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About ARCTIS        

There are several challenges linked to shipping and logistics in the Arctic, not the least the current insufficient infrastructure, vast geographical distances, and harsh climatic conditions. Any future developments of the shipping infrastructure and safety of navigation along the Arctic sea routes would benefit greatly from close collaboration and sharing of available know-how and information between all the eight Arctic states and various stakeholders.

The Centre for High North Logistics (CHNL, www.chnl.no) based in Kirkenes in North-Norway close to the Russian border, is an international, non-for-profit center with the main focus of collecting relevant information on maritime transport and logistics in the Arctic. To serve this purpose CHNL has developing a web-based database, ARCTIS (Arctic Resources & Transportation Information System), and has also established the Arctic Logistics Information Office (ARCLIO; www.arctic-lio.com) in Kirkenes and Murmansk, Russia.

Figure: The signing of the contract agreement with CognIT for the design of the ARCTIS database on the 31st of March 2011 in Lysaker, Oslo. From left: Dr. Bjørn Gunnarsson, newly appointed Managing Director of CHNL, Mr. Harald Falsen, Managing Director of CognIT, Mrs. Kristin Omholt-Jensen former Managing Director of CHNL, and Mr. Felix Tschudi, Owner of the Tschudi Shipping Company.

ARCTIS will provide up-to-date and high quality information on the Arctic and play a key role in informing our users about recent developments, operational conditions, technical improvements, and opportunities related to shipping and logistics in Arctic waters.

ARCTIS will strive to be the preferred gateway to know-how for businesses, governments and the research community itself on Arctic shipping and other means of transport, infrastructure development, and innovative logistics solutions. The content of ARCTIS and the information provided will be tailor-made for the needs of the maritime-logistics and resource-exploitation industries as well as for research and educational institutions.

ARCTIS will pursue a dissemination role for the international research community by making research results and results of demonstrations/case studies known to key stakeholders in as user-friendly way as possible. The aim is to make scientific reports more accessible and more understandable so latest research results will be included in the decision-making process and business development. This might contribute to more economically viable, doable, and environmentally friendly transport and logistics solutions for the Arctic.

Database Structure

The ARCTIS system has a wiki-based architecture and equipped with a number of additional support tools from CogIT, the IT-company working with CHNL in the development of ARCTIS with support from Norwegian Kunnskapforlaget ANS, well known for its online publications of encyclopedias, textbooks and dictionaries.

The idea behind ARCTIS was inspired by online encyclopedias such as the Store Norske Leksikon by Kunskapsforlaget and the popular Wikipedia. Both are wiki-based allowing exchange of information and knowledge by means of well-organized short articles, called wikis. 

Wiki-based technologies belong to a category of web technologies often referred to as Web 2.0.  Wiki-technologies are now typically used to collect and share information for the general public on the Internet (e.g. Wikipedia) as well as for various businesses and interests groups. The idea behind the technology is that provided information can be tailor-made for the user, and the system can direct interested users to more detailed data and related information.

Editorial Process

The editorial process of ARCTIS should allow for both high quality as well as timeliness of the information provided. 

Each type of wiki entry in ARCTIS will be supported by a default template and tools that should make writing articles and formatting speedy. Additional considerations are made when introducing multi-media elements like videos and images.

Each theme or subcategory of the ARCTIS database will have its own editor, and each theme will be supported by a group of experts providing content material for ARCTIS and participating in the editorial process. There will be one chief editor and several theme editors. The editor group will consist of highly qualified individuals dedicated to the success of ARCTIS. Only well established and respected researchers and professionals will be recruited for this effort from leading research organizations and industry.

A network of contributors will be created around each theme, assuring qualified coverage.  In addition to members of energy/mining companies, shipping and logistics industries, it is likely that younger scientists and researchers will be important contributors to ARCTIS, though established scientists will also serve an important role as content providers.  The goal is that researchers will choose ARCTIS as a medium for dissemination of their research results.

The suggested editorial process is divided into two distinct parts. The first part is a closed editorial network of experts for:  a) article suggestion/nomination; b) article writing/creation and finally; c) peer reviews before publication in ARCTIS. The second part is visible to ARCTIS users and calls for public reviews/comments of the newly published article and general endorsement.

Before an article is published in ARCTIS it will be peer-reviewed by the particular theme editor and his/hers group of experts. This review process is not meant to be an in-depth review or take up allot of time as is the case for peer-review research articles for scientific journals, but more to check that the article’s facts and figures are correct and that the article is written in good English, presenting relevant information in a clear and understandable manner for our ARCTIS users. After this peer-review process the article is ready for publication, and this is done by the theme editor in charge. This review process should not take up more than few weeks.

Once article is published it can be viewed and commented on by ARCTIS users. This public endorsement is done by “not having significant objections” to the published article. The theme/topic group members must evaluate if reported comments represent valid objections or criticism. If such objections arise, the article is either revised or removed. The public endorsement evaluation is much longer than the initial review process (can be up to one year).

Over time the content of an article may no longer be relevant and/or present information which is out-of-date and needs to be revised. Then the article is removed from ARCTIS, and the theme editor in charge determines if the articles should be revised and re-submitted, or archived. Articles undergoing re-writing will get the label “under revision”. The old version will continue to be publicly available until a new updated version replaces the old one.

 Main Target Groups of ARCTIS

Business Enterprises

ARCTIS should appeal to businesses, government and the research community alike. The shipping/transport companies are the primary target group along with all those businesses and organizations that serve the transport industry.  Additional target group are oil and gas companies and mineral mining companies involved in the exploitation of hydrocarbon and mineral resources in the High North.

Mining and oil companies are enterprises that venture into new frontiers for resources that the world demands.  Resource exploration and production in the Arctic will require marine sea-based support and new logistics solutions.  Today the majority of the drilling facilities available on the world market are operated by shipping companies. Tools and equipment must be brought into the area and ports and passages need to be kept open.  Container traffic, specialized supply vessels, and service ships such as icebreakers will be in demand. In addition, increased focus on the Arctic has attracted interest from the general public. This has opened a new and significant market for cruise ship owners.

Quality information and intelligence that can be captured early could make a big difference.  This could be related to securing available transportation capacity, ensuring port access, obtaining privileges and negotiating lower prices. The requirement here is that an enterprise has adapted an approach that allows new relevant knowledge and information about current and future opportunities in the Arctic to be integrated into the company’s operational strategy and subsequently become a focus of R&D. 

It also requires that those working on R&D are well informed about Arctic issues and able to highlight facts, issues, opportunities and threats in a clear and precise manner. This is where ARCTIS will play a major role in assisting companies with relevant information and data.

ARCTIS will for example highlight data regarding current and potential Arctic resources, provide scenarios regarding future flow of raw materials and goods, future infrastructure needs and transport capacities, sailing conditions, services of ports and terminals, but also pertinent constraints and risks.  More insight on the regulatory framework, permits, tariffs, insurance, and icebreaker assistance is also stressed among those who are contemplating operations in Russian coastal waters along the NEP/NSR. The same information can also help banks and insurance agencies to estimate risks and assess future opportunities along with their clients.

Governments and Public Authorities

ARCTIS will provide national and local governments with the best available information on resources, transport and logistics in the Arctic. Subsequently, ARCTIS could be a key source of new insights that could help in revitalizing regional politics, increase governance and transparency in the High North, and help law makers balance different concerns. 

The information provided by ARCTIS can for example help authorities better understand the various technical challenges that the transport, hydrocarbon, and mineral mining industries are faced with in the Arctic environment, as well as the need for strict environmental protection. It can further aid national funding agencies in getting a better overview on Arctic matters, gauge the state-of-the-art and pinpoint what research topics should be emphasized in the years to come to fill critical knowledge gabs.

ARCTIS has a purpose to fulfill with respect to: ministries; law and policy makers; law enforcement (i.e. police, customs, and coast guard); military; regulators; diplomacy; government agencies; research funding authorities (i.e. NFR, EU Commission, IN); and regional and municipal authorities.

ARCTIS will provide relevant information on Arctic resources, transport and logistics from all eight Arctic States - Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark/Greenland, Iceland, Canada and United States - highlighting all possible Arctic sea routes and connecting transport corridors.

Additionally, information coming from countries outside the Arctic area regarding such issues as market trends, technical developments in the maritime sector (shipbuilding) and other relevant matters will also be displayed in the ARCTIS database (e.g. form EU, China, Korea, Japan).

Research Institutes and Universities

This target group is likely to have a dual role when it comes to ARCTIS.  The major content contributors to ARCTIS will likely be recruited from research institutions and universities.  However, members of this group are also likely to be consumers of the information provided by ARCTIS. Students are likely to become prime users of the knowledge and information, while researchers will both write ARCTIS articles and use the database in their teaching and research.

ARCTIS has plans to work closely with the research insitutions involved in the Global Maritime Knowledge Hub (MKH) and the corresponding professors supportred by the initiative. The goals of the Maritime Knowledge Hub is to link together all segments of the maritime industry in Norway and futher strengthen Norway‘s position in the global maritime industry. Additionally, plans include establishing cooperation with a number of international research institutions and universities, which are devoted to Arctic research, to provide material for building up the ARCTIS’s database.

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