The Ministry of Education and Culture and CSC signed an annual agreement, under which CSC will maintain, provide and develop services to meet the needs of research, education, culture and public administration. The agreement specifies five service packages, which the Department for Higher Education and Science Policy is purchasing from CSC in 2019.
These services help to enhance the operating conditions for Finnish research and education as well as the structural development of higher education institutions. They would also promote national and international cooperation as well as information system interoperability and interoperable solutions. Most of the services specified in the agreement are provided free of charge.
In connection with the data management and computing development program in 2017–2021, the service offering has been expanded to also include state-owned research institutions administered by other ministries. Data management services and research tools can now also be used in academic research conducted at research institutions as well as in education provided at higher education institutions and research institutions.
The purpose of the agreement is to ensure development of comprehensive national expertise and create optimal conditions for full implementation of CSC's updated data management and computing environment.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is purchasing the following service packages for higher education institutions:
- Higher education and research information network Funet
- Information management and architecture services for higher education institutions
- Analytics and data infrastructure services for the Ministry of Education and Culture
- Data lifecycle management services
- The data management and computing development program as well as a service package for developing related expertise
Funet Network Services offer high-speed, uncongested and reliable national and international data connections. The network services, which support research and education, are available to all Finnish higher education institutions as well as other organizations that meet the agreed membership criteria, such as state-owned research institutions.
The agreement also contains provisions on the basic services essential to network infrastructure and supporting network use, such as the FileSender file sharing service for large data files and the training and expert services for Funet network cooperation. The Department for Higher Education and Science Policy will pay at least half of the costs incurred by Funet network services on a centralized basis. The rest of the costs will be covered by funding obtained from higher education institutions and other member organizations.
Higher education data management and architecture services are used to maintain and manage:
- An overview of higher education institution ICT services
- Reference architectures for the support and administration of study, teaching and research
- The information model for higher education institutions
- Other separately agreed shared architectural descriptions and interoperability definitions
The Ministry of Education and Culture's analytics and data infrastructure services disseminate information from higher education and research institutions to the authorities as well as produce reports on the state of Finnish higher education institutions and research. Another objective is to streamline the flow of information across organizational boundaries so that communications are carried out on the basis of data reserves. This will promote the use of information on higher education institutions and monitor its impact. The service package includes, for example, the VIRTA higher education achievement register and maintenance and development of the Research Information Hub.
Data lifecycle management services refer to services needed for the long-term availability of research and digital cultural heritage in expert consulting, development and implementation. Under the agreement, the following services related to the package, among others, are monitored:
- Maintenance and development of the Finna.fi search service customer interface for Finnish archives, libraries and museums
- Information system development of the joint AHAA archive directory service
- Maintenance and development of the National Archives Service of Finland
Long-term preservation of research data (Fairdata) is one of the areas to be developed as part of the service package. In addition to PAS development work, FAIRDATA provides a package that also includes the updating of the IDA research data storage service and the development of the Etsin research data finder and METAX metadata warehouse.
The package also includes various data infrastructure services, such as the administration and development of user authentication and authorization infrastructures. This allows for the use of several different identification methods, such as logging into different services with Haka or eDuuni.
The data management and computing service package covers the maintenance of the data management and computing service package (DL2021; in Finnish) developed for the research needs of higher education and research institutions as well as expert services in the field of scientific and computing applications. Competence development needs and the measures required in the process are considered as part of the service package. The purpose of the service package is to strengthen the basis for high-quality scientific research in Finland.
Expert support will be provided for such things as code optimization and parallel programming as well as for adapting computing methods to research problems in different scientific fields. The computing server environment includes the equipment, systems and software such as the supercomputer, superclusters, application and virtual servers as well as the other server platforms required for the environment, plus their storage and periphery systems and system software. The agreement also covers the maintenance, supervision, data security and development tasks of the computing server environment.
The content of the service packages and their objectives are laid out in sections 3.1–3.5 of the agreement.
The agreement on supplying service packages to the Department for Higher Education and Science Policy of the Ministry of Education and Culture for educational, scientific, cultural and administrative needs in 2019 (Agreement in finnish).