Investing in the Future of Geoscience Research Services


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Investing in the Future of Geoscience Research Services

  1. 1. Investing in the Future of Geoscience Research Services Session No. 142 T80. Geoscience Information: Investing in the Future Tuesday, 6 November 2012: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM Richard Huffine, Director, USGS Libraries ProgramU.S. Department of the InteriorU.S. Geological Survey
  2. 2. Outline• The Challenge• Strategies – Establishing linkages early – Engaging the next generation – Demonstrating value across the life cycle• Outcomes – Alignment with the organization – Enhanced support for future investment• USGS Experiences• Opportunities – The outer realms of both our science and theirs
  3. 3. The Challenge• Geosciences are struggling to recruit and retain new research professionals.• At the same time, information professionals are aging and are not always being replaced• The future of research in the geosciences will be a combination of the best of both of our professions• There are so many different things that can be learned through geoinformatics, including: – Correlations between research in different geographic areas – Implications of research in one discipline on the foundations of other disciplines (e.g. paleobotany and climate change) – The relationships between different environmental factors (e.g. deposition, bioaccumulations, transport)
  4. 4. Strategies• Establishing linkages early – The connection between good scientific results and good information management is obvious to many of us – We need to begin making that connection in the minds of researchers, academics, and funding organizations – It isn’t about Open Access – it is about transparency throughout the research process• Engaging the next generation – Both disciplines (geosciences and information science) need to begin to engage the next generation of our work force when they are in high school! – We need to lay a foundation for basic science and fundamental understanding of information before they begin to develop a bias either for or against our professions – We need the next generation geoscientist to inherently be better about how they collection, document, and manage data
  5. 5. Strategies (continued)• Demonstrating value across the life cycle – In order to create the synergy we need, information management needs to embed itself in the lab, the Center, and the community of research across the variety of research being conducted today in the geosciences. – Information professionals should be engaged in each stage of research – not delegated to specific tasks but engaged in the challenge and supporting good practice by everyone on the team – The life cycle of a project can be mapped out explicitly and requirements identified at each stage for: • literature reviews, • metadata management, • documentation, and • project summaries and narratives. Each of these activities need input from an information science professional – Optimally, this engagement should start in the proposal process and include resources for data collection, management, and archiving
  6. 6. Outcomes• Alignment with the organization – Without a commitment to linking geoscience research and information management, it is far too easy to waste resources and recreate the wheel over and over – Both functions need to continually link their activities to the mission of the parent organization • Geoscience research that doesn’t support the mission can distract employees, partners, and the leadership • Information services that don’t align to the mission can be deemed superfluous and ultimately be eliminated• Enhanced support for future investment – Every investment needs to be a component that the organization can build on and leverage in the future. – Collecting, managing, and reusing results is something that doesn’t happen unless it is intentional and planned
  7. 7. USGS Experiences• Community for Data Integration – USGS has developed a successful approach to cross-pollination between geoscientists and information professionals – Sample efforts that cross disciplines include data life cycle, semantic Web, citizen science, and mobile application development• Science Data Management Coordinators – A pairing of focal points within USGS Regions and liaisons from Core Science Systems• Engaging High School Students – USGS has been a supporter of Geoforce in Texas and is working to engage science educators in Virginia as well• Training the Next Generation – USGS Libraries have been hiring summer interns and developing online training for USGS researchers
  8. 8. USGS Experiences (continued)• USGS Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis – Funding engagement between geoscientists and information professionals for scientific discovery and problem solving – A virtual science center focused on implementing new and innovative processes to combine and apply scientific understanding to resolve significant and complex issues• Science Strategy Plans – Every USGS Mission Area has developed plans that demonstrate their overlap with one another and the opportunities they see for data integration• Core Science Systems Mission Area – USGS has created a mission area that combines the core components to support interdisciplinary science: • Mapping (geologic and topographic) • Collections (libraries, core samples, data preservation) • Analysis (informatics, synthesis, collaboration, standards)
  9. 9. Opportunities• The outer realms of both our science and theirs – The geosciences are a wonderful playground for exploring the broadest application of new strategies in information science • From visualization to data mining, the information sciences offer geoscience researchers a broad selection of techniques for reaching new understanding about our earth and how it is changing. • USGS researchers are experimenting with these techniques and inviting our information professionals to the table to propose and experiment on new strategies for scientific research and investigation. – Pairing our skills with those of researchers in the geosciences can demonstrate where future investment is needed – Data collection, analysis, and synthesis have long been staples of geoscience research but new strategies can offer new insights – We may also change the direction of information science in the process
  10. 10. Questions and Discussion• Can this model be adapted in all of the geoscience sub-discipline s? – Prospecting and Development – Stratigraphy and Groundwater Analysis – Climate and Global Change, etc.• How do we expand this model in our disparate organizations: – Government Agencies (federal, provincial state, local) – Academic institutions – Private companies• Are you ready to model these ideas in your own organization? Richard Huffine, Director USGS Libraries Program (703) 648-7182