DataCite Use Cases Around the World: National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST), Morocco

https://doi.org/10.5438/3g68-vt66

DataCite use cases around the world: Welcome to our blog series shining a spotlight on how research institutions integrate DataCite infrastructure into their systems and workflows. Join us as we explore real-world examples, best practices, and the impact of the DataCite community.


Fadoua El Maguiri https://orcid.org/0009-0001-4748-7405 is the Head of the Moroccan Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (IMIST), an entity under the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST) in Morocco. In addition, Fadoua manages the National Portal PRSM for the publication and online hosting of Moroccan Scientific Journals.

A headshot of Mohamad Mostafa.

Mohamad Mostafa:
What were the reasons at your institution for joining DataCite as a member?

A headshot of Fadoua El Maguiri

Fadoua El Maguiri:
The membership of CNRST (Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technique) in DataCite strengthens our role as an institution committed to promoting national scientific research. This enables us to better support our researchers, increase the impact of their research work, and contribute significantly to the global scientific community.

We chose to become an institutional member of DataCite for several reasons:

  1. Promotion of National Research: By becoming a member of DataCite, we gain access to a global platform that highlights and facilitates access to scientific publications produced at the national level. This promotes the work of our researchers internationally, thereby enhancing their visibility and impact in the field of scientific research.
  2. Standards and Best Practices: DataCite plays an important role in establishing standards and best practices for the management and citation of research data. By partnering with this organization, we commit to adhering to these standards, thereby ensuring the credibility and reliability of the data produced by Moroccan researchers and their integration into the global scientific community.
  3. Support for Researchers: DataCite offers services that support researchers in sharing and promoting their research work. By joining DataCite, we contribute to providing additional support to our researchers in their efforts to effectively manage their research results, which is essential for advancing scientific research in Morocco and internationally.
  4. Global Participation: By becoming a member of DataCite, we engage in a global community of institutions sharing the same objectives regarding research data management.
A headshot of Mohamad Mostafa.

Mohamad Mostafa:
How are  DataCite services currently used at your institution?

A headshot of Fadoua El Maguiri

Fadoua El Maguiri:
At our institution, the use of DataCite services is being deployed progressively. Currently, we are implementing these services as part of a pilot project, the Moroccan Scientific Journals Portal (PRSM), aimed at improving the management of Moroccan scientific journals hosted on our portal. This project was specifically chosen for DOI assignment because our portal uses the Open Journal Systems (OJS) platform, allowing for direct integration with DataCite via a gateway between the two systems. This approach aims to simplify and streamline the process of assigning and registering DOIs for each article published in our journals.

Additionally, the recent migration of the portal from version 2 to version 3 of OJS has brought significant improvements in terms of DOI display, thereby enhancing the visibility and accessibility of scientific articles published in our journals.

Furthermore, we have adopted a strategic approach for assigning DOIs to other types of scientific outputs. We plan to extend this practice to theses defended by doctoral students, as well as to scientific reports and e-books produced by our researchers. This initiative aims to increase the visibility, citability, and accessibility of these documents, thereby enhancing their recognition in the scientific community.

At the same time, we also intend to set up a dedicated platform for research data management, to which we will also assign persistent identifiers (PIDs). This platform will enable Moroccan researchers to store, share, and promote their research data efficiently and securely. By assigning DOIs to these data, we ensure their traceability and longevity, thereby facilitating their reuse by other researchers.

A headshot of Mohamad Mostafa.

Mohamad Mostafa:
What were the most important steps in integrating DataCite infrastructure into your systems/workflows?

A headshot of Fadoua El Maguiri

Fadoua El Maguiri:
The most important steps we followed from becoming a member to registering our first DOIs and metadata:

  1. Identification of needs and objectives: Before even starting the integration process, it was essential for us to identify our needs. This included defining the types of outputs we wanted to identify with DOIs.
  2. Training and familiarization: We invested time in training and familiarizing ourselves with the services and features offered by DataCite. This included participating in webinars, reading technical documentation, and consulting with the DataCite support team to understand best practices and recommendations for successful integration.
  3. Configuration of the Fabrica account: DataCite set up a Fabrica account for our institution, where we configured the necessary settings to start assigning DOIs. This included setting up repositories, assigning prefixes, and other customized settings according to our needs.
  4. Technical integration: We focused our efforts on aligning our systems with the DataCite infrastructure. Our pilot project, the Moroccan Scientific Journals Portal (PRSM), was the focal point of this approach, where we connected our system to the DataCite REST API. This connection facilitated smooth, bidirectional communication, which greatly eased the efficient assignment and registration of DOIs.
  5. Testing and validation: Before proceeding with the registration of our first DOIs, we conducted thorough tests to ensure that the integration worked correctly and that the metadata was accurately transmitted to DataCite. This included creating test DOIs and verifying their resolution and display.
  6. Registration of the first DOIs: After setting up a separate repository for each journal in DataCite Fabrica and assigning them a specific DOI prefix, we proceeded with the registration of our first DOIs for published articles. Each DOI is structured to incorporate elements such as the volume, issue, and identifier of the published article, as well as the name or abbreviation of the journal. This approach ensures that each DOI is unique and specific to the corresponding article, thereby simplifying its identification and reference.
A headshot of Mohamad Mostafa.

Mohamad Mostafa:
What challenges did you face during the implementation and how did you address them?

A headshot of Fadoua El Maguiri

Fadoua El Maguiri:
During our integration with DataCite, two major challenges arose:

First, understanding and becoming familiar with DOIs posed a problem, as we had not received specific training on this subject at the beginning. Fortunately, DataCite allowed us to generate test DOIs, which helped us get accustomed to the process before moving on to the actual use of DOIs. This step was very helpful in gaining the confidence and skills needed to use DOIs effectively in our scientific publication workflow.

Next, the technical integration with our existing systems, particularly our scientific journal publishing platform, was a major challenge. However, we managed to overcome this challenge by carefully consulting the technical documentation of the OJS system on which our portal is based. This study enabled us to understand the necessary processes to effectively integrate DataCite with our existing infrastructure, thus overcoming the initial technical obstacles.

A headshot of Mohamad Mostafa.

Mohamad Mostafa:
What kind of outreach, communication, and training did you do for staff and researchers at your organization before, during, and after adopting DataCite services? What worked, what didn’t?

A headshot of Fadoua El Maguiri

Fadoua El Maguiri:
Awareness and information actions were undertaken before, during, and after the adoption of DataCite services.

Before adoption:

  1. Integration into institutional strategy: In our 2018-2022 strategy, we included the need to improve access to national scientific output and to assign PIDs, highlighting the importance of adopting DataCite.
  2. Awareness during caravans: During the caravans organized at various Moroccan universities, we discussed the importance of PIDs and access to national output, thus preparing the ground for the adoption of DataCite.

During adoption:

  1. Communication on the institutional website and social media: We announced our membership of DataCite on our institutional website and through our social media, informing the scientific community of our commitment to this initiative.
  2. Press release: A press release was issued to inform the general public of our membership to DataCite and our status as a Direct Member, thereby emphasizing our commitment to the management and citation of research results.

After adoption:

  1. Information sessions: We organized information sessions to present the advantages and objectives of adopting DataCite services, particularly focusing on DOIs. These sessions allowed our publishers and researchers to understand the stakes and benefits of this approach.
  2. Technical and administrative support: We established technical and administrative support to help our scientific journal publishers effectively use DataCite services, providing continuous support after the adoption.
A headshot of Mohamad Mostafa.

Mohamad Mostafa:
What impact has DataCite adoption had internally?

A headshot of Fadoua El Maguiri

Fadoua El Maguiri:
Saving time and resources:

Automating data citations and tracking with DOIs has reduced the manual workload for our staff, freeing up time and resources for other tasks. Additionally, DataCite has simplified the preparation of reports and statistics generation, making them more accurate and efficient.

Bar chart showing the cumulative sum of DOIs registered over the years by CNRST, Morocco. Data points: 5,344 (2020), 7,393 (2021), 9,369 (2022), 11,809 (2023), 13687 (2024). At the bottom, you can find the DataCite logo
A headshot of Mohamad Mostafa.

Mohamad Mostafa:
What advice do you have for other institutions planning to adopt DataCite infrastructure?

A headshot of Fadoua El Maguiri

Fadoua El Maguiri:
Some advice for institutions considering adopting DataCite infrastructure:

  1. Needs Assessment: Before adopting DataCite, it is essential to evaluate the specific needs of your institution.
  2. Training: Ensure that you provide training to your team on the use of DataCite services, including the creation and assignment of DOIs, as well as best practices in this area.
  3. Communication and Awareness: Communicate the benefits of using DataCite and organize information sessions to raise awareness within your community.
  4. Integration with Existing Systems: Ensure that the integration of DataCite with your existing systems goes smoothly by collaborating with your technical teams to create effective gateways and ensure they work together seamlessly.