The Research Activityflow and Middleware Priorities (RAMP) project seeks to improve national research effectiveness by addressing two of the most challenging components of the DEST/JISC E-Framework for Education and Research and the DEST Accessibility Framework – the areas of people-oriented workflows for research processes, and open standards authorisation for protected repositories.
A key focus of the RAMP project is capturing E-Research activityflows so that they can be analysed, shared, re-used and adapted. This will lead to a national website providing a library of “actionable” best practice activityflows for common research processes. This approach draws on the success of capturing and sharing “Learning Designs” within e-learning, and applies it to the challenges of people-based workflow in E-Research. This work will be complemented by theoretical analysis of workflow standards and languages as applied to E-Research.
The second challenging component of the E-Framework that RAMP addresses is open standards authorisation (using XACML – eXtensible Access Control Markup Language). There is an increasing need for flexible management of protected content as part of repositories such as Institutional Repositories, E-Reserves, etc, but most approaches to protected content rely on hardwired or proprietary authorisation mechanisms that are inefficient, costly, inflexible and promote system lock-in. The RAMP project will address the need for open standards authorisation through the creation of a generalised XACML authorisation module that could potentially be adopted by any repository system. This module will be implemented and tested initially using the Fedora repository, based on existing work on Fedora and XACML from MAMS and ARROW. Subsequent implementation with other repository systems will be explored.
The final stage of RAMP will unify the workflow and authorisation components through a “fusion” project to explore interaction and integration between these two areas, and their overall combined impact on the E-Framework. This fusion project will lay the groundwork for potential future work in unified workflow and authorisation services, and their interaction with other E-Framework services.
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