According to a study financed under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme of the European Union, most models of impact measurement focus on the “inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts” value chain model:

Inputs → Outputs → Outcomes → Impacts

Where:

  • Inputs: are the investments made or the resources required to produce a deliverable, develop or undertake an activity;
  • Outputs: are the products or services provided;
  • Outcomes: are the immediate changes resulting from an activity – these can be intended or unintended, positive or negative;
  • Impacts: are the net difference made by an activity, taking into account what would have happened anyway, the contribution of others and the length of time the outcomes last.

The New Economics Foundation suggests1 that organisations (including projects) should develop an impact map to show the relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes – sometimes known as the “theory of change” or logic model. Impact maps also show how inputs and activities lead to outputs and impacts.

The impact map of the Sci-GaIA project, after the first year of activities, is reported below.

 

InputsOutputsOutcomesImpacts

  • A stong consortium made of "first class" African and European organisations with a long track record in (i) attracting and managing national and international fundings received to promote e-Infrastructures for e-Science in Italy, in Europe and in the rest of the world, and (ii) with a long experience in supporting Virtual Research Communities belonging several scientific domains.

  • A software framework, such as the Catania Science Gateway Framework, based on widely accepted international standards for building Science Gateways with many instances already successfully implemented, and currently available, for diverse scientific domains.

  • A deep knowledge and experience in building and operating DevOps-compliant Distributed (Grid and Cloud) Computing and Storage infrastructures in Italy, connected with largest e-Infrastructures in the world such as the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), coordinated by CERN, and the EGI.eu Federated Cloud.

  • A long experience in training and outreaching both IT service administrators and researchers belonging to various domains.
    The progressive deployment of the AfricaConnect (and AfricaConnect2) infrastructure, that is already happening now and will continue in the next years.

  • The very promising results already achieved by past projects, such as eI4Africa and CHAIN-REDS

  • The many CoPs already approached and the several promising ones already identified

  • The commitment of both Sub-Saharan RRENs (UBUNTUNET and WACREN)


  • A full-fledged federated Open Science Platform to store and make discoverable and citable all kinds of research products (papers, datasets, data collections, algorithms, configurations, tools and applications, codes, workflows, scripts, libraries, services, system software, infrastructure, compilers, virtualised hardware, etc.) related to scolarship.

  • A series of training and educational materials, documented and organised in various courseware, adapted for CoPs’ end users as well as MSc and PhD students. .

  • A series of re-producible and re-usable scientific applications and data.

  • A well thought and multi-channel training and dissemination & communication plan.

  • A web forum where people (users, stakeholders, decision makers) can freely discuss e-Infrastructure and Open Science related topics.

  • A set of challenging Key Performance Indicators.

  • A DevOps-compliant public research e-Infrastructure (both Grid and Cloud based) for projects and applications.

  • A federated data infrastructure made of standard-based Open Access Document & Data Repositories, Digital Object Identifiers and Science Gateways, all supporting federated authentication compliant the global inter-federation eduGAIN.

  • More users sharing faster, more efficiently and more completely their Green Open Access and/or Grey Literature works and connect them to their ORCID profiles.

  • More people in, both in Europe and Africa (researchers, stakeholders, decision makers - many of them signatories of the Dakar Declaration), aware of Open Science and its benefits for progress and innovation.

  • An Open Science Platform for fully reproducible publications and data reuse pertaining to a variety of scientific disciplines.

  • Increased visibility of European and especially African researchers and of their products (through the connection between the DOIs of their scientific products and their ORCID profiles) and of the organisations they belong to (important for the periodic evaluations of the quality of research).

  • Increased number of scientific products (data, software, virtualised hardware) shared, key enabling factor for more multi-disciplinary approaches to challenging problems, which in turn are the base of an Open Innovation Economy and of a Knowledge Society.

  • Increased number of MSc and PhD students aware of the benefits of the Open Science paradigm and actually adopting it in their day-by-day activity.


New Economics Foundation (NEF) (2009), “Proving value and improving practice: a discussion about social return on investment (SROI)”, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and NEF Consulting, London.