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ScientificCMS

Characteristics

Programming language: 

Java

Initial release: 

2012

Open Source as of: 

2012

License: 

Current major release: 

2

Developers: 

> 20

Core contributors: 

~ 6

Total installs: 

> 50

Available languages: 

2
May 18, 2015

ScientificCMS is a CMS that makes the creation and maintenance of websites easier for academic research institutes, at the same time that it facilitates scholarly communication and collaboration. It also aims at large organizations which need to present many different pieces of information with high complexity on their websites.

The Use Case

Research institutions have particular needs and characteristics that make the creation and maintenance of a website rather complex, and can pose particular problems for large academic institutions. Despite the complexity there are often just quite a few resources for maintaining the website available. ScientificCMS provides meaningful tools and internal structures, and minimises the workload required for maintaining the website.

One of the features of ScientificCMS is the management of publications according to international scholarly standards including interfaces for data exchange. Research projects can be managed and presented in several different ways. Publications, project reports and other articles may be be relevant in more than one context. This information can be reused, avoiding redundant maintenance. Without entering information again it is possible to create special sites, e. g. for applications for funding or for reports from the existing content (for example relevant publications, research project). Because most informations are already available information rich , issue-specific sites can be created in a very short time.

The Subsites feature enables the creation of multiple sites from the same data pool. An example is a collaborative research centre which usually needs its own website. With subsites it is possible to create two (or even more) websites, each having their own design and their own navigation structure, which share the same information about publications, research projects, CV of researchers, etc. Processing the information has to be done only once.

Of course, ScientificCMS supports mathematical and other formulas in its documents.

The integrated categorisation system is specifically suited for complex scientific information making them accessible to different groups of users (scientific dialog, teaching, politics, professionals). A detailed information processing improves the accessibility and usability. Complex information can be displayed to meet the specific reading habits in the web.

ScientificCMS also supports the communication between scientists at different places, for example for creating a collected volume or the organisation of conferences.

The Foundation of ScientificCMS

ScientificCMS is based on LibreCCM, a Web Content and Collaboration Management platform for medium to very large websites. LibreCCM provides the basic functions. ScientificCMS extends them with modules for research institutes. LibreCCM itself is based on research activities at the MIT. A first version was published in the 2002.

Other projects based on LibreCCM are APLAWS+ and LibreCMS. APLAWS+ was created for the requirements of Local Authorities in Great Britain. LibreCMS is generic Content Management System for large web sites.

Nevertheless, all those modules are perfectly integrated, compatible, and maintained in the common repository.

Concepts

ScientificCMS provides implementations of various concepts to support the creation of a web site which fulfils the requirements.

Information centric – Information is stored as ”Documents” (content items) in ScientificCMS. Each document is of a specific type composed of a dedicated set of fields. The website is automatically created from these documents. It is due to this principle that the same information can be (re-)used in different contexts, for example special thematic pages.

Semantically structured content: The information to process is separated into logical blocks, for example an introducing text (lead text), the main text and additional informations. This allows to present different views of a document on the web pages, for example a short text which provides an overview, and a detailed version which is available using a link. The link lists (object lists) are created automatically from the documents and its categorization.

ScientificCMS provides a comprehensive collection of document types, provided as modules. These document types can be combined to an individual bundle for the specific use case.

Automatic information processing: The documents are edited using forms. The authors do not have to deal neither with the technical details of the web nor with the design. They can focus on the content.

Categorisation – Categories are not only used in sciences for arranging information in a systematic fashion and for providing easy access from different views. In ScientificCMS, it is possible to define several categorisation trees. These categories can be linked with each other, enabling the building of a polyhierarchical thesaurus. Visitors are accessing the content using these categories. The navigation of the website is also created from a category system. Each document can be assigned to any number of categories.

The Content Management System

The content management system itself is based on fine-grained roles, workflows, and sets of permissions. Users may be assigned to different roles. Users with the same privileges can be organised in groups. The system is multi-user capable.

The permission for editing a document is bound to specific roles (for example author, editor publisher) and permissions. The steps from the creation to the publishing of a document is organized and controlled by workflows. Several workflows are pre-definied. An optional notification system allows the notification of persons responsible about all tasks being started and finished.

Technology

ScientificCMS is based on Java and the technologies of the Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE).

Java EE provides a very stable technical base and a high level of security. Also, Java EE has strong focus on long lifecyles, which minimises the effort required for maintenance.

ScientificCMS supports clustering on application level. High availability, automatic failover and scalability are integrated into the software and may be enabled by simply activating them in the configuration.

The integrated theming engine is based on XML and XSL, and can create simple as well as complex layouts. The HTML generated is valid and complies with the guidelines the WAI WCAG 2.0 (Level 2).

What’s on the Roadmap

Version 2.2 will be available in the second quarter of 2014. It will include further improvements for usability of the backend. The main focus is the management of media content.

Version 3 which will be available in the fourth quarter of 2014, will use Java EE 7 as its technical base.

In the second quarter of 2014, the LibreCCM Foundation will be established. The foundation will coordinate the further development of LibreCCM, LibreCMS, ScientificCMS and APLAWS+.

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