RFP: Advanced Collaborative Support for the HathiTrust Research Center

Originally from the DLF-Announce email list.

The HathiTrust Research Center is seeking proposals for Advanced Collaborative Support (ACS) projects.  ACS is a newly launched scholarly service at the HTRC offering collaboration between external scholars and HTRC staff to solve challenging problems related to HTRC tools and services. By working together with scholars, we facilitate computational access to HathiTrust Research Center digital tools (HTRC) as well as the HathiTrust (HT) digital library based on individual scholarly need. This Advanced Collaborative Support (ACS) will drive innovation at the scholar’s digital workbench for enhancing and developing new techniques for use within the HTRC platform.
A complete copy of the RFP is available online at http://www.hathitrust.org/htrc/acs-rfp
RFP Schedule:
RFP Available: October 28, 2014
Proposals Due: 5:00 p.m. January 8, 2015
Award Notification: No later than January 30, 2015
Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single zip file to htrc.acs.awards@gmail.com
Program Description (see the full RFP for more detail – http://bit.ly/1DnbuhP):
The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) is seeking proposals for Advanced Collaborative Support (ACS) projects. ACS is a newly launched scholarly service at HTRC offering collaboration between external scholars and HTRC staff to solve challenging problems related to computational analysis. By working together with scholars, we facilitate computational access to HathiTrust Research Center digital tools (HTRC) as well as the HathiTrust (HT) digital library based on individual scholarly need.
The ACS call is for project proposals that utilize the HathiTrust digital library (HT) and HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) computational tools to address scholarly research questions. Examples of such collaboration(s) include, but are not limited to: running topic modeling analysis on a subset of the HT corpus, running large-scale analysis tasks, and visualizing density of word occurrences over time. Proposals are due to HTRC’s ACS group on or before January 8, 2015. Key content of the proposal should include the research context and problems, proposed use of HT digital library or HTRC tools, projected outcomes, and what kind of collaboration is sought from HTRC.

RFP Schedule:
RFP Available: October 28, 2014
Proposals Due: 5:00 p.m. January 8, 2015
Award Notification: No later than January 30, 2015
Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single zip file to htrc.acs.awards@gmail.com

The HathiTrust Research Center
The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) is a collaborative research center launched jointly by Indiana University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, along with the HathiTrust Digital Library (HTRC) to help meet the technical challenges that researchers face when dealing with massive amounts of digital text. The HTRC is focused on developing cutting-edge software tools, services, and cyberinfrastructure to enable advanced computational access to the growing digital record of human knowledge. Leveraging data storage and computational infrastructure at Indiana University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the HTRC is provisioning a secure computational and data environment for scholars to perform research using the HathiTrust corpus. The center is breaking new ground in the areas of text mining and non-consumptive research that will allow scholars to fully utilize content of the HathiTrust Library while preventing intellectual property misuse within the confines of current U.S. copyright law. More information is available at http://www.hathitrust.org/htrc
The HTRC Advanced Collaboration Support Group (ACS) engages with users directly on a one-on- one basis over extended period of time lasting from weeks to months. The ACS Group pairs the ACS awardee with expert staff members to work collaboratively on challenging problems.

HTRC Advanced Collaboration Support Application Information
Proposal Description:
The proposed project should be based on a research question(s) that can be answered by incorporating HTRC components, such as the HT digital corpus, its subsets, and HTRC computational analytics tools. The output of the project should also be able to be generalized to benefit a larger scholarly community with similar research needs.
The HTRC ACS awards are modeled in the form of HTRC staff time. Each awarded proposal will receive access to dedicated HTRC staff to collaborate on the proposed project during the award period. The HTRC ACS staff consists of specialists in computer science and information science fields.
Awardees can be individual scholars or a team of scholars. The HTRC ACS dedicated staff will provide a general overview of HTRC components, the HT corpus and HT computational tools, to the awardees over the course of the project’s time period. They will also provide prototyping support. Awarded scholars are expected to collaborate on necessary parts of the project as agreed upon with HTRC prior to the project start time. The HTRC is proud of its open-source culture. Therefore, open-sourced deliverables—such as open-sourced software and workflows—from the projects are encouraged.
Researchers from HathiTrust member institutions are encouraged to apply. Proposals from non-HT member institutions will be considered if time permits. See http://www.hathitrust.org/community for a list of HT member institutions.
Intellectual Property Terms and Conditions:
The HTRC is committed to making high-quality digital scholarly resources and digitally-based scholarly services as broadly available as possible for educational and cultural heritage scholarly purposes. Accordingly, we encourage researchers to adopt this standard as well on modified and/or derivative software products, source codes, processes, tools, techniques, architecture, prototypes, and/or related documentation and all reports, evaluations, analyses and other documents, other than Software documentation, prepared in connection with or otherwise relating to the Awardee and their Project.
Proposal Requirements:
The proposal should address research context, use of the HT corpus or HTRC computational tools, a description of the collaboration, and a timeline. ALL PROPOSALS must include the following elements:

  1. Proposal Cover Sheet (template available at http://bit.ly/1tB4Qn6)
  2. Proposal narrative is limited to 2-5 pages with 2 additional pages allowed for Bibliography. The narrative should begin with an introduction that summarizes and gives rationale for the proposed project, addressing how the HTRC ACS engagement can facilitate the project. Proposals must identify a clear project leader along with their name and title who will be the designated person to work with the HTRC ACS staff if an award is received. The narrative should also include descriptions of:
  • Project scope and expected outcomes (e.g., final report, publication venue, code, and classroom material).
  • A statement of the awardee’s ability to complete the work within a proposed timeframe ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months.
  • Explanation of the assistance required of the HTRC ACS group to complete the project.
  1. Schedule of completion
  2. List of deliverables, which should, at a minimum, include a 2-3 page final report.
  3. Bio-sketch or CV (2-page maximum) for PI and if applicable other Senior project participants.  The CV should include: Professional training, Employment history, Honors or Awards, Publications or Products with a maximum of 10. This might include publications or other finished and sourced products. Sourced information links to PI work is allowable and maybe reviewed.
  4. A brief letter of support from the applicants’ institutional department.

Other external support documentation (letters of support, etc.) are not required but can be included if relevant to the project being proposed. All supporting documentation must be collated into a single PDF file and may not exceed 5 pages, including bibliography.
For full consideration, an electronic copy of the complete proposal must be submitted by the 5:00 pm (Eastern Time Zone U.S.) on Thursday, January 8, 2015. Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single zip file containing all proposal elements to htrc.acs.awards@gmail.com. Each proposal element (cover sheet, summary and rationale, narrative, bio-sketches) should be a separate file within the zip file. Acceptable formats for proposal elements are PDF and MS Word (.doc or .docx).
Final Reporting Requirements:
Project PIs will be required to submit a 2-3 page final project report (PDF format preferred) detailing accomplishments and findings within 45 days of completion of the Project. These reports will be made public on the HTRC website. Projects will also provide copies of, or links to, any publications generated in conjunction with this project. The report must include at a minimum this information:

  • Overview of the project, and the desired outcome,
  • The alternatives for investigation that were identified,
  • The methods deployed,
  • The final outcomeExtension of the Project: Project PIs are strongly encouraged to contact HTRC about investigating further research funding opportunities for their work in collaboration with HTRC during and near the end term of their projects award period.Review Panel & Selection Process: All proposals will be reviewed by the HTRC Executive Management group and the ACS group. Researchers from HathiTrust member institutions gain higher priority in the selection process. Pending membership applications will be considered during the award process. Respondents will be notified of the HTRC’s final decision, via email, by January 30, 2015.
The successful respondent will demonstrate:

  • A feasible and adaptable use case grounded in the needs of an identifiable scholar or scholarly community;
  • Scholar(s) well qualified to conduct the work proposed;
  • A viable work plan and schedule of completion for projects ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months; and
  • A set of collaborative activities scoped within the range of HTRC’s ability to provide technical support (e.g., datasets, compute cycles, prototyping, etc.)

Proposals that demonstrate collaboration with other scholars will be favored. Preference will be given to individuals who are part of the primary audience of scholarly users.
Respondents are urged to contact htrc.acs.awards@gmail.com in advance of proposal submission to discuss eligibility, project details, prerequisites, and HTRC support with the HTRC team.