INGV introduces its Open Data Portal



[Rome, November 18, 2020]

The priceless heritage consisting of measurements, research data and related processing, the result of the steady work of INGV researchers, technologists and technicians, considered the most important European research institute for geophysics, volcanology and geosciences in general, it is now easily accessible and available to the entire scientific community and to the public.

The richness of the contents of the Portal makes it a useful tool both for the scientific world and for the entire civil community. Engineers, for example, here will be able to easily find references to ITACA, the archive that collects instrumental records of the most important earthquakes that have occurred in Italy since 1972, or access the Seismic Hazard Database (MPS04) which contains the estimates on which the Italian building code elaborated by the Ministry of Infrastructures are based. Moreover, for example, the historians in the Portal will have free access to information and documentary references on the largest earthquakes of the last thousand years and beyond (with the catalogs CPTI15, ASMI and CFTI5med), on the eruptions of Italian volcanoes and on tsunamis in the Mediterranean area (with the EMTC and ITED catalogs) and, in general, to the catastrophic events that have marked the economic and social evolution of entire regions.

The opening of the Open Data Portal (https://data.ingv.it) is the result of a long process that began in 2015. In IT jargon, this portal is defined as a 'metadata catalog' and is the key tool through which INGV will promote the sharing of its knowledge heritage.

The INGV Open Data Portal is the main tool promoted by the institutional Data Policy, the principles of which were formalized in February 2016 also thanks to the contribution of the experience gained in the context of EPOS (European Plate Observing System), European Research (ERIC, European Research Infrastructure Consortium) coordinated by INGV.

INGV Open data portal screenshot

The creation of the Portal was born on the two cornerstones of the Data Policy:

· the establishment of the 'Data Registry', an operational tool for the systematic cataloging of data generated by the multiple and complex research activities and monitoring networks.

 

· the establishment of the Data Management Office in November 2018, coordinated by Mario Locati of the Milan Section of the INGV, with the task of creating and managing the Data Registry publishing it on a web portal and, subsequently, of using it to support other management and planning activities of the Institute.

 

The Data Registry contains information such as: the temporal and spatial coverage, the date of publication, the version, the type of license for its use and all other information related to it (scientific publications and relationships with other data). This information, defined as “metadata”, can be consulted and downloaded in the most popular standard formats in the international scientific community. To protect general quality and end users, all published information follows a technical-scientific validation.  

User may search data taking advantage of all these metadata. In particular, the search for data may start from the name of the authors, a design choice that limits the "depersonalization" of the data, that is the removal of the link between the results obtained from the studies and the people who conducted them, recognizing the researchers’ fundamental contribution.

Each element present in the Open Data Portal is clearly associated with a unique identifier. The importance of these identifiers is closely linked to the reproducibility of the results obtained, which forms the very basis of the scientific method. Among the various factors that contribute to the reproducibility of a result, an important place is in fact occupied by the reliable identification of the data used, their quality, accuracy and reliability.

In addition, to make the contents of the portal even more usable, automated consultation is also possible through the use of APIs (Application Programming Interface), that are standardized tools that allow external software to send requests and receive well-formatted responses.

The Open Data Portal introduces a convenient tool to locate and use data made by INGV: a final step in a long and complex process and, at the same time, the first step towards greater and more efficient sharing of the Research outcomes of our Institute.

Useful INGV links:

Open Data Portal (https://data.ingv.it)

Data Management Office (http://istituto.ingv.it/it/ ufficio-gestione-dati)

#data #metadata #opendata #openscience #openaccess #creativecommons