Friday, June 14, 2013

ISLE 7th (and last) project meeting

The 7th (and last) project meeting of ISLE took place in the lovely premises of the Lighthouse Golf and Spa Resort in Balchik and the International University College (IUC) in Dobrich, Bulgaria, hosted by the IUC partner of the ISLE Network, between 10-14/6/2013. Due to various reasons, I could not attend the two first days of the meeting (in fact, Monday is always the day for travelling and only a dinner takes place, so I only missed Tuesday).

My trip to Balchik was rather long, as due to delays in flights from Athens to Sofia and from Sofia to Varna, I left Athens at 21.30 and reached the hotel room at 03.30 - the taxi ride from the Varna airport to the hotel took almost one hour! It was really hard for me to wake up at 07.30 next morning as expected but still managed to do so...

The program of the meeting was full and I was glad to see that things were progressing since the last time I joined the consortium (I missed the previous project meeting). There were interesting and long discussions related to sustainability of the project and its outcomes, based on predefined questions, while a reporting took place at the end of the day, summarizing the discussions and proposing specific actions.

Presentation of the ISLE Quality Label by Christina Armutlieva
My presentation was held on Thursday and had to do with both the dissemination activities (Agro-Know is the Dissemination WP leader in this project) and the post-project dissemination and sustainability ones. My colleagues have been working on the corresponding deliverable so it was easy for me to prepare the presentation. I also made use of the really interesting analytics for the project web site and some additional ones for the Facebook page of the project; the participants seems to like this new approach!

In addition, the presentation made by the Harper Adams University College team who won the ISLE Students' competition was a really nice surprise; the students presented an interesting approach to recycling using a fresh presentation method. I filmed the whole presentation and discussion which followed after the presentation using my trustworthy Sanyo Xacti CG20. The video is available here.

The HAUC team with Leticia and Corinne after the presentation 
The project ends on September 30th, 2013 and this was the last project meeting. While there is always the possibility that the proposal for the continuation of the project (ISLE 2) will be accepted, it was really strange for all participants to know that this would be the last time that they meet after almost 3 years and various meeting opportunities. I managed to miss only two of the project's meetings; the kick-off one (when I was not even aware of the project) and the 6th one in lovely Maribor, Slovenia, where a colleague of mine participated instead of me.
Last family photo of the ISLE Consortium members
I keep saying that the ISLE consortium is like a big family so each meeting is more like a family reunion and this last meeting just confirmed my point of view; it seems that I was not the only one to see things this way! I am really going to miss you guys!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

VOA3R - The end...

Well, there's not much to say now... the VOA3R project (Virtual Open Access Agriculture & Aquaculture Repository: Sharing Scientific and Scholarly Research related to Agriculture, Food, and Environment.), funded from the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP), Theme 4 – “Open access to scientific information”, grant agreement n° 250525, is officially over.

I wasn't a VOA3R member from the beginning back in June 2010; I first got involved in the VOA3R project in spring 2011, when I was invited to demonstrate the VOA3R Confolio repository tool in the VOA3R content providers' meeting which was held in the GRNET premises. After that, I started being more actively involved during the summer of 2011, when I was asked to work on the Content Population Methodology deliverable of the project and also participated in the VOA3R Workshop during the EFITA 2011 Conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

My first participation in an event as a VOA3R consortium member. VOA3R Workshop, EFITA 2011 Conference

Since then I was seriously involved in the project, working on the coordination of the content population tasks, organizing metadata evaluation sessions with the content providers, checking the metadata and the tools used for the annotation, explaining the process and the tasks. VOA3R was the biggest project that I had participated since then, so it was by opportunity to apply the experiences and methodologies from other smaller projects (mostly LdV) on a larger scale; I hope that I managed to do a good job!

The project provided me with the opportunity not only to meet a lot of really nice partners (like Ilse from ICROFS, with whom we had met a little bit earlier than VOA3R in a meeting of Organic Eprints National Editors) and also to travel to rather nice destinations for the project meetings (Izmir for the 4th PM, Paris for the 5th PM, Limassol for the 6th PM and Rome for the 7th PM). In addition, I was able to publish the outcomes of the VOA3R project in both journals and conferences.

Presenting the VOA3R platform to Greek agricultural researchers in  2011

The VOA3R project was really active during the 3 years of its life. Some of the project's outcomes are the following:
  • The VOA3R portal: A Facebook for agricultural researchers, as I used to say earlier, provides an excellent opportunity to publish your scientific profile, join user communities and share experiences etc. and access more than 2,500,000 bibliographic records related to agricultural research.
  • The VOA3R metadata AP: Based on the Dublin Core standard, it is a well-defined and thought metadata application profile, which comes in two flavors: A flat one (Level 2) and an advanced one, FRBR-based (Level 4).
  • The infrastructure for maintaining an ever-growing network of repositories from agricultural universities and research centers, to act as a part of the established FAO AGRIS Network, including a well-defined affiliation plan.
  • A study on the existing review and publication lifecycles and the proposal of alternative ones.
  • A metadata aggregation methodology, which may be adapted and reused in the future.
  • Publications in several journals and conferences, such as EFITA and MTSR.

One of the last family photos of VOA3R: Limassol, Cyprus, October 2012

The project will be judged in July 2013 during the 2nd and final review meeting, which will take place in Brussels, Belgium. In the meantime, we still have some time to fine-tune some things and finish pending tasks which were ongoing even at the end of the project.

You may find material about VOA3R at the following sites: