human geography. Most significant outcome was the creation of a core group of interdisciplinary researchers that has since grown into a much larger Digital Economy group at the University of Aberdeen
Start Year 2006
 
Description Investigating and evaluating novel interfaces for management of RDF metadata 
Organisation Trinity College Dublin
Department Computational Linguistics Group
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Trinity College, Dublin to investigate and evaluate novel interfaces for management of RDF metadata.
Collaborator Contribution Contributed expertise on evaluation of user systems, helped with organisation of user evaluation experiments.
Impact Not a multi-disciplinary collaboration - both computer science.
Start Year 2008
 
Title LIBER natural language RDF interface 
Description Software archive for the LIBER natural language tool for semantic metadata developed by the PolicyGrid project. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2006 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Integrated into the ourSpaces VRE (used by 100+ users) 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/LIBER.git
 
Title PolicyGrid resource ontology (OWL) 
Description An OWL ontology developed by the PolicyGrid project to represent digital resources. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2009 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact No specific impacts to report. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/ontologies/blob/master/pgI/resource.owl
 
Title PolicyGrid scientist's intent ontology (OWL) 
Description An OWL ontology developed by the PolicyGrid project to represent aspects of scientist's intent - used to annotate experimental workflows. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2007 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Scientists's intent model (and associated ontology) has gone on to feature in several other activities including development of a data quality model (Baillie, Edwards, Pignotti) and the w3C provenance working group. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/ontologies/blob/master/pgI/Intent.owl
 
Title PolicyGrid task ontology (OWL) 
Description An OWL ontology developed by the PolicyGrid project to represent tasks (activities) within social science research. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2009 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact No specific impacts to report. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/ontologies/blob/master/pgI/task.owl
 
Title PolicyGrid utility ontology (OWL) 
Description An OWL ontology developed by the PolicyGrid project to represent utility concepts. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2009 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact No specific impacts to report. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/ontologies/blob/master/pgI/utility.owl
 
Title SQuAnTo qualitative coding tool 
Description Software archive for the SQuAnTo qualitative coding tool developed by the PolicyGrid project 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2006 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Used by a small number of social science researchers associated with PolicyGrid. 
URL https://github.com/policygrid/SQuAnTo.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 Evaluating LIBER, an ontology-driven WYSIWYM interface (Speaker: F Hielkema) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation given to the Computational Linguistics Group, Trinity College Dublin, 12 November 2008.

Led to a collaboration between Aberdeen and Trinity on a technology evaluation study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description FEARLUS+SPOM (Speaker: J G 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 Presentation given at the 10th meeting of the ALTER-Net Network Management Group (NMG), (Lifewatch planning meeting), CEH Edinburgh, 14 February 2008.

No specific impacts reported.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description National Centre for eSocial Science strategy board (P Edwards) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact As a member of the National Centre for eSocial Science (NCeSS) strategy board, I contributed to the wider development of the eSocial Science agenda across the UK.

Wider impacts associated with NCeSS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009
 
Description PolicyGrid : Semantic Grid tools for rural policy development and appraisal (Speaker: E Pignotti) 
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 Presentation given at the AgriGrid meeting, November 2007, York.

Requests for information about the PolicyGrid software tools, ontologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description PolicyGrid : Semantic Grid tools for rural policy development and appraisal (Speaker: E Pignotti) 
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 Presentation at the NIEeS workshop on "Individuals and Environmental Change: eScience for Sustainable Systems", Gregynog, February 2008.

Requests for further information about PolicyGrid software tools and ontologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description PolicyGrid evaluation session (Workshop 3) 
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 PolicyGrid evaluation session at the e-Social Science International Conference 2008.
Session aims: to evaluate a range of prototype e-Science tools with potential users.

Participants in this event assisted with the evaluation of a range of PolicyGrid software tools - contributing to further software revisions, and results presented in scientific papers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description PolicyGrid introduction and scene setting workshop (Workshop 1) 
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 PolicyGrid kick-off event, Aberdeen, 5 June 2006
Workshop content: Introduction to PolicyGrid and its agenda and aims; discussion and explanations of ontologies; assessment of existing quantitative and qualitative datasets and simulation models; initial discussion on domain terminologies; group work on identifying user needs (policy-makers, social scientists) in relation to PolicyGrid and NCeSS aims.

This project kick-off event informed the ongoing PolicyGrid agenda; workshop participants helped develop initial requirements for the ontology and software development activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
 
Description PolicyGrid ontologies and metadata workshop (Workshop 2) 
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 PolicyGrid Workshop 2, Aberdeen, 12 January 2077
The workshop focussed on the role of metadata in supporting effective eResearch within social science. Three discussion groups spent the day focusing on key areas, namely: metadata support for social simulation; metadata support for social science data; metadata support for social science methodology.

Workshop participants helped set the agenda for ongoing ontology development work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Provenance and evidence-based policy research (Speaker: P Edwards) 
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 Presentation given at the "Use Cases for Provenance in eScience" workshop, Edinburgh, 20 April 2009. One-day workshop as part of an eScience Institute Thematic Program on Principles of Provenance.

Establishing a number of contacts in the wider UK provenance community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Rural studies, e-social science and evidence based policy assessment : reflections from the PolicyGrid project (Speaker: L Philip) 
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 at the Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers Conference, Geographies that Matter, London, 27-29 August 2008.


No specific impacts reported.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
URL http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Research+and+Higher+Education/Annual+International+Conference.htm
 
Description Semantic Grid tools for rural policy development and appraisal (Speaker: P Edwards) 
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 at the ESRC Research Methods Festival, Oxford, July 2006.

Creation of a network of contacts that proved useful during the remainder of the PolicyGrid project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
 
Description Semantic grid challenges for eResearch : The PolicyGrid view (Speaker: A Gouaich) 
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 Presentation at the NCeSS workshop "A Semantic Grid for Social Science", Manchester, June 2006.

Not aware of any notable impacts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
 
Description Semantic workflow management for social simulation (Speaker: E Pignotti) 
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 Extended abstract presented at the UK eScience All Hands Meeting in Edinburgh, September 2008.

Speaker (PhD student at the time) received feedback on his ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Social simulation on the grid 
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 Tutorial organised at ESSA 2009 (The Sixth Conference of the European Social Simulation Association) - delivered by Gary Polhill (Macaulay Institute) with contribution from Edoardo Pignotti (University of Aberdeen)

Raised awareness of the JISC ENGAGE-funded project SwarmCloud - aligned with PolicyGrid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
URL http://cress.soc.surrey.ac.uk/essa2009/tutorials.php
 
Description Supporting provenance and argumentation in evidence-based policy assessment (Speaker: A Chorley) 
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 Presentation at eResearch08 - The Oxford eResearch Conference, Oxford, 11-13 September 2008.

Some feedback from peers on approach linking provenance, argumentation and policy evidence.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description The PolicyGrid project, evidence based policy assessment and data provenance (Speaker: L Philip) 
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 at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Geographies that Matter, London, 27-29 August 2008.

No specific impacts reported, other than queries about the work of PolicyGrid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
URL http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Research+and+Higher+Education/Annual+International+Conference.htm
 
Description The eSocial science agenda : challenges and opportunities for geographers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Themed session at the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers, August 2008.

Requests for more information about the ourSpaces VRE prototype
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Using eScience to support evidence-based policy research (Speaker: J Farrington) 
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 Presentation at the edikt2009 Symposium "Using computing in your research", Dundee, 29 April 2009

Awareness raising of potential of eScience technologies to impact on research methods
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Why ontologies are only part of the answer for humanities and social science (Speaker: P Edwards) 
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 Presentation given at the NCeSS Agenda Setting Workshop on "Building Ontologies for Humanities & Social Sciences", 23 March 2007.

We received requests for copies of our initial ontologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Workflow support and agent-based social simulation (Speaker: E Pignotti) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation at 4th International Conference on e-Social Science workshop on "Agent-Based Modelling for the Spatial-Social Sciences", Manchester, 18 June 2008.

Feedback from peers influenced development of our ideas
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Workshop : A Semantic Grid for social science 
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 The workshop focused on the challenges faced by the social science community in order to realise the vision of the Semantic Grid to support their research agenda. Event held as part of the Second International Conference on e-Social Science. June 28th 2006 - Manchester, UK

The event helped to establish a sub-group within the wider eSocial Science community interested in semantic web/grid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
 
Description eScience support for evidence-based policy making (Speaker: P Edwards) 
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 Extended abstract presented at the UK eScience All Hands Meeting 2008 in Edinburgh, September 2008.

Requests for further information about the PolicyGrid project and the ontologies developed to date.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description ourSpaces : a collaborative research environment for e-social science (Speaker: F Hielkema) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation given at OGF21, Seattle, Washington, October 2007.

Awareness raising of research group activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description ourSpaces : web2.0 meets the semantic grid for social science (Speaker: P Edwards) 
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 Presentation at the NCeSS "Research 2.0" workshop, Manchester, 18 June 2008

Resulted in requests for more information about the prototype ourSpaces VRE, and a number of academics keen to be put on the waiting list for accounts once the system went live.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008