NARCIS update: February 2022

2 February 2022

As is well known, Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) established a working group Responsible Management of Research Information and Data (RMRID) in the early 2020s. The working group recommended the construction of a so-called Open Knowledge Base (OKB) for research information, which largely fulfils the same function as NARCIS.

DANS was not involved in these deliberations but has let it be known that it is willing to cooperate in the construction of the OKB, in order to phase out NARCIS after its completion – after all, there is no need for two research information systems to exist side by side in the Netherlands. The eventual termination of NARCIS also fits in with DANS’ new strategy to fully concentrate on the promotion of the re-use of research data, a choice that is partly the result of years of real decline in fixed income as a result of government cutbacks.

The current state of affairs is that on 3 December 2021, UNL submitted a request to SURF to develop a business case for the OKB that would address issues such as the technical, substantive and organisational scope, the desired functionalities, international developments, a cost-benefit analysis, a financial model and governance. In April 2022, a proposal should then be made setting out the best way and the parties/people/resources that can be used to realise an OKB.

In the UNL request, SURF is asked to cooperate with DANS and DANS will gladly do so. We can make a useful contribution to the OKB on the basis of our expertise and help ensure a smooth transition from NARCIS to the OKB. DANS and SURF also collaborate closely in other areas.

Although the development of the Business Case must take place at a rapid pace, it is foreseeable that the decision-making process will take some time afterwards. Subsequently, the actual construction of the OKB is also likely to take several years.

DANS has stated that it will keep NARCIS in the air until the replacement desired by the universities is available. Once UNL has given the go-ahead for the OKB, a transition plan will be drawn up in consultation with the stakeholders of NARCIS.

What DANS wishes to emphasise, however, and has also discussed with the NARCIS Advisory Board, is that during the time that NARCIS still exists, it cannot reasonably be expected that DANS itself will invest in new functionality for NARCIS. Any wishes in this regard are taken into consideration when drafting the specifications that the OKB wishes to comply with.

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