Here we document the functionality of the app from the perspective of the users and stakeholders. We focus on the scenarios that are supported.
Status of implementation
The DARIAH contribution tool is a big experiment in accounting for research releated output of institutions that cooperate in a European Research Infrastructure with limited funding.
The development of this tool so far has been a significant amount of work, in a landscape that has been changing in several respects:
- the underlying goals and expectations
- the business logic that is needed
- the technology on which all is based
It is likely that further developments will lead to simpler goals, easier business logic, and a simpler implementation.
That is why we do not implement all of the initial specs. Some of the not-implemented items we mark with:
(✗) a single ✗: but expected to be implemented at some point in the future.
(✗✗) a double ✗: unsure if it will ever be be impemented.
All information regarding the assessment and review of contributions, is in so-called back-office tables: packages, criteria, types.
Source of business rules
The business tables have been compiled under guidance of the HaS project by Lisa de Leeuw.
Dirk Roorda has entered them into a big back office configuration file which will be read by an import script and transported into the MongoDB database.
A contribution is a piece of work in Digital Humanities, delivered by a person or institute, and potentially relevant to the European DARIAH research infrastructure.
Selection by National Coordinators
The National Coordinators of DARIAH may add such a contribution to their agreed budget of in-kind contributions to DARIAH as a whole.
This makes it necessary to assess contributions against a set of well-defined criteria.
Contributions may represent diverse efforts such as consultancy, workshops, software development, and hosting services.
Diversification and time dependency
This asks for a diversification of contribution types and associated criteria.
The assessor of a contribution (from now on called applicant) needs to state how that contribution scores for each relevant criterion, and for each score, evidence must be given.
Moreover, types and criteria may change over time, but during an assessment and review cycle they should be fixed.
Packages, types, criteria
Contribution types and their associated assessment criteria are represented by a package record.
What is a package?
A package is a fixed constellation of types and criteria; it defines a set of contribution types, and a set of criteria, and a mapping between criteria and types.
Every criterion is linked to a number of contribution types, meaning that the criterion is relevant to contributions of those types and no others.
Every criterion is associated with exactly one package, hence the package ultimately determines the mapping between types and criteria.
At any point in time there are one or more active packages, usually just one.
A package has a validity interval, i.e. a start date and an end date. A package is active at a point in time, if that point in time is inside the validity interval.
The types of an active package are the active types, and its criteria are the active criteria. Technically, more than one package can be valid at the same time. In that case, the sets of active types and criteria are the union of the sets of types and criteria for each active package. But the intention is that there is always exactly one active package.
Workflow looks at active packages
Other components may call workflow functions in order to determine what the active packages, types and criteria are, so they can render inactive and active ones in different ways.
Moreover, workflow will prevent certain actions for inactive items.
Inactive contribution type
Contributions with an inactive type cannot be assessed. If there are already assessments of such a contribution in the system, they will remain in the system, but workflow will mark them as stalled, and they can no longer be edited.
In order to assess such a contribution, you have to change its type to an active contribution type.
Time dependent packages of types and criteria allow evolution of insights. If the current classification of contributions into types appears to have shortcomings, it is possible to remedy the types. Also, criteria can be tweaked and rewritten.
Evolution of packages
If the current package has trivial mistakes, e.g. in wording or spelling, you can modify its criteria and type records.
However, the best way to change a package for significant changes is by creating a new package, and associate new types and criteria to it, leaving the current package unchanged.
Then set the validity interval to a suitable value. You can let the old and new package overlap for testing purposes. During that interval, the old and new types and criteria are valid.
After that, you can terminate the old package by adjusting its validity interval.
Applicants with write-access to a contribution can add a self-assessment to a contribution.
A self assessment is a record in the assessment table, and consists of a few metadata fields.
Criteria and criteria entry records
When an assessment record is created, additional detail records will be created as well. These are criteriaEntry records. For each assessment, there is a fixed set of
criteriaEntry records. This set is determined by the currently active set of criteria: one
criteriaEntry record will be created per active criterion.
criteriaEntry record has a field for choosing a score and a text field for entering the evidence. Scores are defined in yet another type of record.
The scores for a criterion are entered in with the help of score records, which are detail records of criteria. Scores have a number, typically
4, and a short description, typically
Full, but the number and nature of scores may vary freely between criteria.
The score of an assessment as a whole is the sum of the individual scores expressed as percentage of the total amount of points that can be assigned. A temporary overall score is obtained by treating unfilled scores as having value
Non applicable scores
Some criteria may allow scores with a value
-1 (non-applicable). If an assessment assigns that score to a criterion, 0 points are added, but points missed from this criterion will be subtracted from the total score, so that this criterion will not be counted in the average.
Suppose there are four criteria, A, B, C, D.
A, B, and C have scores
D has scores
Now there are two contributions U and V, with scores as follows:
|Criterion|| || |
See how U does better than V although they have an equal number of points. But for U criterion D does not count, while for V it counts, but the score is 0.
Not all criteria will allow
After a contributor has filled out an assessment, (s)he can submit it for review.
The office will select two reviewers, and they will get access to the self-assessment.
Upon asking for review, the assessment and the contribution will be locked.
The two reviewers have distinct roles:
- reviewer 1 (expert) inspects the assessment closely and advises a decision;
- reviewer 2(final say) makes the decision.
(✗✗) Both reviewers can enter comments in a comment stream, which are detail records of the assessment.
The advice/decision that can be made by the reviewers is
End of review process with positive outcome.
The assessment will remain locked.
The assessment score will be made public.
End of review process with negative outcome.
The assessment will remain locked.
No assessment score will be made public.
(✗✗) The applicant may enter an objection. In that case the back office will ask a second opinion and take appropriate action, which might lead to a change of decision, e.g. towards revise, or to a new review by other reviewers.
The assessment and contribution will be unlocked, and the applicant can modify both of them in response to comments by the reviewers. When (s)he is finished, the applicant can resubmit the modified version.
The National Coordinator of a country can select contributions from his/her country as in-kind contribution of his country to DARIAH for a specific year.
Selection may overrule
Ideally, only contributions that have been well-reviewed will be selected.
But the app also supports the selection of contributions in whatever stage of the assessment/review process.
The national coordinator can select or deselect a contribution. Deselect means: explicitly reject.
(S)he can also refrain from making a decision. As a consequence, there are three possible selection states for a contribution:
The contribution record has a button for selecting it. Only NCs and backoffice people can see/use it.
There is also an overview page for contributions which show the selected state of them. NCs can use this overview to (de)select the contributions of their country.
Revoking selection decisions
Once a NC makes a selection decision, (s)he cannot revoke it.
As a last resort, a backoffice member can undo a decision, after which the NC gets a new chance to decide.
There are no preconditions for selecting a contribution other than that a contribution is not already selected or deselected.
After (de)selection, a contribution gets the workflow attribute
frozen, which prevents all modifications of that contribution, except changing its selected field (only by backoffice personnel).
Also, all its assessments and reviews, including their criteria entry records and review entry records get
Moreover, the contribution will be consolidated, displayable on the interface, (✗) and a pdf report can be generated from the consolidated record on demand.
The app compiles management information of a statistical nature, both to the public and authenticated users.
The quantity of information given is dependent on user rights.
The public can see contributions, but not assessments and reviews, except the ones that are finalized with outcome "accept".
In those cases, the assessment score is also visible.
NCs can (se)select contributions from this overview, but only the ones that belong to the country for which they are national coordinator.
(✗✗) Email notification
It might be handy to send emails to users involved in assessing and reviewing to notify them that a key event has occurred, such as the submission of an assessment, the appointment of reviewers, the decisions by reviewers.
Currently, the app does not send mail.
Users are able to request a password reset, and will get a mail with a password link. These emails are not sent by the app, but by the DARIAH Authentication Infrastructure.
(✗✗) Concurrent access
When multiple users work on the same item, or one user works on the same item in multiple browsers/browser windows/browser tabs, save conflicts may occur.
These save conflicts are not handled graciously. The last saver wins.
This problem is hard to solve, but it can be mitigated.
One way of mitigation is already in the app: whenever a user leaves a field (s)he has been editing, it will be saved to the database.