Scientific Knowledge Graphs - Interoperability Framework (SKG-IF)

16 Feb 2023

Scientific Knowledge Graphs - Interoperability Framework (SKG-IF)

The Scientific Knowledge Graph - Interoperability Framework (SKG-IF) Working Group (WG) will target the definition of a framework to enable a seamless exchange of information among diverse initiatives regarding Scientific Knowledge Graphs, intended as knowledge bases of scholarly knowledge content (e.g. repositories, databases, catalogues, knowledge graphs, LOD collections). The WG stems from and incorporates the activities of the pre-existing RDA Interest Group (IG) on "Open Science Graphs for FAIR Data"1 and tightly liaises with it. As motivated in the case statement of the IG, the topic is highly relevant, and a priority globally, with this specific RDA IG featuring in several calls for project proposals by the European Commission in 2022.2 The change of name, from “Open Science Graphs” in the IG to “Scientific Knowledge Graphs” in the WG, stems from the specific name convention used by the European Commission in the EOSC-related working programme.


The Open Science movement is encouraging scientists, communities, research organisations, and policymakers to define and adopt methodologies, practices, and tools for 

the open publishing of research artefacts beyond the scientific article, thus including research data, software, and in silico experiments.

As a consequence of this trend, policymakers and funders have adopted Open Science policies so that researchers are increasingly depositing these artefacts and their metadata descriptions, together with relations among artefacts and other relevant contextual entities, such as those described, in repositories available online, i.e., catch-all, general purpose repositories (e.g., Zenodo, Figshare), institutional and thematic (e.g., arXiv, ChEMBL), methodology repositories (e.g.,, research software repositories (e.g., Software Heritage reproducibility and data management suites (e.g., WholeTale, Gigantum, Globus). Similarly, services born for causes other than research have been adopted and re-purposed to benefit science and are currently used as means for the deposition of research products (e.g., GitHub, Bitbucket, Google Colaboratory, Docker). At a higher level of the hierarchy, scholarly registries keep information on literature and data repositories (e.g., FAIRsharing, OpenDOAR, ROAR, re3data), authors' details (e.g. ORCID), organisations (e.g. ROR), projects and funding (e.g., CORDIS).

De facto, Open Science publishing practices unfold the very fabric of scientific progress by digitally materialising a global and decentralised research record and the current status of the scientific forefront.

Naturally, there is a great interest in contributing to and/or consuming such information in order to serve a broad range of applications and studies. To this end, several initiatives are, more or less independently, building specialised Scientific Knowledge Graphs (SKGs), providing ad-hoc views of such research global record capable of serving specific user needs - the new name convention, “SKG vs OSG”, was introduced by the European Commission work programme; the WG adopted it for the sake of clarity. Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, Microsoft Academic Graph (alas, phased out at the end of 2021), OpenAlex, Dimensions, the OpenAIRE Graph, OpenCitations, Crossref, the Research Graph Foundation, the Open Research Knowledge Graph (ORKG), the Human Brain Project Knowledge Graph, SciGraph, Semantic Scholar, as well as several Current Research Information Systems (CRIS) are just a few existing SKGs.

The high fragmentation and heterogeneity of information within these SKG motivate our interest in providing them with an Interoperability Framework (SKG-IF) whose drivers are manifold. Firstly, interoperability would reduce duplication of effort and capitalise on synergies and complementarity. Secondly, interoperability would enable information to circulate and thus ensures the enrichment and enhancement of individual SKGs both quantitatively and qualitatively, as well as more redundancy to safeguard information availability and persistence. Thirdly, interoperability would elevate SKGs as the backbone of modern Open Science scholarly communication.

The activities coordinated by the RDA Interest Group (IG) on "Open Science Graphs for FAIR Data" are currently investigating the motivation and challenges underpinning the realisation of an Interoperability Framework for Scientific Knowledge Graphs (SKGs). Believing that SKGs could (and should!) interoperate more and therefore exchange the locally available wealth of information and added value to benefit the ecosystem globally operating in Open Science and Scholarly Communication, the Scientific Knowledge Graph - Interoperability Framework (SKG-IF) Working Group (WG) will foster the definition of guidelines towards devising a framework to achieve information exchange across the diverse SKGs willing to collaborate.

By bridging academia and industry and bringing together practitioners and stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and interests, the WG will constitute a fertile ground to spark the discussion and converge on a pragmatic approach towards interoperability across SKGs.


Please see attached for complete (and updated following community and TAB review) Case Statement

Review period start: 
Thursday, 16 February, 2023 to Thursday, 16 March, 2023