Context and Scope
The Raw Material Knowledge Base Architecture project (KBA) is a technical study developed by the IT unit R3 Information Systems for Growth and the business unit GROW C2 Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials of DG GROW. The KBA study is a preparatory study aimed at providing the technical foundations for building The European Union Raw Materials Knowledge Base (EURMKB). The EURMKB itself is a knowledge platform on raw materials, planned to be built based on the existing projects, programs, initiatives on EU and Member State (MS) level covering metals, industrial and construction minerals from primary and secondary source.
The KBA study investigated the data sources for the EURMKB platform and identified the positioning of the project/system, technical details and constraints, Intellectual Property and the IT-related issues, and the governance of each data source.
The main policy drivers for the KBA is the Action area n° II.8 in the Strategic Implementation Plan of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (EIP SIP), mainly to obtain a knowledge of supply of raw materials from primary and secondary sources in the EU. The KBA project initiated in 2014 and the final report was published in 2015.
The project identified the data needs by the Commission and other stakeholders and collected information about the possible data sources which could provide responses to these needs.
Of the 45 data sources initially considered, 19 have been identified as potential data sources for the future knowledge base. These were analyzed in details based on the information available on their websites. The KBA report also investigated 9 data sources of internal services of the European Commission aiming to provide a better understanding of the existing systems or studies containing raw materials related information to fit the EURMKB requirement.
The aspects considered in the analysis of the data sources are the positioning (scope of the projects, raw materials coverage, and so on), technical aspect (technologies, compliance, data model, and interoperability), and governance (status of the project, owner, sustainability of data, provision and accessibility). Internal and external workshops were organized to obtain some feedback from the stakeholders.
The study highlighted several issues to be considered in the future development of EURMKB: data homogenization and nomenclature, different geographical coverage and level of different confidentiality levels of data between member states and IPR (intellectual property rights) issues, all of these which add to the complexity in harmonizing and standardizing the data. The study also concluded that the challenge of creating a knowledge base is not purely technical and it is essential to create a logical and conceptual solution, to make sense out of statistics with different methodologies and nomenclatures.
The study provided recommendations for future actions such as: defining clear requirements for the EURMKB, data harmonization/classification, structuring the unstructured data, and creating conceptual data architecture.