This post aims to outline the benefits that full membership of CLARIN would bring for the UK.
UK universities and research organizations are among the world leaders in research in language, linguistics, computational linguistics, AI, and in creating the digital resources on which these domains rely. Full participation in CLARIN would offer an opportunity for maintaining and extending this leadership. Many other countries have joined CLARIN as an instrument to start to collaborate in these domains, but will seek partners from among CLARIN members, bringing the risk that the UK could lose out in the future in such partnerships.
CLARIN offers increased visibility for digital datasets, software, services, courses and events, through services such as the Virtual Language Observatory (for finding data), Federated Contect Search (for exploring data), the Language Resources Switchboard (for software), web services orchestration services, Digital Humanities Course Registry (run jointly by CLARIN and DARIAH), and CLARIN Newsletters, and promotional activities in a wide range of forums. While many UK resources currently have impressively high levels of visibility and uptake, this could be optimized further and made more sustainable with CLARIN.
Interoperability and sustainability
Participation in CLARIN offers the facilities for datasets and software created by researchers within research projects to be integrated into the Europe-wide research infrastructure, enabling them to be used alongside and with other resources, curated by well-established repositories and laboratories, enabling much greater interoperability with other datasets and software, and offering a ready-made route to long-term sustainability. This technical integration into the research infrastructure (along with the visibility that it brings) provides an opportunity for greatly enhanced return on investment for the funded research projects at the national level.
CLARIN originates from the domains of linguistics and computer science, but offers services to a wide range of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences and beyond. The focus of CLARIN from its first inception was to support this wide range of users. All disciplines can potentially make use the tools curated by CLARIN which are used to discover, explore, exploit, annotate, analyse or combine test, speech and multimodal data. For example, language models,data and tools are the key components of data mining, information extraction and artifical intelligence applications.
CLARIN is a key curator of language resources in the major and minor European languages, which are widely studied and researched across the UK, not only in higher education. Participation as a full member of CLARIN is the only way to ensure continued access, and the development of access services that meet the needs of users in the UK. CLARIN has been a pioneer among ERICs in the development and use of secure cross-border authentication and authorization for researchers, and in the development of the European Open Science Cloud.
CLARIN ERIC benefits from funding as a consortium member in a number of Horizon2020 projects, and makes widespread use of agreements with third parties institutions to carry out work as part of these projects and to receive the associated funding. This mechanism allows research organization in CLARIN member countries to receive funding from EU research programmes without the time-consuming administrative overheads associated with consortium membership. Such agreemtns are also not dependent on EU membership or other eligibility rules. There have been a number of closed calls for ERICs, and there is likely to be an increasing shift towards the assumption that infrastructure topics are exclusively the domain of the ERICs within the European research area.
CLARIN offers numerous funding opportunities for individual researchers, including funding for:
- organizing research workshops,
- organizing user involvement and training events
- travel and subsistence to attend workshops,
- travel and subsistence to attend the CLARIN annual conference,
- mobility grants for short-term scientific visits between centres,
- travel and subsistence for carrying out training
- developing online resource guides and training materials.
CLARIN's participation in projects also regularly involve further similar funding opportunities, and is likely to result in new ones in the future.
As CLARIN has become the main vehicle for national research funding in the language sciences and the digital humanities in the majority of European countries, full participation by the UK in CLARIN is likely to make future bi-lateral funding programmes easier to achieve.
Read more about CLARIN's activities in all of these areas in the CLARIN Value Proposition [PDF].