Towards a reference model for online research maps


Online research maps are websites that present information about certain research activities in a

structured manner. Institutions like universities, states, or individual researchers use them as knowledge base to identify and communicate “who knows what” and “where can the respective information

be found”. Furthermore, these items are used as a research marketing measure, stressing the importance of this kind of portal. However, research maps differ in their range of functionalities, their respective naming, their target audience and so on. Thus, it is an exhausting task identifying and choosing the right set of functionalities. Our goal is to offer a template for the creation of common practice

online research maps. For this purpose, we present a reference model and describe its development

process. As preliminary measure, 66 research maps have been carefully analysed with respect to the

formerly mentioned aspects. Derived from the results of our analysis, common practice was identified

and used as basis for developing a reference model for online research maps. For development purposes, an existing language for describing internet portals was chosen and adapted to suite the requirements of describing research maps. The reference model presented in this article was then evaluated in a multi-methodical procedure.

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