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Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences
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Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences

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Keynote address to EarthCube All-Hands Meeting, Washington DC, June 24, 2014

Keynote address to EarthCube All-Hands Meeting, Washington DC, June 24, 2014

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  • 1. Governance and cyberinfrastructure in the Earth system sciences Paul N. Edwards School of Information and Dept. of History, University of Michigan
  • 2. EarthCube goal }  “…to design, build, and maintain an easy-to-use system based on existing resources that embraces open-source culture and methods to align technology development with scientific needs.” Richard et al.“Community‐developed Geoscience Cyberinfrastructure.” Eos 95, no. 20 (2014): 165-166 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 3. Governance: formal vs. informal EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 4. The Tower of Babel… }  Heritage of multiple disciplines, sensors, data analysis methods }  Cacophony of formats, metadata, software }  Earthcube survey of ~175 scientists (2011): need… }  Common data formats }  Better metadata and metadata standards }  Better ways to find data }  Coupled web-based services, such as visualization tools EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 5. Cyberinfrastructure and climate change informatics (Rood & Edwards 2014) R. B. Rood & P. N. Edwards,“Climate Informatics: Human Experts and the End-to-End System,” Earthzine, May 2014 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 6. The loading dock model of cyberinfrastructure Data Models Services Loading Dock ModelEarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 7. Access is not the main problem }  Beyond the loading dock model }  Need for translational information for (many) particular users and uses }  Human communication — often informal — remains the most basic process for effective data sharing }  Metadata as product vs. metadata as process }  Always provide for communication with data creators EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 8. This morning }  A little history of infrastructure }  … and of governance in meteorology }  What is governance? }  Governance and software in Earth system science EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 9. This morning }  A little history of infrastructure }  … and of governance in meteorology }  What is governance? }  Governance and software in Earth system science EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 10. Infrastructure: a historical model }  System building: designed, coherent, centrally organized }  Proliferation of systems; variation }  Networks: dedicated gateways link heterogeneous systems }  Internetworks: generic gateways link heterogeneous networks }  Decentralization, fragmentation }  Abandonment, substitution time Edwards et al. 2007 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 11. Dedicated or improvised gateways (Egyedi 2001) }  Whose responsibility? }  Who sets standards? }  Who pays? EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 12. Computer networks link computers EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 13. Generic gateways the ISO standard container EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 14. Internetworks link networks }  Routers are gateways }  connect computers to each other (network) }  … and connect the local network to other networks }  “The” Internet connects millions of networks EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 15. This morning }  A little history of infrastructure }  … and of governance in meteorology }  What is governance? }  Governance and software in Earth system science EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 16. 1872 War Dept. synoptic map EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 17. The Victorian Internet (Standage 1998): British telegraph network, 1890 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 18. 1870 1900 1930 1960 Surface station coverage: evolution Source: J. Hansen and S. Lebedeff,“Global Trends of Measured Surface Air Temperature,” Journal of Geophysical Research 92, no. D11 (1987), 13,346-13,347 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 19. EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 20. Stages in the history of weather forecasting }  Systems: national weather services }  Set own standards }  Networks: national and international }  The Réseau Mondial }  Internetworks }  Integrating heterogeneous data sources }  Surface stations }  Air bases and airports }  Marine data }  Satellites }  Governance }  International Meteorological Organization (1873-1949) }  World Meteorological Organization (WMO, founded 1950) }  Set standards, assisted coordination — but lightweight relative to national services EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 21. an internetwork World Weather Watch •  Planned early 1960s •  Operational 1968 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 22. This morning }  A little history of infrastructure }  … and of governance in meteorology }  What is governance? }  Governance and software in Earth system science EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 23. What is governance? }  Aligning an organization’s practices and procedures with its goals, purposes, and values }  Oversight, steering, and articulating organizational norms and processes }  vs. management: detailed planning, supervision of work, allocation of effort EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 24. Modes of governance Hierarchy Network (of firms) Market or firm Bazaar Contractual framework Employment contract Neoclassical contract Property contract Open source license Incentives intensity Low Medium High Low Control intensity High Medium Low Low Social relations Strong ties Strong ties Anonymous Mostly anonymous or weak ties Membership Employees selected Members select each other Buyer selected by seller Open; many free riders Timeframe Long-term commitment Long-term commitment Transaction or contract Variable; no commitment Source: adapted from B. Demil and X. Lecocq,“Neither Market Nor Hierarchy Nor Network:The Emergence of Bazaar Governance,” Organization studies 27, no. 10 (2006): 1447-66 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 25. Open source culture: bazaar governance }  E. Raymond,“The Cathedral and the Bazaar” }  Linux is ‘a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches’ }  Characteristic: chaotic market, huge variations in quality }  “Low levels of control and weak incentives intensity are distinctive features of bazaar [governance], lending a high uncertainty to governed transactions.” }  Source: B. Demil and X. Lecocq,“Neither Market Nor Hierarchy Nor Network:The Emergence of Bazaar Governance,” Organization Studies 27, no. 10 (2006): 1447-1466. EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 26. …but how does governance really work? Highly competent groups can get a lot done without much management from above — but there are limits to leaderless teams, especially when work is time-sensitive and requires coordinating complex, interdependent activity. EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 27. This morning }  A little history of infrastructure }  … and of governance in meteorology }  What is governance? }  Governance and software in Earth system science EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 28. Organizations in science… }  Organizations provide space, equipment, money, and support }  Stable, long-lasting (decades) }  Well-defined roles and routines }  Have boundaries, hierarchies, and entrenched cultures }  Research (NCAR, GFDL, universities) vs. operational (NOAA, NASA, DOE) }  National laboratories and military research }  Funding agencies (NSF, NIH) and foundations }  They strongly structure work incentives and disincentives EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 29. … vs. projects }  ...but most scientific work takes place in projects, teams, and working groups }  Varying sizes }  Lifespans vary, but mostly short (1-5 years) }  Depend heavily on funding cycles }  Often cross organizational boundaries }  Many scientists are involved in several projects at once }  Overlapping membership }  Funding is an ongoing concern EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 30. EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 31. EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 32. EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 33. Governance: norms & rules (Elinor Ostrom) }  Constitutional rules }  Collective choice rules }  Operational norms and rules EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 34. Operational norms and rules }  Expectations that govern everyday interaction among project members }  Largely informal and tacit (unarticulated) }  May be embedded in organizational routines or tools }  Usually surface only during crisis or conflict }  Difficult to change without a forcing factor }  Tools can embody operational norms — but usually can’t force changes EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 35. Cyberinfrastructure pitfalls }  Software makes it seem easy to build gateways between systems and networks… }  “You just…” }  … but social, institutional, and security gateways are even more important }  Multiple institutional cultures }  Complex projects with many working groups }  Multiple security and legal standards can block interchange EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 36. Conclusions: some lessons from history }  Centralized design and control is not the primary path to working infrastructure }  Instead, build gateways (couplers) }  Standards technologies, institutions }  Must be lightweight, readily understood, easily transferred across regions and cultures (including disciplinary cultures) }  International governance of data standardization and exchange in meteorology was achieved by the 1960s }  in the face of enormous technical obstacles (communication channels) and social obstacles (Cold War, decolonization) EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 37. EarthCube goal }  “…to design, build, and maintain an easy-to-use system based on existing resources that embraces open-source culture and methods to align technology development with scientific needs.” Richard et al.“Community‐developed Geoscience Cyberinfrastructure.” Eos 95, no. 20 (2014): 165-166 EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 38. Conclusions: some lessons from history }  The tensions between hierarchy, network, and bazaar modes of governance will be difficult to resolve }  Cyberinfrastructure can help, but it can also hinder }  Social and organizational issues must be addressed along with technology }  The EarthCube experiment is enormously important, and worth doing! EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards
  • 39. Edwards et al., Knowledge Infrastructures: Intellectual Frameworks and Research Challenges (2013) knowledgeinfrastructures.org EarthCube All-hands Meeting, June 2014Paul N. Edwards

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