About C4D

The overall aim of C4D is to develop a framework for incorporating metadata into CERIF such that research organisations and researchers can better discover and make use of existing and future research datasets, wherever they may be held. In order to demonstrate the facility of the approach a subject specific demonstrator will be built and this approach verified at the three partner HEIs, each within their own research administration infrastructure.

Whilst a survey of current datasets and metadata will be undertaken it is likely that the specific area chosen will be one in which the three university partner institutions are active; namely marine sciences. EPSRC currently identifies research data metadata as a key part of the outputs from its funded activities. In their expectations they clearly state that research organisations are expected to publish metadata to enable their results to be found, and also to support the data curation lifecycle, as part of the conditions of their award. C4D will facilitate this process, and increase community engagement with the process of metadata production and publication.


In the JISC funded project, IRIOS (Integrated Research Input and Output System) the same consortium developed a platform for managing research information exchange using CERIF. The IRIOS platform supports the import of grant data (inputs) from Research Councils and publication data (outputs) from HEIs. The system allows inputs to be linked to outputs, which can then be exported in CERIF and used in other CERIF-compliant information systems (e.g. Pure, ePrints and, in the near future, RMAS).

C4D will build upon the IRIOS platform, which itself utilises the Universities for the North East Information System (UNIS).  UNIS was designed to meet the core requirements of rapid customisability and extensibility to satisfy the requirements of user groups within the five North East universities, including Sunderland. By extending the IRIOS platform from the existing research information management focus to include research metadata, C4D will take advantage of a robust and secure platform already familiar to users.


The C4D consortium will work with systems providers such as Atira, Converis, ePrints and Symplectic in order to ensure that the developed metadata standards are available for use by as wide a range of institutions as possible. Similarly, we will ensure through euroCRIS that the lessons learned in the development of metadata are fed back to the wider research community.


The University of Sunderland currently co-owns or has access to several suitable research datasets for C4D. Specifically, these include the Climatological Database for the World’s Oceans (CLIWOC) and the JISC-funded UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks digitisation project (CORRAL) providing historical and marine climatology datasets.

At the University of St Andrews, the Sea Mammal Research Unit is a NERC collaborative centre and provides the UK’s main science capability in the field of marine mammal biology collecting data on seal and cetacean populations and related oceanographic data.

At the University of Glasgow, the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences currently has access to marine climatological datasets, primarily for the North Atlantic, extending back up to 650 years.

NERC supports 7 data centres and an environmental data discovery service. It has supported CERIF as a standard for the exchange of research input and output information, and is keen to explore the potential role of CERIF alongside research data metadata standards such as the INSPIRE ISO standard, and others such as UKLII, UK GEMINI2, MOLES and MEDIN.

Key Aims of C4D

By using the projects and standards outlined above as test cases, C4D will:

  1. Evaluate the feasibility of using CERIF as a standard protocol to represent ‘higher-levels’ of research data metadata
  2. Demonstrate how this data metadata can be used alongside other CERIF entities for projects, people, institutions and outputs.

C4D will also add the capacity to store research-data metadata onto the existing IRIOS platform, and provide an interface for searching the repository. This will significantly extend the research information infrastructure, going beyond what is currently available and resulting in an integrated metadata repository which can be sited in the cloud, and made available to other research organisations thus enhancing the discovery of datasets by researchers. By developing the processes to integrate CERIF with other research data metadata standards, C4D will ensure the resulting methodologies are applicable in a wide range of instances where there is a need to report on research data as one of a range of outputs from a research project.

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