SRCE annyversary - 53 Years of Focus on Academic and Scientific Community

29. 4. 2024.

(Zagreb, April 29, 2024) Today, SRCE celebrates its 53rd birthday and as many years of dedication to the academic and scientific community, for which it builds modern e-infrastructure, develops and designs digital systems and services, acts as a center for the application of ICT in science and education, and provides specialized support and education necessary for their use. The University Computing Centre of the University of Zagreb (SRCE) was founded on April 29, 1971, within the University of Zagreb in response to the needs of the academic and scientific community to start more systematically and comprehensively implementing new information and communication technologies in education, science, and society in general. Since its inception, SRCE has been continuously working on the digital transformation of the system of science and higher education.

Although focused on its primary environment, the impact that SRCE has been making over all these years spills over onto Croatian society in general, and through continuous and proactive collaboration with international institutions and participation in international projects, SRCE ensures the integration of Croatia with the European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area.

"Today, SRCE carries out a total of 52 business activities with the aim of providing digital services, ensuring continuous development and reliable operation of information systems, and implementing innovative international and national projects and initiatives. The connection with our community is crucial for SRCE; it is precisely through this connectedness that we create opportunities for continuous communication, which is the basis of our long-standing successful cooperation. SRCE monitors, listens to, and anticipates the needs of its community, and this dedication to the community is a competitive advantage of the academic cloud of SRCE, all digital services and systems, specialized support, as well as educational programs through which SRCE systematically works on raising the digital competencies of all stakeholders in the system of science and higher education," emphasized Ivan Marić, Director of SRCE.

Year after year, SRCE makes significant strides in its operations, and dozens, even hundreds of thousands of users utilize some of SRCE's services. Examples of this are the AAI@EduHr system, with more than 940,000 electronic identities registered in the namespaces of 233 institutions that are identity providers, and the Information System of Higher Education Institutions (ISVU), Information System of Student Rights (ISSP), and Information System of Academic Cards (ISAK), used by the entire academic community - more than 148,000 students. The e-learning system Merlin is also significant, with over 34,000 e-courses open in the academic year 2023/2024 in institutions in the higher education system, maintained by more than 11,900 teachers for over 90,000 students, making it the most used e-learning system in the higher education system in Croatia.

We also highlight the positive trends achieved: during 2023, 596 users utilized resources for advanced computing for a total of 284 research projects, representing an increase of 35% in the number of users and 60% in the number of projects compared to the previous year. The new infrastructure service of SRCE, VDC - Virtual Data Centers, is used by 115 institutions for a total of 1,000 virtual servers. In the Digital Academic Archives and Repositories System (Dabar), more than 170 institutional repositories have been established, containing more than 260,000 digital objects, while the Croatian Scientific and Professional Journals Portal (Hrčak) provides open access to more than 290,000 papers from over 540 journals.

SRCE pays great attention to enhancing the digital skills of researchers, students, teachers, and employees of institutions in the system of science and higher education. Thus, last year, 7,457 participants attended educational activities of SRCE, consisting of 44 instructor-led courses, 41 self-learning courses, and numerous workshops and webinars. The Croatian Science Information System (CroRIS) recorded three times more applications last year compared to 2022, with more than 35,000 active users registered so far. Also, as part of the construction of the national information environment, the development of the Information System of Records in Higher Education (ISeVO) has begun, the Digital Diploma Registry has been established, which currently contains more than 3,000 digital diplomas, and more than 70,000 diplomas issued before 2024.

SRCE is committed to promoting the principles of open science and open education and, within the Croatian Cloud Initiative for Open Science (HR-OOZ), systematically works with partners to create an organizational and technological environment that fosters and enables open science. With its digital services and resources, SRCE supports scientists and researchers throughout the entire lifecycle of research data, and provides support to teachers in integrating open educational resources into the educational process.

"The impact and contribution that SRCE makes to the academic and scientific community, as well as to society in general, are the merit of SRCE's employees. Through their dedicated work, professional competencies, and knowledge, in collaboration with the community, they represent the key to SRCE's success. I congratulate them on our shared 53rd birthday," concluded Ivan Marić, Director of SRCE.

More information about SRCE and SRCE's services is available on the SRCE website.