Find out more about the vision, the governance and the role the Connectome plays in Switzerland's ORD strategy.


The vision of the Connectome partners is to connect and organise open metadata sustainably across disciplines to make it widely accessible, interoperable and valuable.

The Research Data Connectome is a decentralised open research data (ORD) infrastructure realised by 9 Swiss partners with the following aims:

  • enable ORD practices
  • support FAIR principles
  • enhance and enable metadata search tools
  • federate across national and international repositories 
  • federate generic and domain-specific repositories

As of 2021, there are 9 partner organisations who jointly realise the Connectome project.

First we aim to acquire relevant data providers for research in Switzerland. Next we collect the metadata of their heterogeneous research data and harmonise this metadata into the Connectome Knowledge Graph structure (see Linked Data Pipeline). This structure allows the extraction of added value from linkages between different sets of metadata. Additionally, we are able to extract and create new metadata, e.g. we extract keywords from abstracts or quality information from all metadata.

Once we have cleaned metadata within the Connectome Knowledge Graph, we can enable a variety of service providers to re-use this metadata via the Connectome API to bring added values to researchers, e.g. by applying Connectome AI techniques to expose new insights. Our key aim is to empower data and service providers to make use of the various benefits that come from such an intelligent linking of metadata for research.

The Connectome works with a varying set of metadata that contain e.g. information on persons, organisations, datasets, publications, projects, grants and other research outputs from repositories, research information systems, open government and open data organisations, galleries, libraries, museums etc.

The modern interpretation of our foundation purpose is that „We are the competent and trusted partner for digitalisation issues that jointly concern the education, research and innovation community in Switzerland.” The Research Data Connectome is such a joint digitalisation issue. Hence, we see the role of SWITCH in empowering the national open research data community to achieve the national vision for Open Science as addressed in the National Open Research Data Strategy.

A project like the Research Data Connectome requires various skill sets that only a partnership approach is able to cover. The Connectome partners carry varying roles within the project, ranging from data and service providers to technology partners and topic leads. The Connectome Partnership plays a key role in realising the ecosystem vision. All partner participation is organised using Memoranda of Understanding.

The research disciplines have a very central role in the Connectome project. On one hand we organise focus groups to co-develop insights and use cases, e.g. in social sciences and humanities. These use cases are then aimed to be enabled through the Connectome. On the other hand we also include discipline-specific knowledge in the development of the Connectome Knowledge Graph and when it comes to identifying and connecting data providers.

Of course. Research has no territorial boundaries and, hence, the Research Data Connectome should not have either. SWITCH is a member of the EOSC Association. As such, we aim to discuss our achievements with other EOSC members at European level. We also engage in EOSC Task Forces (e.g. semantic interoperability) to support the research communities. Being a member of EOSC also means that we can coordinate national implementation efforts within the research, education and innovation community. As National Research and Education Network (NREN), SWITCH is also closely linked to GÉANT. Moreover, all other Connectome partners have valuable relationships with their European and international counterparts.

SWITCH has provided staff, infrastructure resources and funded specific SWITCH Innovation Labs aimed at acquiring additional skills and knowledge needed to realise the project. The other partners contribute with numerous in-kind contributions on the basis of bilateral Memoranda of Understanding. After the pilot phase, the sustainability of the project must be ensured through public funding and specific activities within the project are dedicated to the identification of a business model that can ensure the long-term sustainability of the Research Data Connectome ecosystem.

The Connectome Partnership follow a user-centric approach. Any contribution such as presenting problems or providing feedback is extremely welcome. Researchers can e.g. participate in our focus groups dedicated to defining use cases to be implemented in the ecosystem.

Service providers can work with us to clarify and co-design synergetic exploitations of linked open data. Data providers who want to increase the visibility of their data by aggregating them in the Connectome Knowledge Graph are extremely welcome.

For any question or expression of interest to collaborate please contact us connectome@switch.ch.


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