Liveblog: BRDI: Review of BRDI Projects for 2009

I’m liveblogging the first meeting of the new Board on Research Data and Information today and yesterday. Standard liveblogging disclaimers apply. The presentation slides are on the meeting site. Because some of the slides are online, I’ll focus on what’s not on the slides.

Review of BRDI Projects for 2009

The Future of Scientific Knowledge Discovery in Open Networked Environments Proposal
Dan Atkins

Can we connect cyberinfrastructure with OERs and related movements?
If we do a meeting, should it be about education as well or just research?
We’ve done a literature review — who’s interested in helping organize the meeting?
What can we do that hasn’t already been done, to move things forward?

Q: Maybe we can set this up as a way for people to come with specific ideas that could become proposals?

Q: Would the average scientist be able to understand this, or is there a need for training and discussion to understand this?
A: I think this would be accessible to most communities.
Q: Are there specialized skills?
A: There’s a need for architectural principles here. People are trying to do this and failing, because of a lack of attention to incentives, rules of the road, etc.

Q: We should have case studies of successful and less-successful projects, and publicize them beyond their discipline as a model for the rest of us.
Q: There are a lot of people who need to learn by example.
Q: Some people would say there’s a need for specific computational thinking skills. On CI, there are some examples.

Designing Microbial Research Commons
Cathy Wu

Paul Uhlir: Various examples here: Neurocommons, Geocommons, Conservation Commons

Proposed meeting:
Materials, digital resources, governance; implementation barriers and strategies

How broadly could this infrastructure be utilized? What are the research and application opportunities?

Q: Is this something the board wants to work on? Why this particular area vs. another?
Q: Comparable with intelligence — how to unify information collected through various channels?
Q: One of the challenges is to identify what’s in common and what’s different. Right now, everybody says they’re unique but building redundant stuff.
Q: Maybe we could use this as a case study at the SKD meeting?
Q: At CODATA, we’ve learned that top-down coordination and planning doesn’t work well, you have to depend on grassroots efforts. You have to grow organically. We’ll have a find a balance between generality and specificity.
Q: This is an important issue that we better talk about.
Q: Is this the same as the Protein Database? The Worm Community System? Are we reinventing the wheel — maybe we could do the workshop on what tools could be appropriated from other areas?
Q: This project is going forward — the question is whether this Board wants to participate in it. The question isn’t whether to focus on this area or another — we can do both.
Q: This Board can’t get into the business of hosting a long string of arbitrary activities. The special responsibility we have is using our prestige and energy to find out what are the common issues and what are separable issues. We should look at communities ready to do this and help them understand the commonalities. Our role should be the anti-Balkanization and anti-waste position. At NSF, there are 18 different projects building workflow environments for science. Everybody’s trying to build their own specialized data repository.
Q: This Board should come up with criteria for the basis on which areas we’ll work on.
Q: There are a lot of lessons to be learned — the worm science system was largely considered a failure.
Q: CODATA has the idea of a global information commons, linking the separate systems.
Q: We have to develop the strategic plan.
Q: We need a team to liaise with the Microbial Commons project. Nobody?
Q: Maybe we want to make a broader impact.
Q: The political economy around large science projects — follow the money. The money’s the way to make researchers open up, and to fund the preservation. Economic questions may be more important than disciplinary ones.

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