Behind the Scenes: Listening to our Stakeholders


The OpenMinTeD project is divided into different tasks. It is the task of Agroknow to carry out the important job of gathering TDM requirements from our stakeholders (OpenMinTeD’s future platform users and contributors), so that OpenMinTeD will build a TDM platform that meets the requirements of our platform stakeholders as good as possible. We focus on gathering requirements from four different scientific domains, represented by the following different communities.

These communities are:

  1. Scholarly Communication
  2. Agriculture / Biodiversity
  3. Life Sciences
  4. Social Sciences

The work so far

In this blog, I’ll bring you up to date on what we have done so far to gather the stakholder requirements in these four different communities. Because in the past few months, a lot of work has been done already!

Agroknow is responsible for defining and applying a methodology for creating the profiles of various types of text mining stakeholders, understanding their content-related needs, identifying their issues and proposing the optimal solutions to address them – focusing on the text mining-related ones. For the recording of these requirements, we used a template called Persona Graph. This allows the uniform description of different personas by different project partners involved in this process. The following figure presents an example of an empty Persona Graph with some initial questions to be answered.


Figure 1: A persona graph for the agriculture/wheat use case

Our methodology consisted of two rounds of requirements’ elicitation:

  1. A general online questionnaire was prepared and project partners were asked to adapt it for their communities. These adapted questionnaires were circulated among stakeholders identified by each one of the partners involved in this process. So in the end we had questionnaires for the agricultural, the scholarly communication, the life sciences and the social sciences communities. These questionnaires were pretty generic, but they allowed us to quickly identify the different types of stakeholders in each community and their most challenging issues.
  2. After the first round of feedback was collected, the initial feedback was taken into consideration and four more refined questionnaires were prepared in order to serve the needs of the four most prominent scientific research communities identified: 
  • Data/content providers, such as institutional repository managers, publishers, journal editors etc.
  • Operators of e-infrastructure and aggregators, such as OpenAIREand META-SHARE (as well as our domain-specific AGINFRA)
  • Text mining researchers, both individuals and the ones working for large organizations
  • Researcher application developers, referring to those who develop applications making use of text mining tools and services.

Figure 2: Part of an OpenMinTeD online questionnaire for content providers


Going into depth

The questions of the online questionnaires may also be used as questions for face to face interviews and focus groups. In this case, additional feedback can be requested from participants, such as the description of existing usage scenarios/workflows (that will help us identify issues and contributions of the project’s outcomes), envisaged ones (that provide direct feedback on what the stakeholders expect), as well as envisaged user interfaces (in the form of draft sketches) that express the way that our stakeholders would like to see the new TDM-powered services integrated in existing websites, portals and other web pages – in general things that can be better described using pen and paper. Such feedback may be collected during the envisaged interactives workshops to be organised by each one of the partners representing the different scientific domains in the project.

Analysis: identifying challenges and expected solutions

The feedback will have to be analysed, organised, validated (e.g. by additional stakeholders or domain experts for each domain) and then the requirements will be used for driving the design and implementation of the OpenMinTeD platform and services. The analysis of the results will take place before the summer of 2016. The work is still ongoing so there will be updates, including some solid results within the next months.

We expect that the analysis of the responses received through the questionnaires and other means, as mentioned earlier, will allow the identification of additional text mining-related challenges and a number of solutions expected by various different stakeholders. This will allow the project to build a platform and services on top of it that will actually be meaningful and useful for their expected users, meeting their requirements, addressing their TDM-related issues and facilitating their work/enhancing the services that they provide to their end users.

Follow OpenMinTeD on Twitter (@openminted_eu) to stay up to date about the OpenMinTeD project and to become involved!

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