The new infrastructure would concentrate on separating the dependency between software and information, using Linked Data as a way of representing all relevant meaning and logic. However, Linked Data was not the crucial ingredient.The infrastructure would allow projects with different aims to provide vantage points, authored and presented in multiple ways that were naturally compatible, not through software or vocabularies, but through ontologies. The ontological model ensured a common framework based on scientific reality, not artificial categorisation.
Such an approach needed a significant amount of research in its own right, funded in stages as inroads were made into understanding and solving the problem, the RS project iterated through prototypes, continually engaging with subject experts, until our current version which has now a broad group of projects, institutional adopters and contributors.
The project addressed the Mellon Foundation’s concerns that each new project needed to create a completely new IT infrastructure before any scholar could use it effectively, and that the knowledge of one project could not be reused in other ones, partly because of the technical incompatibilities, but mostly because the structure and form of the data produced, which represented narrow referential abstractions, had little or narrow cross project value.