SWISSUbase: a cross-disciplinary solution for Swiss universities and institutes of higher education

SWISSUbase is a FAIR compliant archiving platform for the curation, preservation, and dissemination of scientific research data within Switzerland.

The platform relies on international archiving standards and processes to ensure that data are preserved and accessible in the long-term.

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Facilitate the sharing of research data in Switzerland


While Open Data brings many opportunities, there are still many challenges for researchers and research institutions in Switzerland. How can countless data points be documented to facilitate reuse? How can access be controlled according to the sensitivity of data and intended use in other research projects? How can data be shared within data protection policies? How can data be preserved to ensure long-term interoperability and access?



Video created by Apptitude for the official launch of SWISSUbase in November 2022.


There are many platforms and tools for researchers, but most of them are either focused on a specific scientific discipline, accessible only to specific research communities or institutions, or they do not offer both sharing and preservation functionalities. The SWISSUbase platform offers expert services to: curate the data and metadata to ensure quality assurance; and to provide direct support to researchers for depositing and reusing data. 


Based on this observation, the SWISSUbase project was initiated in  2019 by FORS (The Swiss centre of expertise in social sciences), the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the University of Zurich (UZH)  to address these challenges. Together, the goal was to build a national, public, sustainable and interdisciplinary solution for researchers in higher education institutions in Switzerland. The SWISSUbase platform was officially launched in December 2021 and the SWISSUbase consortium was established among the three founding member institutions in January 2022.


Each SWISSUbase consortium member has established its own Data Service Unit (DSU) that supports its respective research community to support researchers in preparing, depositing, finding and reusing data. Currently there are 3 DSUs: FORS Data Service for the social sciences; LaRS (Language Repository of Switzerland) for linguistics; and the UNIL DSU for the different faculties of the University of Lausanne. SWISSUbase focuses on discipline-specific metadata descriptions and functionalities that increase interoperability and discoverability of the data.

swissubase partners

More than 3 years of multidisciplinary collaboration


In November 2019, Bojana Tasic, Head of the Infrastructure and Development Unit at FORS and technical and service lead of SWISSUbase , contacted Apptitude to bring design expertise to their project team. 


Today, Barbara Chabriw, designer at Apptitude, collaborates every month with business experts, the project manager, product owner, scrum master, and developers from the SWISSUbase team to improve the design, features and usability of the platform. 

The methodology follows a simple, efficient and proven iterative process:

  • Collection of business requirements from SWISSUbase consortium members (UZH, FORS, UNIL)
  • Writing of functional and technical specifications by the product owner
  • Discussions with the business and technical teams
  • UX and UI proposals in the form of mock-ups and prototypes
  • Review by  the product owner and technical experts
  • New iterations when necessary
  • Implementation by the technical team
  • Testing and approval by the users (data curators, data producers, and data consumers)


I enjoy the “on demand” collaboration that we have with the SWISSUbase team. Based on their business needs, I suggest specific solutions that the development teams can immediately integrate. It’s great to see this platform grow and mature.

Barbara Chabriw · Designer for SWISSUbase


A scalable and ergonomic system design to reflect SWISSUbase ambitions


At the start of the project, the goal was to define the user experience by conceiving a system design: a repository of coherent and scalable interface components, designed to evolve with the future changes inherent to any ambitious project.


Starting from a logo and a component library based on Angular Material, our designer made different design proposals. This allowed the team to imagine the future look and feel of the SWISSUbase platform.

“I want to thank you once again for the wonderful work you’re doing for us! It is really a pleasure to see how SWISSUbase is evolving visually. We are already recognised as a platform that steps up with its visual identity and a very good design.”

Bojana Tasic · Head of INDEV unit at FORS and Technical and Service Lead of SWISSUbase

Composé dune centaine de composants le design système évolue et se complète au fil du temps

Adapting to user needs


SWISSUbase is a platform used by different users with different needs, which must be understood in order to propose relevant interfaces.


Researchers / data producers want to:

  • Gain exposure by making their work easy to find and easy to reuse by the scientific community.
  • Controlled access to published data by defining different access levels and criteria – from open to very restricted.
  • Have a certified and trustworthy environment that offers long-term preservation of data.
  • Comply with FAIR  and disciplinary standards to ensure  compliance with international standards and funder requirements.


Know there is a team of data experts that provide support for preparing and depositing their data on SWISSUbase

Researchers / data consumers want to: 

  • Discover and access a large catalogue of interdisciplinary research data through efficient search capabilities.
  • Have adequate documentation on how to reuse and reproduce the data.
  • Ensure the data and metadata are reliable and of high quality.


Know there is a team of data experts to help reuse the data they download from SWISSUbase. 


The archiving experts and data stewards want to:

  • Accompany data producers to deposit their research data.
  • Monitor the progress and work to be done on a large number of studies and datasets.
  • Have tools to control the quality of data and metadata
  • Efficient communication processes with data producers
  • Archive Swiss research data based on international standards.


An ever-changing platform to meet the needs of the scientific community


Today, SWISSUbase is used at several universities and research institutions in Switzerland. Hundreds of researchers add their research data and metadata, to ensure its long-term preservation and to share it with the scientific community for reuse.


The platform has many prospects for development:

  • Partnership with more and more universities and research institutions in Switzerland
  • Integration of new scientific disciplines and their specific requirements
  • Increased interface with European and international research platforms

You want to design your platform from scratch?

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Please contact us, our skills are at your service 🔍👀🌐