EOSC Enhance announced the launch of a new release of the main entry point to information and resources in the European Open Science Cloud, the EOSC Portal.
The new functionalities, which were geared towards improving the experience for users and providers of the EOSC Portal, were implemented following a requirements gathering campaign carried out within 2020. This EOSC Portal Release is one of the key milestones of the EOSC Enhance project and will be followed by minor releases during 2021 as well as by a major release scheduled towards the end of 2021.
The new release features the new EOSC model for the description of providers and resources, more automated processes especially in onboarding resources to the portal; allows providers more control over their resources; enriches the information for each resource allowing users to make better choices; and supports users with more information such as tutorial and documentation areas for providers.
Across the portal, feedback mechanisms have also been implemented to allow users and providers to provide feedback to the enhancements implemented in the portal.
EOSC Enhance Project Manager Carmela Asero stated: "This is a very important step for the evolution of the EOSC Portal towards a richer and easier to use universal EOSC gateway for providers, researchers and a wider number of heterogeneous users. EOSC Enhance is fully committed in continuing working with other projects and with the new EOSC Governance, to bring additional improvements also in 2021."
Improving the user experience was primarily carried out through the EOSC Portal Catalogue and Marketplace enhancements. Significant changes were implemented to create an intuitive user interface that also leverage on the new data curated in the Resource Profile 3.0.
In improving resource discovery, users now have the ability, even in the preliminary search phase, to immediately compare multiple resources side-by-side and understand whether the resource is open access or needs to be ordered. Existing offers within each resource are also exposed at the search level allowing the user to make quick shortlists from the EOSC Portal's numerous offerings.
To enhance resource presentation, EOSC Enhance enriched and re-organised the information presented for each resource. The resource page is now divided into five main sections.
On the top and immediately visible is the "main" section that provides a snapshot of the resource. It now includes quick links to the resource main website, helpdesk, and training material. On the first scroll, the "about" section provides a brief, high-level, and non-technical description of what the service or resource does, its functionality, what it enables access to and the benefits. It also provides information on the resource offerings. The "classification" section allows users to understand who the resource is intended for through information on its domain, category, target user, location available and languages supported. The full details of each resource is now made available in the resource "details" section accessible in the "main" section as well as a link under the "classification" section. This comprehensive section now provides additional information on marketing information such as linked multimedia and use cases, public contacts for the resource, maturity information such as the resource's TRL, life cycle status or certification, dependencies, attribution to funding programs and grants, ordering methods, and financial Information.
Having a rich catalogue of resources that addresses the long-tail of science requires an EOSC Portal populated by a wide range of providers and their resources. In an effort to make the portal more provider-friendly, significant technical changes have been implemented.
EOSC Enhance has unified the previously separate databases of resources from eInfracentral, the EOSC Portal Marketplace and EOSC-hub service catalogue into a single EOSC Portal database. EOSC Enhance also introduced the Provider and Resource Profiles 3.0, and the EOSC Portal Marketplace and Catalogue has been updated to be compatible with these new profiles. These profiles will also pave the way for the inclusion of data and training resources in the future.
With these foundational elements implemented, EOSC Enhance then implemented a new onboarding process which now allows the providers to register their organisation aside from their resources. Approved providers can then collaboratively work with the EOSC Portal Onboarding Team to offer their resources on the portal.
Providers are now also able to manage their onboarded resources themselves and keep them up-to-date through the newly-released Provider Dashboard with less manual intervention needed from the onboarding team.
The EOSC Portal's API component has also been upgraded and now allows the registration of resources from existing external catalogues and to retrieve data from the EOSC Portal. This allows for a more efficient and automated onboarding of a large number of resources that are already listed in existing catalogues - a functionality very relevant especially with national and thematic initiatives with potentially thousands of resources listed in each catalogue.
The EOSC Portal Content Component serves as the informative section of the EOSC Portal as well as the main gateway to the provider and user-geared components such as the Provider Dashboard and Marketplace and Catalogue.
Following a content and user experience audit as well as an analysis of the website analytics and visitor recordings and heatmaps, several changes have been implemented such as the addition of a "Using the Portal" section that will house all current and future material on how to use the EOSC Portal from a user and provider perspective.
As part of the improvements towards the experience of providers, a Provider's Documentation section has been added allowing the onboarding team to provide up-to-date technical information for providers interested in becoming part of the EOSC Portal. Improvements on navigation across the content component, Marketplace and Catalogue, and Provider Dashboard have been implemented.
A channel to co-produce content on the informative side of the portal has been introduced with ways to submit and edit use cases, news and events, subject to the approval of the EOSC Portal Editorial Board.
A webinar series will be held to introduce the EOSC Portal Release 1 updates.
The first overview webinar, held on 3 December 2020, is still available for viewing.
The second webinar, scheduled on 17 December at 11:00 CET, will focus on the features for new providers, which will also be explained via a tutorial.
The third and fourth webinar events are planned, respectively on 14 and 21 January 2021.
More information is available at the EOSC Portal website.