RECHALP: a geodatabase of scientific metadata for the Vaud Alps

RECHALP was a pilot project of transfaculty support platform for transdisciplinary research in the Swiss Alps of Vaud, initiated in 2013 by the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment (FGSE) of the University of Lausanne (UNIL), and hosted there. Its activity ended in 2017, and its mission has since then been transfered to the Interdisciplinary Center for Mountain Studies (CIRM). The initial goal of RECHALP was to support and encourage disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific research, from natural sciences to human and social sciences, spanning more than 30 thematic domains. A code of deontological conduct had also been developed to regulate the access and availability of metadata and source data. The final activity report 2013-2017 of RECHALP is available here.

RECHALP did include:

  • The core database of >5000 metadata including bibliographical data, scientific articles, newspaper articles, scientific reports, projects, scientific equipments, scientific activities and events in this region, all accessible online. This unprecedented inventory for a single mountain region is still accessible (see below) and provides the opportunity to get a state of the existing data at any time, typically for setting-up a new project or develop transdiscipliinary research. It also allows having an overview of the state of knowledge for such an entire mountain area. Finally, it allows to quickly valuing results of disciplinary, and interdisciplinary research projects, and related knowledge, to support the development of new research projects and develop inter-, multi- and trans-disciplinary projects.
    → This geodatabase is now incorporated to the CIRM and accessible here.
  • Descriptive notices for different thematic domains of the Vaud Alps were developed (about the study area, climate, topography, vegetation, etc.). These short texts were available and usable as such by any person interested to develop a research project in the Vaud Alps, to write a research proposal and obtain research funding.
    → These descriptive notices are now incorporated in the web site of the CIRM and accessible here.
  • A Questions’ Fair aimed at facilitating exchanges between scientists, practicioners, and decision-makers. Questions and open issues met by practitioners in the Vaud Alps were relayed to UNIL’s researchers via a Questions’ Fair implemented within the RECHALP website. The RECHALP coordinator was then targeting the questions onto the related researchers interested to propose an answer.
    → A similar concept is now being developed by CIRM.
  • Activities of scientific mediation (outreach), on campus but also and mainly in the Vaud Alps, to inform society of the results of ongoing or passed scientific projects at UNIL. It included workshops with stakeholders, conferences, scientific cafe, the moving InAlpe exhibition (in the Vaud Alps), and other exhibitions like ‘Big Data : Heritage Naturel’, etc.
    → These activities of scientific outreach are now assured by InAlpe and the CIRM.