EU language research infrastructure gets new impetus
Brussels, 29 February 2012
The European Commission has granted the Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN) a significant boost today by according it an EU legal status. It now becomes a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), which will provide CLARIN with many of the administrative advantages and tax exemptions enjoyed by international organisations. This will simplify the development and management of CLARIN, making digital language resources available to scholars and researchers of all disciplines, in particular humanities and social sciences.
CLARIN is facilitating access for researchers across Europe to multilingual and multicultural content, both written and spoken. In an age where the volume of written texts and spoken or audiovisual recordings is growing exponentially, and computer-aided methods are indispensable for research, it has become difficult for researchers to access and retrieve the wealth of digital resources and tools without a technical background. CLARIN is solving this problem by turning the existing, fragmented technology and resources into an accessible, flexible and stable services network available from the user's desktop.
It provides a single collection of data and tools which can be accessed by the user through a web application, requiring only one identity and sign-on. Researchers are gaining access to repositories of data with standardized descriptions and processing tools to operate them, as well as to guidance and advice through distributed knowledge centres. Unlike some other language based research engines, CLARIN allows a true scientific on-line approach, enabling sophisticated queries based on analysis and processing of language materials.
The construction cost of CLARIN is €104 million and the European Commission has contributed with €4.1 million so far. Its founding members are the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, and the Dutch Language Union. Its headquarters will be hosted by Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
CLARIN was identified in 2006 by ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, as a major research infrastructure for humanities and social sciences.
ESFRI was set up in 2002 and brings together national delegates and a representative of the Commission, working together to pool resources to provide Europe with the most up-to-date research infrastructures. Its roadmap with its 48 priority infrastructures – some of which are now being implemented– aims to help make Europe a world leader in several areas of physical, energy, biological, medical, social and ICT sciences.
CLARIN is the second infrastructure to receive the EU-ERIC legal status. Further requests of becoming an ERIC are expected in the near future. The flexible ERIC status is proving being an efficient tool for speeding up the implementation of the ESFRI roadmap and ensuring long-term sustainability to EU intergovernmental research facilities.
CLARIN website: www.clarin.eu
European Research Infrastructures website: www.ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures
ERIC webpage: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/index_en.cfm?pg=eric
ESFRI webpage: www.ec.europa.eu/research/esfri