SIRIS Academic is a consulting company in the field of higher education, research, and innovation. Our clients are universities, public administrations (such as regional governments) and, more generally, agencies that fund research and innovation.
We help policy makers make decisions based on data, rather than on intuition, personal preference, or trends. This is what we refer to as “evidenced-based” policy making.
Our two main tools are in-depth analysis reports, which combine qualitative and quantitative analysis, and monitoring tools, which are web applications that provide a set of interactive data visualizations.
From the point of view of INODE, the monitoring tools are the most relevant, since these are software artifacts that our clients use to explore the data. While they work very well at conveying the information to the policy makers, they have a limitation in the sense that they correspond to predefined queries. These are agreed with the users during the development phase of the monitoring tool, and to add new visualization after the tools is completed, further development would be required. Therefore, these online dashboards are not able to satisfy new data needs that arise after their development, even if the underlying datasets that feed the tools would be able to answer these needs.
In an attempt to address this issue, we provide a companion SPARQL endpoint that allows direct access to the underlying datasets. In principle, this allows users to formulate new queries that are not covered by the predefined data visualizations. The problem, however, is that our users typically do not have a technical profile, so they find it very hard to formulate queries in a technical language such as SPARQL.
It is here where the contribution of INODE is most valuable to our use case, since one of the main goals of the project is to provide a way for non-technical users to access and explore data.