I2S2 Business Models & Sustainability Plan

Neil Beagrie, Manjula Patel, Liz Lyon, Simon Coles, Brian Matthews

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


There is currently a functional chasm between researchers working in their home institution
and at centralised facilities such as Diamond and ISIS. Researchers need to move data
across institutional and domain boundaries in a seamless and integrated manner. The
Infrastructure for Integration in Structural Sciences (I2S2) project has attempted to “bridge
the chasm” and develop a robust data infrastructure to enable these seamless
transformations to take place routinely and to greatly increase researcher efficiency and
productivity. There is also likely to be greater return on investment in the central facilities
such as Diamond through more cost-effective use of resources by the client base.
This Document sets out proposals and business models for sustaining the work of I2S2
beyond the life of the initial project which ends in June 2011.
The project has aspired to bring about significant benefits which are quantifiable, sustainable
and transferable to the entire structural science domain as well as across other disciplines
and across institutions. More specifically, the harmonisation of distributed representations of
data models through abstraction into an Integrated Information Model which underpins
research across multiple sites and global locations is a significant step forward within the
structural science community. It will facilitate data validation, data sharing, data access and
management and data preservation in the longer term. In addition, it is hoped that key
principles and lessons learnt will be transferable into domains such as materials science and
We examine the strategies and policies of RCUK, EPRSC, JISC and the Digital Curation
Centre (DCC), STFC and its facilities, and the UK Research Integrity Office’s Code of
Practice for Research and discuss how the work of the I2S2 project and its future
implementations are closely aligned with them.
We also discuss a range of substantial benefits in terms of research effectiveness and
research efficiency that we have been able to identify from I2S2 and potential metrics to
measure their future impact. Two detailed case studies are provided describing benefits from
a researcher’s and a service provider’s perspective.
The sustainability issues in I2S2 are complex since the project has a disciplinary community
focus and also spans multiple organisations rather than being an initiative within a single
institution. The business case for the continuation of the I2S2 work is predicated on an
Integrated Service approach which delivers a su
ite of joined-up services derived from the
harmonisation of existing services at local (e
.g. institutional laboratory), national (e.g.
National Crystallography Service) and international (e.g. STFC) levels. An approach based
on integration has the advantage of improving
the probability that interventions developed in
I2S2 become fully embraced and embedded into the pre-existing infrastructure. However, to
fully realise the vision of the I2S2 Project, it would be necessary to undertake a second
phase of the project with the aim of completing implementation of the pilot infrastructures;
development of ICAT-Personal into a robust research data management tool; further
development of the I2S2 Information Model; completion of the cost-benefits analysis and
impact work; and extended training of the target communities identified in the project. A
second phase of the project would allow coordinated action on all of these fronts.

Given the uncertainty of appropriating funding for a follow-on implementation phase of I2S2,
we have examined a series of options for sustaining key outcomes from the project; we
therefore offer the following conclusions and recommendations:
– I2S2 Information Model will be further developed in current projects such as PaN-
Data and the UMF Smart Research Framework, which will sustain and promote the
model over the next 2-3 years, and build tools which will use and develop it further. If
the Model is widely adopted, we will seek to support it through an open source
community effort.
– The ICAT-Personal Tool will likely become integrated into the suite of ICAT tools
which support the data management needs of ISIS and DLS to enable the data
analysis phase of the lifecycle activity model as explored in I2S2.
– The NCS intends to update its data and information management systems with a
unified framework, underpinned by the I2S2 Information Model that supports all
aspects of facility operation, covering the whole I2S2 research activity lifecycle
– Our work on assessing benefits and impact has already led to innovations which are
being further developed and sustained via a JISC 15/10 programme project (Digital
Preservation Benefit Analysis Tools) involving a range of partners and data services.
The tools will be user tested, documented, made freely available, promoted by a
range of services, and have value-added support via consultancy if required. This will
allow independent support for and evolution of this work.
– The I2S2 community is only one small part of the much wider structural science
community, and a co-ordinated programme of awareness-raising, training,
professional development and networking across all the structural science domains,
is required; these might include physics, mineralogy, earth sciences and some
aspects of bio-engineering. Extending the I2S2 approach beyond the chemistry
domain is a priority.
– In the medium-term we will continue to disseminate the results of I2S2 as well as
KRDS/I2S2 Benefit Analysis tools and advocate their use at workshops, conferences
and disciplinary meetings.
– Knowledge transfer to equipment and instru
ment manufacturers; the NCS has been
in close collaboration with the instrument
provider, Rigaku, regarding information
and data management and a plan has been drawn up to incorporate elements of the
I2S2 Information Model into the Rigak
u data management framework. This will
involve addition of I2S2 elements into the Rigaku SIMS (Sample Information
Management System) – an XML description of sa
mples and their attributes which will
enable data management from a facility perspective (which was not previously
possible) and will be rolled out with all Rigaku software in the future.
In section 5 we provide initial estimates of cost and timescales for continuation of the primary
strands of work as outlined above.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBath
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2011


  • Research Data Management
  • Infrastructure
  • Structural Sciences
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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