Virtual Research Environments

From Portals to Science Gateways


  • Robert Allan, MD, PhD, FRCP, Consultant Physician, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK

Virtual Research Environments examines making Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usable by researchers working to solve ā€œgrand challengeā€ problems in many disciplines from social science to particle physics. It is driven by research the authors have carried out to evaluate researchersā€™ requirements in using information services via web portals and in adapting collaborative learning tools to meet their more diverse needs, particularly in a multidisciplinary study.

This is the motivation for what the authors have helped develop into the UK Virtual Research Environments (VRE) programme. They illustrate generics with specific instances of studies carried out comparing portal technologies and evaluating usability. This work, and further development of collaboration and Webbased research tools has been carried out with international collaborators, in particular using the Sakai framework and other recent Java-language based portal programming frameworks and associated standards.

The book is divided into a number of chapters providing motivation, illustrations, comparisons of technology and tools, practical information about deployment and use and comments on issues and difficulties in ensuring uptake of e-Science and Grid technology by already practicing researchers.
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Information professionals and other knowledge managers, librarians, and researchers


Book information

  • Published: July 2009
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-84334-562-6


A useful addition to the stock of many libraries in universities and other research institutions., Refer
A valuable resource for e-research initiated and novices at present, and will document the state of e-research in 2008 for posterity., Library Management

Table of Contents

Motivation and requirements; Creating and using research data; Managing and using digital information; Collaboration, trust and security; Domain differences and usability; VRE architecture: The technology; E-infrastructure and grid resources; Desktop environments and the web; Desktop environments and the web; Example 1: E-infrastructure for social science research; Example 2: E-infrastructure for experimental facilities; Conclusions: Lessons learned and limitations.