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News Reports from the DataONE Director’s Chair

Thursday, June 24, 2010

“Welcome to DataONE” News Report No. 1 (25 June 2010) – Bill Michener, PI
Welcome to the first news report from the DataONE Director’s Chair! In this and future reports, my colleagues and I will inform you about DataONE objectives and project status. The project status will include updates on the architecture and its implementation, education and outreach, and DataONE success stories. The reports are meant to be relatively brief, informative, candid, and, at times, humorous.
Before providing an initial update on project status, it may be useful to first summarize DataONE:

  • DataONE was conceived to ensure preservation and access to multi-scale, multi-discipline, and multi-national data about life on earth and the environment that sustains this life. It was recognized from the outset that such data are often difficult to discover, access, integrate and analyze.
  • DataONE’s vision is to: transcend domain boundaries and make biological data available from the genome to the ecosystem; make environmental data available from atmospheric, ecological, hydrological, and oceanographic sources; provide secure and long-term preservation and access; and engage scientists, land-managers, policy makers, students, educators, and the public through logical access and intuitive visualizations.
  • Operationally, DataONE encompasses a distributed global network of Member Nodes (i.e., data repositories) that will provide open and persistent access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data. In addition, a smaller number of Coordinating Nodes (i.e., metadata repositories and service centers) support network-wide services such as data replication and access to an array of enabling tools.
  • The foundation of DataONE is the established collaboration among participating organizations that have multi-decade expertise in a wide range of fields that includes: existing archive initiatives, libraries, environmental observing systems and research networks, data and information management, science synthesis centers, and professional societies. DataONE is not an end but a means to serve a broader range of science domains both directly and indirectly through interoperability with partnering networks.
  • So, where is DataONE as a project? I am pleased to report that the first 9-month roller-coaster ride of a start is successfully completed. The activities and successes are too numerous to cover in a single news report and will necessarily be detailed in future issues. However, some key highlights include:

  • Organizationally, DataONE has its headquarters at the University of New Mexico and is almost fully staffed with an Executive Director (Rebecca Koskela), a Director of Development and Operations (Dave Vieglais), and a soon-to-be-announced Director of Community Engagement and Outreach. In addition, the administrative and programming staff, as well as a number of Post Doctoral Associates and Graduate students are on board. You will hear more about them and their activities in the near future.
  • The design of the DataONE architecture has largely been completed through the Herculean efforts of the Core Cyberinfrastructure Team (led by Dave Vieglais [University of Kansas], Matt Jones [UC-Santa Barbara], and Bruce Wilson [UT-Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory]). Dave Vieglais will summarize CI development efforts in a future issue.
  • Half of the planned dozen or so DataONE Working Groups are up and running. These Working Groups cover all aspects of DataONE from cybersecurity to citizen science to usability and assessment. Future news reports will touch upon each of the Working Groups, their activities, and the diverse members that comprise them.
  • Finally, the DataONE Leadership Team has put in countless hours designing and implementing all aspects of the project. The Leadership Team is comprised of a dozen of the most interesting and talented folks on the planet from government, academia, libraries, etc. Their efforts have been instrumental to the successes experienced thus far and you will hear much more about them in future reports.

What’s next? Upcoming activities include the first meeting of the External Advisory Board in July, an Education workshop in June to create the first set of best practices, numerous Working Group meetings, and the first planning meeting for the DataONE Users Group. Stay tuned as we will also be releasing a major revision of the web site and we will be testing the DataONE prototype cyberinfrastructure, including 3 Coordinating Nodes and 3 Member Nodes.
More exciting news coming in July. Until then, enjoy your summer.