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Informatics and the 2007-2008 Electronic Geophysical Year

TitleInformatics and the 2007-2008 Electronic Geophysical Year
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBaker, DN, ,, Fox, P
JournalEos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union
Start Page485
Date Published11/2008
Keywordscapacity building (reducing the digital divide), data access, data discovery, data management, data preservation, data release, eGY, ICAN, informatics, information, MMI, services, virtual observatories

Humanity is poised to take the next major steps toward an interdisciplinary, worldwide revolution in the way we store, access, and analyze information. For the geosciences, our ability to gather data about the Earth and its space environment is unprecedented. We can obtain data and services via the Internet and grid systems from anywhere in the world, we can store and serve data with true interoperability, and we can deal with real-time data applications, assimilate data into models, build virtual observatories, and more. The challenges of organizing and using data effectively expand as data volumes, data complexity, the need for interoperability, and our ability to access data and information increase. In particular, there remains great reluctance among research scientists and others to invest time in good data management practices and thereby ensure that publicly funded data are openly available for use and reuse. The reason is simple: Research scientists are rewarded only for doing research. The science community lacks any recognized system for publishing and citing data sets and for rewarding efforts to make data sets freely available and interoperable.... [The] future of science and discovery will rely on data interoperability and easy access to the wealth of material that has been generated through the information age. Thus, developing virtual observatories and an information commons requires thoughtful and strong action by scientific societies as well as by individual scientists. The eGY is an important step forward.