The project aim is to develop a service-oriented, web-based architecture and IT platform in order to improve information, communication and collaboration within the interdisciplinary subject area “technology assessment” in Germany. For this purpose six information and communication services based on distributed heterogeneous resources and made available through standardized interfaces were developed so far:
openTA news service
openTA calender service
openTA publishing service
penTA service for new publications
a portal for members of the TA network (both individuals and institutions).
The services can be configured and customized so that they can be integrated into the decentralized web offers of the individual institutions and be used at the web-based workplace of scientists. The both centralized and decentralized orientation, enabled by service-oriented technologies and Web 2.0 applications, constitutes the innovative core of the “Fachportal open TA” project and poses a particular challenge. The portal improves communication and collaboration between TA scientists and strengthens the community of TA institutions. It supports teaching and promotes the public use of TA knowledge on a wide scale.
Once the basic infrastructure has been developed and the services of “Fachportal open TA” have been established, the existing services will be enhanced with a research data service during the second funding term approved by the DFG. At first, the new service as a prototype will use research data contained in articles from “Technikfolgenabschätzung -Theorie und Praxis“, the core journal of the German TA community. The journal itself, published for the first time 25 years ago, will be transformed into an open access journal and integrated into the openTA portal and the related services.
Another focus of development is the use of standard data and Linked Open Data (LOD) in order to enrich all openTA services and to publish them as LOD. Existing services already known by the community and routinely running will be evaluated with respect to their usage quality, and the results will be used in order to further develop and enhance these services. Creating web-based interfaces that enable decentralization also at the administration level of the services is one of the factors that contribute to the sustainability and reusability of openTA. Furthermore, we examine whether crowdfunding could be a business model for individual adaptation or development tasks once the funding period has expired. The individual work results are presented for discussion at several workshops and the TA community is asked for their feedback, which will then be considered for our future activities.