FUnctionality Sharing In Open eNvironments
Heinz Nixdorf Chair for Distributed Information Systems

Active Projects


A virtual “Werkstatt” for digitization in the sciences


Data is central in almost all scientific disciplines nowadays. Furthermore, intelligent systems have developed rapidly in recent years, so that in many disciplines the expectation is emerging that with the help of intelligent systems, significant challenges can be overcome and science can be done in completely new ways. In order for this to succeed, however, first, fundamental research in computer science is still required, and, second, generic tools must be developed on which specialized solutions can be built. A virtual manufactory for digitization in the sciences, the “Werkstatt”, which is being established at the Michael Stifel Center Jena (MSCJ) for data-driven and simulation science is a collaborative project funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation to address fundamental questions in computer science and applications. The Werkstatt focuses on three key areas, which include generic tools for machine learning, knowledge generation using machine learning processes, and semantic methods for the data life cycle, as well as the application of these topics in different disciplines. Core and pilot projects address the key aspects of the topics and form the basis for sustainable work in the Werkstatt.


AgriSem: Semantic Web Technologies for Agricultural Data Interoperability


This project aims to enhance and improve the interoperability of agricultural data in Egypt collected and coordinated by CLAES. To achieve this goal, we are going first to apply a number of steps from the data management life cycle to revise the collected data and its associated metadata. After that we are planning to semantically model and enrich these data to allow data integration and reuse. Semantic web technologies can provide a common structured representation of information gathered from real-time sensors as well as from non-real time sources such as producer and retail systems. Data integration is becoming one of the major issues in agriculture. Consequently semantic web technologies are starting to play a more important role.


AquaDiva D01 - Semantic Technologies for Scientific Data management and Text Mining (SemDaTe)


The Collaborative Research Centre AquaDiva (CRC 1076), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), focuses on the important roles of water (Aqua) and biodiversity (Diva) for shaping the structure, properties, and functions of the subsurface. This project aims to answer fundamental questions about the Earth’s Critical Zone (CZ) that begins below the highest density of plant roots (~0.3 meters) and extends down into the first aquifers (~100 meters): What biota live there? How do they interact with and reflect on their environment? and How do they reflect surface properties? In cooperation with the research group of Prof. Dr. Udo Hahn…


Arbeitsgruppe offenes Design digitaler Verwaltungsarchitekturen


Die Arbeitsgruppe ist eine Kollaboration zwischen der FSU Jena, dem DLR Jena, der Universität Bielefeld und der Stadtverwaltung Jena. Im Rahmen zweier vom Bundesministerium des Inneren geförderten wissenschaftlichen Projekten simpLEX und Canarėno werden dort seit Ende 2021 Möglichkeiten untersucht, die Digitalisierung des Zugangs zu digitalen Verwaltungsleistungen zu vereinfachen und zu beschleunigen.


Balance of the Microverse


We aim to understand the formation and balance of microbial consortia and their interactive networks and offer innovative solutions for fighting disease and environmental dysbalance. Balance of the Microverse is a Cluster of Excellence at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. It is funded by the German Research Foundation under Germany's Excellence Strategy. Together with Christoph Steinbeck's Cheminformatics Group, the FUSION group is responsible for research data management in the cluster




The Heinz-Nixdorf Endowed Chair for Practical Computer Science at the Friedrich-Schiller-University (FSU) of Jena, Germany is working with the Institute of Ecology (FSU), the Institute for Geography (FSU), the University Data Center (FSU) and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry for the further development of the established Biodiversity-Exploratories Information System (BExIS). Furthermore, the project will focus on strategic work such as concepts and method development to foster long-term data preservation in biodiversity research at the Friedrich-Schiller-University. Ideally, the further development of the existing BExIS software will serve three purposes: Technical Goals The core of the BExIS software will be revised…


Biodiversity Exploratories - Core Project 4: Data Management


The Central Data Management Project of the Biodiversity Exploratories (BE) Research provides the platform for data storage and information exchange between the different working groups. In this regard, we support BE researchers in their data management activities which includes data collection planning, description, storage and archiving, quality management, discovery, integration, analysis, visualization, publishing and sharing. Such support includes the management of data repository infrastructure, development of tools to support the above listed activities,  help desk, etc. Most of the services  we provide to the researchers are delivered through its online platform called BExIS (Biodiversity Exploratory Information System). BExIS is the data repository and information exchange platform…


Facilitating Semantic Data Interoperability and Integration for Citizen Science Sensor Data


Citizen science data is potentially a valuable source of information. The data is heterogeneous in nature and becomes one of the biggest challenge in rendering information in a usable/reusable way. The project mainly focuses on addressing research issues like data interoperability and data integration to overcome the problem. This project is funded by Friedrich Schiller University Jena under the IMPULSE program.




GFBio (https://www.gfbio.org) is a national infrastructure and contact point for issues concerning research data management and standardization of biological and environmental data. The project was established in 2013 with the main goal is to support scholars in all steps of the data life cycle, from acquisition to archiving and data publication. Five years later, GFBio provides a data portal with access to more than 5 Mio biodiversity metadata files. The majority of this data is linked with primary research data which can be further analyzed in an interactive visualization tool. Furthermore, GFBio is the national contact point for submitting biological data and mediates data archiving in dedicated data centers to ensure sustainable, long-term preservation and publication of research data. In addition, it organizes and supports education and training of scholars on all facets of research data management.


iDiv - Biodiversity Data and Code Unit


iDiv's Biodiversity Data and Code Unit offers support on all matters related to making iDiv data and code FAIR and open.


iKNOW - Leveraging Knowledge Graphs for iDiv and Biodiversity


Knowledge Graphs (KGs) are widely regarded as one of the most promising ways to manage and link information in the age of Big Data. KGs are an excellent tool for data integration. They can be queried using SPARQL, a powerful query language. Furthermore, new knowledge can be inferred, using, e.g., machine learning or data mining. While KGs are without doubt very useful, creating and maintaining them is not trivial. The aim of iKNOW is to provide reproducible and reusable workflows for KG creation. In particular, we aim to develop a semantic toolbox for KG creation and evolution and to showcase its usefulness using major iDiv data sources. iKNOW will leverage these data sources to quickly showcase interesting KGs to iDiv scientists and will use them as the foundation for the toolbox.  The overarching research question of iKNOW is How can knowledge graph creation be made FAIR based on transparent, reproducible, and reusable workflows? On the practical side, the proposal aims to leverage the developed approach to increase the visibility and usability of iDiv data.


Interactive Argumentation Support for Invasion Biology


Developing a good, new argument is not an easy task. In real-world argumentation scenarios, arguments presented in texts (e.g. scientific publications) often constitute the end result of a long and tedious process. A lot of work on computational argumentation has focused on detecting, analyzing, and aggregating these products of argumentation processes, i.e. argumentative texts. In this project, we adopt a complementary perspective: we aim to develop an argumentation machine that supports users in and during}the argumentation process in a scientific context, enabling them to follow ongoing argumentation in a scientific community and to develop their own arguments. To achieve this ambitious goal, we will focus on a particular phase of the scientific argumentation process, namely the initial phase of claim or hypothesis development. According to Toulmin (1986), the starting point of an argument is a claim, and also data that serves as a basis for the claim. In scientific argumentation, a carefully developed and thought-through hypothesis (which we see as Toulmin’s “claim” in a scientific context) is often crucial for researchers to be able to conduct a successful study and, in the end, present a new, high-quality finding or argument. Thus, an initial hypothesis needs to be specific enough that a researcher can test it based on data, but, at the same time, it should also relate to and extend previous general claims made in the community. In this project, we investigate how argumentation machines can (i) represent concrete and more abstract knowledge on hypotheses and their underlying concepts, (ii) automatically compute semantic relations between hypotheses made in scientific publications, and between hypotheses and datasets, and (iii) interactively support a user in developing her own hypothesis based on these resources.


Jena Data Center (JDC)


The Jena Data Center (JDC) at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena is a conglomerate of data repositories belonging to various small to mid-scale biodiversity and ecological projects, that are using BEXIS2 research data management tool. The aim of the data centre is to provide F.A.I.R principles-based data and ensure long-term preservation and availability along with its high-quality descriptive metadata, to facilitate open science and biodiversity conservation. As part of the long-term preservation objective, after the completion of the project tenure, the data centre will integrate the associated BEXIS2 based data repositories within the Jena data centre e-infrastructure so as to ensure the data is available…


NFDI4Biodiversity- A Consortium for the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI)


NFDI4BioDiversity is a consortium of 49 partners dedicated to deliver practical tools for researchers and improve data availability for environmental studies/ecology. We are part of a greater network within the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), which is funded through a 10-year-programme of the Joint Science Minister Conference in Germany (GWK).  To know more about the NFDI4Biodiversity project click here  Objectives To foster access to interoperable data, NFDI4BioDiversity focuses on the following six objectives: Promoting research data management as an integral part of biodiversity research Enabling FAIRness of data Consolidating FAIRness with quality Embedding NFDI4BioDiversity into the (inter-)national landscape Addressing NFDI-wide…


Semantic Annotations for Building a Reproducible and Interoperable Solution for End-to-End Machine Learning Pipelines


Machine learning (ML) is becoming an increasingly important scientific area supporting decision making and knowledge generation and is creating a high impact on several fields including healthcare, education, and many more. With this, it also becomes more and more important that the results of ML experiments are reproducible. The goal of this proposed project is to enable reproducibility and interoperability of end-to-end ML pipelines via the development and exploitation of semantic annotations. The provenance information along with the semantic annotations will be used to make ML experiments more comparable, thus having a basis to judge progress of the field. The aim of the overall project is the application of semantic technologies to ML pipelines for efficient provenance capture, representation, query, comparison, and visualization to enable reproducibility and interoperability. The project is funded through the IMPULSE program of Friedrich-Schiller University Jena.


Semantic Description and (semi-) Automatic Annotation of Citizen Science Data


It is a collaborative project between The Heinz-Nixdorf Endowed Chair for Distributed Information Systems at the Friedrich-Schiller-University (FSU) Jena and German Aerospace Center (DLR). The project focuses on interoperability of the citizen science data. Semantic web technologies can be used to realize a model for citizen science measurement and observation data by covering not only the content related aspects, but also including information on the quality, trustworthiness and provenance of the data.


ThurAI (Thuringian Artificial Intelligence)


The projects focus on the reproducibility and explainability of Deep Learning Pipelines. This is a collaborative project between TU Ilmenau, FSU Jena and IMMS GmbH.


Wissensmodellierung und semantische Vernetzung heterogener Daten und Anwendungen


Im Projekt werden die Annotation von Datensätzen und Verfahren zur Domänen-übergreifenden Vernetzung (“Linked Data”), Wissensmodellierung und Entscheidungsfindung in semantischen Konzepten der Sensorik, der Geophysik und des Erdsystems unter Nutzung von Ontologien und offenen Standards erarbeitet.

Completed Projects


Adaptive Semantic Assistants in Online Applications


The rapid growth rate of available textual documents underlines a prominent need for novel approaches to overcome the information overload that knowledge workers are faced with. In such situations, new information filtering and analysis techniques are required to provide end users with information related to their context and task at hand. In cooperation with the Semantic Software Lab at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada (http://www.semanticsoftware.info), we have been developing a new generation of portals that automatically adapt to their users context using novel techniques from the Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Semantic Computing domains. The vision is to extend an…


BioDialog: Intercultural Dialog through Biodiversity Informatics


Ein Kooperationsprojekt der Universität Jena mit der Assiut University und der Ain Shams University, Ägypten und der Sfax University, Tunesien This project serves to prepare a more ambitious three-year project aiming to bring together two vital topics: data management on the one hand and biodiversity research on the other hand. The BioDialog project has the following main objectives: It aims firstly, to establish a scientific exchange, founded on regional expertise which allows understanding biodiversity and biodiversity informatics practices in their specific local context. Biodiversity and biodiversity informatics are common phenomena. However, they have different effects in different contexts which cannot…




The CoSRe project of the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena investigates how computers can support the entire scientific life cycle. Today in each science computers are needed, not only for the storage of experimental data, but also for generating simulation data and futhermore for the analysis of different kinds of data. Over the internet scientists can work together and can share their results. This collaboration leads to new knowledge and new challenges. To deal with this "flood of information" the complete scientific cycle has to be supported by computers. For more information about CoSRe - please visit the project website http://cosre.c3e.de/


DIANE - Services in ad hoc Networks


In the DIANE project, we aim at developing and evaluating concepts that will allow integrated, efficient and effective usage of services offered in open and dynamic environments like ad-hoc networks. To achieve these goals, we propose mechanisms to address a number of questions: How can service search be facilitated in decentralized, dynamic environments? How can services be described, automatically found, and selected? How can services be efficiently executed? How can fairness be ensured in open environments? We propose mechanisms to describe, find and select services as well as methods including overlays and replication mechanisms to efficiently process such queries. Additionally,…


iDiv- Biodiversity Informatics Unit (BDU)


The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) funded by the German Research Foundation (DGF), is a hub for international biodiversity science whose central mission is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory. The concept of iDiv encompasses detection and quantification of biodiversity, understanding its existence and emergence, exploring it’s consequences for ecosystem functions and services, and developing new strategies to safeguard biodiversity. No single institution – not even a whole generation of scientists – possesses the intellectual capacity to exploit the potential of the data it generates and assembles. Without efficient data storage and sharing within iDiv, between iDiv and the outside,…


LakeBase: Database Infrastructure for Long-Term Data of German Lakes


In this collaborative project coordinated by the IGB, the Leibniz-institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, we plan to develop a database infrastructure for long-term data of lakes. We aim to provide interoperability of LakeBase with international databases, like LTER North Temperate Lake Database and other collections of ecological time series. The challenge will be to achieve interoperability without limiting the data owners' autonomy. The Heinz-Nixdorf-Chair for Distributed Information Systems at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena is responsible for the development of an ontology-based common vocabulary and meta data standards to provide semantic search capabilities and meta data annotation assistance.


Managing Multimedia Data for Science (MAMUDS)


The MAMUDS (Managing Multimedia Data for Science) is a two year BMBF funded project under the  German-Tunisian Science and Technology Cooperation Research Project. The main aim of the project is to develop a multimedia data management platform for biodiversity domain, which will be later integrated with the open source research data management software BEXIS 2. The objectives of the project are- (1) to develop multimedia data management platform for specimens’ images from the herbarium Hausskneckt in FSU Jena, (2) extract diagnostic characters and select functional traits using image recognition methods and (3) annotate plant specimen images using extracted diagnostic characters…




Mercury is a joint project between the Institute of Computer Science at FSU Jena and the IBM Deutschland Research & Development GmbH in Boeblingen. The main objective of this project is to develop a system that combines the user centric device and service processing. Since the integrated system of utilizing a heterogeneous infrastructure of simple sensors and actuators is complicated for average users, we aim to overcome the complexity of this system integration.


Minerva Portals


Minerva Portals is a joint effort of the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Jena and the IBM Deutschland Entwicklung GmbH in Boeblingen. The overall goal of this project is provide an architectural solution for the next generation Web portals.




The aim of the  "MOPS"  project is the development of solutions for the transfer of formerly static business processes into the world of mobile data devices. The project under the title "Adaptive Planung und sichere Ausführung mobiler Prozesse in dynamischen Szenarien (MOPS)"  (Adaptive Planning and Secure Execution of Mobile Processes in Dynamic Scenarios) is funded by the “Thüringer Aufbaubank” and began on the 06.08.2009. The whole project runs 30 months and has a volume of 2.2 million euros. For this purpose financial resources from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) are used. The project consortium includes TU Ilmenau, FH Erfurt, Navimatix,…




OPOSSum (Online POrtal for Semantic Services ) is a portal dedicated to collaboratively build a public test collection of semantic web services. Despite significant research efforts in the field of semantic web services, real tools and applications using them are still rare. One of the main obstacles for improvements in this direction is the lack of sufficiently large and high-quality collections to test and evaluate tools and algorithms for semantic web services. Such collections cannot be built by any single group but only in a collaborative way by the community as a whole. The purpose of OPOSSum is to equip…


Pluto / JSR 286


Apache Pluto Project - Java Portlet Specifikation 2 in cooperation with the IBM research labs in Böblingen, Stuttgart


Power to the People: Business Users Drive Application Development for Portal Websites


Portals are the next generation application systems, offering personalized, seamless integration of diverse applications. The vision is that in the future, business users without programming expertise will build their own portal based environments. The Heinz-Nixdorf Endowed Chair at the University of Jena plans to extend its current research activities in these directions. This could be well done on the basis of former work and the group's experience in areas like portal technology (gained within the context of JSR 286) and (semantic) web services.


Project Z2 of CRC ReceptorLight: Integrative Data Management and Processing


Project Z2 of CRC ReceptorLight is jointly carried out by the Jena University Hospital and Friedrich Schiller University Jena within the framework of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) "High-end light microscopy elucidates membrane receptor function (Receptor Light)" established in 2015. CRC ReceptorLight is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and consists of around 20 research projects from various institutions located in Jena and Würzburg. It will apply and develop light microscopy techniques with highest resolutions in space and time. The volume of the resulting datasets will be large, expected to be in multi-petabyte data. The overall goal of project…


QUIS: Query Heterogeneous Data In-Situ


Data of interest are often found in a variety of data sources, many of which are not relational databases, but have their own data organization and query capabilities. To answer questions of interest, one has to run queries across data from these heterogeneous sources. The traditional approach is to perform multiple individual data transformation tasks, one per data source, to import the data into a common repository where they can be queried and analyzed. Drawbacks of this approach include the manual effort and the cost of transforming and importing potentially large data sets, and the lost opportunity to exploit any query facilities provided by the data sources. QUIS (QUery In-Situ) proposes an approach for querying the data "in-situ" to the greatest extent possible, by taking the user query and transforming appropriate portions of it into corresponding query expressions on individual data sources. Realizing this approach requires the development of a unified query model. This model can extract sub-queries matching heterogeneous capabilities of individual sources, perform heterogeneous joins on intermediate results as necessary, and deal with barriers such as incompatible type systems en route. Early experiments have shown that QUIS almost eliminates the time to prepare the data while paying only a small cost in query execution time compared to a fully integrated, indexed, and loaded relational database.


Semantic User Modeling for the Recommendation of Scientific Data


Collaboration with the  Semantic Software Lab, Concordia University, Montréal, Canada Researchers in the medical and life sciences are faced with an increasing abundance of data in scientific repositories. Thus, handling and filtering of data becomes a more and more time-consuming and challenging task. Semantic recommender systems are a new rising research area using underlying knowledge bases, e.g., ontologies in the recommendation process. That allows to present relevant results that go beyond a user’s stored preferences and to include other semantic related terms that are not explicitly mentioned in the user profile. One obstacle for semantic recommendation is the poor description of personalization settings in state-of-the-art user model ontologies. Apart from storing general user interests it is not possible to specify further needs. We aim at the establishment of a formal semantic user model for scientific research objects and its integration and usage in semantic recommender systems.




For the security forces and rescue workers engaged in a major operation, no integrative information and communication tool is available up until now. Today such coordination is carried out by personal consultation at the site, via official radio channels or by means of paper-based documentation. In the case of scenarios such as mass casualty incidents, however, personal consultations or the procurement and dispatch of documents are virtually impossible to manage. Processes are inefficient and precious time is lost as a result: factors that, in the worst case, raise the number of victims. In this BMBF-funded project, this problem is tackled…