Category Archives: weekly log

W-log #6: EOSC Symposium, National Scientific Qualification, CoARA

What happened? A few weeks ago, the EOSC Symposium 2024 organisers opened registration for the event. The symposium is the annual venue to present and discuss all the activities behind the European Open Science Cloud (a.k.a. EOSC) that aims to develop a web of FAIR Data and services for science in Europe. On this occasion, the new task forces initiated by the EOSC Association will be formally presented and start working on new guidelines and specifications to help infrastructures, adopters and enthusiasts to be part of the Cloud. If you are curious, the outputs developed by the task forces of the previous calls are available on the EOSC website.

What I did. I was involved in an unusual lecture for the students of the PhD programme in Cultural Heritage in the Digital Ecosystem, which also saw the presence of several postdocs and early-stage researchers. The topic of the lecture was entirely dedicated to the mechanics of the Italian academic system, with a focus on the academic career and the process of the National Scientific Qualification, i.e. the mandatory requirement a scholar must have to become a professor in an Italian university. We have analysed such a scenario from three distinct perspectives, representing the related research and teaching areas of my Department: (a) antiquities, philology, literary studies, and art history; (b) history, philosophy, pedagogy and psychology; (c) mathematics and informatics. There were great discussions in the middle and end of the lecture, followed by some (informal) ethical considerations about the procedures introduced, with a final hope: that the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) can address, in some way, at least part of the problems in the current procedures.

What to read. Since I’ve just mentioned it, in case you did not have the chance to explore more about this topic, I would strongly suggest looking at the work done by CoARA with the development of the principles and commitments for reforming current research assessment practices within research-performing organisations:

Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment. (2022). Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment [Policy]. European Science Foundation.

W-log #5: Digital Humanities in Italy, reproducibility in Cultural Heritage, managing and converting data, modelling

What happened? From the 28th to the 30th of May, there was the annual conference of the Italian Association for Digital Humanities and Digital Culture (in Italian, Associazione per l’Informatica Umanistica e la Cultura Digitale, a.k.a. AIUCD). It is the main meeting of national experts in Digital Humanities (DH) research, discussing methods, trends, tools, and data on the topic for three days. The complete proceedings of the conference will be published soon and made available on the website. This year was organised at the Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena, an incredible complex of Baroque buildings, which is also the headquarters of the Department of Humanities Sciences of the University of Catania.

What I did. In the context of the AIUCD 2024 conference, there have been a few presentations of works (I am involved as a co-author) describing the research we are conducting around DH. Sebastian, Alice, and Bianca have presented a work that analyses reproducible research in the context of the humanities domain, presenting the creation of a digital twin of a temporary exhibition (which was already introduced in the previous log). Arcangelo has introduced HERITRACE, a semantic data management system tailored for the GLAM sector, based on SHACL for data modelling and the OpenCitations Data Model for provenance and change tracking. Last but not least, Arianna has shown a workflow she is implementing for creating replicable metadata schema crosswalks to facilitate the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage in the digital ecosystem based on the RDF Mapping Language (RML) and surveys for abstracting and reformulating domain-specific knowledge. In addition, I was also approached about possible uses of the FRBR-aligned Bibliographic Ontology (FaBiO) in the context of GLAM institutions. It was a very interesting intake, with exciting collaborations in the following months.

What to read. Among the various possible new readings to suggest as a consequence of the latest knowledge gained within the AIUCD 2024 conference, I would like to highlight an excellent open-access book, published by the wonderful Open Book Publishers, about DH and modelling, which was presented in one of the talks of the conference:

Ciula, A., Eide, Ø., Marras, C., & Sahle, P. (2023). Modelling Between Digital and Humanities: Thinking in Practice (1st ed.). Open Book Publishers.

W-log #4: events, reflections, and readings about reproducibility

What happened? A few days ago, the University of Bologna organised a half-day event entirely dedicated to the concepts of reliability, transparency and reproducibility of research. It counted international experts, including Sabina Leonelli and Daniele Fanelli, who gave two exciting keynote speeches, and two roundtables with several institutional representatives (from the National Agency for The Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes, the Ministry of University and Research, the UK Reproducibility Network, and the Jagellonian University) and with UNIBO’s researchers (from PhD students to Professors) introducing their take on reproducibility within their research and discipline. It has been a wonderful moment of discussion within our community, which will be followed by two additional events (in October and December) dedicated, respectively, to interdisciplinarity and ethics.

What I did. As a consequence of my take-home messages from the event and the slides I prepared for a lecture I gave to second-year students of the Cultural Heritage in the Digital Ecosystem PhD programme, I spent several hours on the concept of transparency, which is strongly tied to reproducibility. In several meetings and papers, I’ve seen too many times that transparency is introduced as synonymous with quality. While I understand the rationale behind such a conclusion, I believe this claim is rather simplistic – and wrong, from my perspective. I would need to spend more effort (and words) to rigorously outline the whole rationale of my thoughts – at least more than a short paragraph in a blog post. Still, the main point here is that quality is a goal to achieve (e.g. to perform qualitatively sound work), while transparency is, in fact, a tool that enables others to check if we have reached that goal. In practice, quality can exist without transparency, but transparency is needed if we want people to scrutinise quality. Thus, transparency does not build quality; it builds trust.

What to read. With all this agitation about these topics I’ve been absorbed this week, the weekly suggestion is, indeed, about research reproducibility and shows how there is not one definition that fits all but, rather, a plethora of different lenses one may have to use, depending on contextual and/or disciplinary situations:

Goodman, S. N., Fanelli, D., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2016). What does research reproducibility mean? Science Translational Medicine, 8(341). – Open Access at