Possible future work based on OA-RJ Linked data

There is a agreed need to have an international collection of identifiable organisation… be this collated from national or local levels, or globally assigned.

There are several such lists available: the UK has a list of educational establishments at data.gov.uk, it is believed that the US has a similar one at data.gov. OA-RJ has an international list of institutions derived from repositories and the organisations that run them.

There are issues that need addressed, however:

  • Anything that is UK focused is, frankly, a waste of time: Even on a global scale, having 1961 countries each post their own list with no consolidation of reference between them gives rise to two main problems:
    1. Finding the lists becomes a problem, and people need to know where each list is
    2. There are a significant number of organisations are are not geographically restricted to a single country (or, indeed, geographically located at all!)
  • The history of organisations needs to be tracked: They are born, merge, split, rename, and even die.
  • They have complex parent/child relationships (there are research centres, funded by NERC, completely housed within larger organisations.
  • They have (multiple?) geo-spatial locations.
  • There needs to be some real-world examples of use for the data.

There have been a number of previous JISC (and other, overseas) projects in this area, which should be pulled together & combined into a greater whole.

[1] 196 countries is the 195 independent [sovereign] states recognised by the US State Department, plus Tiawan. This ignores the very real situation where England produces its own list, with the expectation that Scotland, Ireland & Wales will produce similar lists (so that’s 199). Add in the expectation that the US will produce lists at (possibly) State level, and you’re up to 250 lists. Add in larger countries like Russia or China devolving lists down, and the problem of isolation and “un-discoverability” get even worse! “Divide and Conquer” is definitely the way forward…. but not by secession and independent action – that would [in my view] be ignored by the larger community.

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