[Esip-dds] Info for next week's Data Decadal Survey panel discussion

Anne Wilson anne.wilson at lasp.colorado.edu
Mon Jul 1 23:46:49 EDT 2013

Dear panelists,

Thank you for agreeing to serve on our panel, "The Potential Value and 
Impacts of a Data Decadal Survey", next Wednesday, July 10. This message 
is to introduce myself to you, for those who don't know me, and to 
introduce you to each other.   Our panelists are:

- Dan Baker, Director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics 
(LASP), Chair of 2012 Heliophysics Decadal Survey
- Stan Ahalt, Director, Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
- Todd Vision, Director of Informatics and Associate Director, National 
Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), Professor of Biology, UNC
- Michael Tiemann, Vice President of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat Inc.

(If any of these descriptions are incomplete or inaccurate, please let 
me know!)

I am Anne Wilson.  I have been coordinating the Data Decadal Survey 
cluster in ESIP since we started this effort in January.   I am a senior 
software engineer in the Data Systems group at LASP.  My training is in 
Computer Science, and I've been working in the arena of scientific data 
access and management for almost 20 years.  I will be introducing the 
panel, moderating the discussion, and providing a brief closing summary.

Also, we will hold a working session at 8:30 AM the morning following 
the panel discussion (on Thursday, July 11) where we will digest what we 
learned from the discussion and make plans for moving forward.  You are 
all invited to attend and contribute to that session.  Please consider 
joining us for that, as we value your input.

Note that on Wednesday, the day of our panel discussion, the afternoon 
sessions of the ESIP meeting will be will be held at the new Nature 
Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in 
Raleigh, followed by a reception.   This is a great opportunity to see 
new technologies for interacting with the public and also networking 
with the other panelists and ESIP members.  You are invited to join us 
there as well.

I believe all of you have received our speaker instructions.  Please let 
us know if you have not received them.  If you have not already done so, 
please send us as soon as possible a title for your talk, as well as a 
biographical sketch, which will be included in the meeting program.

In the speaker instructions we asked that you prepare to speak for 15 
minutes, but in order to leave sufficient time for discussion we must 
reduce that to 12 minutes.   Sorry!

I believe all of you have received the abstract for the discussion, but 
I've included it again here for completeness.   Also, we have slightly 
modified the questions for the panelists, which I have also included 
here.  We are interested in your thoughts about those questions, but 
also any other relevant thoughts you may have about this topic.

Again, thank you for agreeing to participate in this discussion! The 
panel is an interesting and accomplished group of people.  I expect the 
discussion to be lively and stimulating.  I am greatly looking forward 
to this!

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to facilitate your 
joining us and giving your presentation.  I look forward to seeing you 
in Chapel Hill next week.


Anne Wilson

*Questions for the Panel*

     .    Do you have ideas for science that could be done with improved 
data management and stewardship (DMAS) that cannot be done now? If so, what?
     .    Do you know of serious gaps in DMAS that negatively impact 
science? If so, tell us about some.
     .    Do you see a need for a Data Decadal Survey? If so, why? If 
not, why not?
     .    What is your vision for the future regarding scientific data? 
Please be bold and include fanciful, idealistic, lofty, and even utopian 

If in support of a survey:
     .    What do you think are the big questions around DMAS that must 
be addressed? What are the highest priorities?
     .    Is a Decadal Survey the right vehicle, or should it be 
something else?
     .    What do you think should be the scope of the survey?

  * Given that either extreme of depth or breadth is of less general
    use, what exactly should we target?

  * Earth Science only or broader? For example, does it make sense to
    start "small" in the Earth Sciences and then generalize? Or, as data
    management problems across all domains are basically similar, should
    we start with the more general and perhaps go into greater detail later?
  * Data? Software? Methodologies?
  * What would be metrics for assessing survey success?
  * A Data Decadal Survey is risky because the topic is extremely broad,
    the community of data users is vast and heterogenous (and can
    include commercial interests), and the outcome will not be a focused
    mission, facility, or research initiative. How should that risk be

**Panel discussion abstract*

The Potential Value and Impacts of a Data Decadal Survey

A Decadal Survey is a broad study of a topic or area that is coordinated 
by the National Research Council (NRC). It provides community consensus 
on research goals and priorities for moving forward in a particular 
focus area over the next ten years. The studies are requested and funded 
by government agencies and other organizations and are used to 
prioritize research areas and focus efforts and resources accordingly. 
The decadal survey process has been shown to be a robust method for 
developing goals and to support objectives in pursuit of high priority 
science questions. The NRC has done a number of these studies, including 
its first decadal survey for Earth science in January 2007 at the 
request of NASA, NOAA, and the USGS.
Scientific data collected or modeled by government agencies are a public 
investment and should be stewarded appropriately to maximize the return. 
Today's science is increasingly collaborative. Important research 
questions increasingly span projects, discipline domains, and other 
boundaries. There is a growing interest in the repurposing of data far 
from the point of collection.  Data collected long ago can become 
important today.  Current data management and stewardship practices are 
not sufficiently meeting these pressures. Scientists today regularly 
cite the 80/20 rule for working with data: 80% of their effort is spent 
finding, understanding, acquiring, and putting the research data in a 
usable format, and 20% doing actual science.

Members of ESIP and representatives from the NRC Board on Research Data 
and Information (BRDI) have organized a cluster to investigate the need 
for and feasibility of conducting a Data Decadal Survey [ESIP DDS wiki] 
<http://wiki.esipfed.org/index.php/Data_Decadal_Survey>. The survey 
would address overarching issues and research priorities in scientific 
data management and stewardship. Improved practices in this area could 
ultimately enhance scientific knowledge by increasing the meaningful 
availability of data and redirecting resources previously required for 
data discovery, acquisition, and formatting to performing actual 
science. When data sets can be easily analyzed and combined in novel 
ways then new scientific insights are more likely to occur and more 
quickly. Such a survey could address at the broadest level gaps in data 
management knowledge and practices that hold back scientific progress.

At the ESIP summer meeting we are organizing a panel discussion around 
this idea. We are inviting panelists to give us their vision of future 
data developments, and to discuss data management and stewardship (DMAS) 
topics and issues.

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