Science policy and research evaluation at all levels of the European Research Area need support from reliable, comparable, and comprehensive information on research activity, productivity and quality.

The main difficulty of standardization and interoperability of data at the European level is the variety of national publication information systems and their data models.


The European Network for Research Evaluation in the Social Sciences and the Humanities ENRESSH  aims to propose best practices in research evaluation of SSH fields. The main objective of ENRESSH working group 3 is to reflect upon the standardisation and the interoperability of current research information systems (CRIS) dedicated to research outcomes from the social sciences and humanities (SSH). One of the goals is to develop shared procedures for building and maintaining databases and design a roadmap for a European database.

Finnish solution: VIRTA Publication Information Service

In Finland, an advanced decentralized solution to integrate institutional data at the national level, the VIRTA Publication Information Service, was launched in the spring 2016. VIRTA is a data warehouse, ”a data hub” compiling bibliographic information annually of all scientific publications from 54 Finnish organizations using different local solutions for publication data collection, such as commercial Current Research Information Systems (CRIS), self-made publication registers, institutional publication repositories and e-forms.

VIRTA makes up-to-date metadata from research institutions available for other services and produce comprehensive and comparative information on publishing activity both nationally and institutionally. The publication metadata can be transferred to research funders, publication or data repositories, infrastructure services, or any other service used by researchers.

Applying Finnish concept to European level?

Adaptation of the VIRTA concept would establish a convenient and cost-efficient way for building a European Publication Information Service to which any European country or single organization would be able to provide its own publication data.

The planned European Research Information Service would provide a complete overview on European research publications including all types of scholarly publications and potentially other research outcomes in the future as well. Any country or institution would be able to join despite its own system architecture.

The information would also be usable in various processes such as researchers’ CV’s, funding applications, research evaluations, research administration, science policy planning, decision making, research and information retrieval. The data can be used in various digital services, for example, in importing publications to funding organizations reporting systems.

The European Research Information Service would provide an online infrastructure for research literature available for anyone through the public portal. The metadata of open access publications should always include links to full texts and thus provide a gateway to the actual research.

European VIRTA pilot project

Pilot project in collaboration with ENRESSH COST action was launched in the beginning of 2017.

Description of the VIRTA-ENRESSH pilot (final report 26.03.2018)

euroCRIS 2019 presentation





The target is to explore the use of VIRTA concept across different countries. The project also produces a commensurate dataset for bibliometric analyses (e.g. comparison of publishing patterns, co-publication analyses).

 Piloting countries:

  • Finland, Flanders (University of Antwerpen), Norway (University of Oslo), Spain  (UC3M Madrid)
  • Also other countries are welcome to join!

The pilot will be finished by the Autumn 2017

More information about the pilot