Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NSF data sharing guidelines for the Earth Sciences

The Earth Sciences Division (EAR) of NSF has released guidelines for data sharing. The full statement follows:

This statement provides guidelines from the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR), National Science Foundation, for the implementation of the Foundation's Data Sharing Policy. The overall purpose and fundamental objective of these policy statements is to ensure and facilitate full and open access to quality data for research and education in the Earth Sciences. These guidelines are considered to be a binding condition on all EAR-supported projects.

The Division of Earth Sciences conforms to the following statement on sharing of research results and data (NSF Award and Administration Guide, January 2010, VI.D.4):

Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results

a. Investigators are expected to promptly prepare and submit for publication, with authorship that accurately reflects the contributions of those involved, all significant findings from work conducted under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to permit and encourage such publication by those actually performing that work, unless a grantee intends to publish or disseminate such findings itself.

b. Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing. Privileged or confidential information should be released only in a form that protects the privacy of individuals and subjects involved. General adjustments and, where essential, exceptions to this sharing expectation may be specified by the funding NSF Program or Division/Office for a particular field or discipline to safeguard the rights of individuals and subjects, the validity of results, or the integrity of collections or to ac accommodate the legitimate interest of investigators. A grantee or investigator also may request a particular adjustment or exception from the cognizant NSF Program Officer.

c. Investigators and grantees are encouraged to share software and inventions created under the grant or otherwise make them or their products widely available and usable.

d. NSF normally allows grantees to retain principal legal rights to intellectual property developed under NSF grants to provide incentives for development and dissemination of inventions, software and publications that can enhance their usefulness, accessibility and upkeep. Such incentives do not, however, reduce the responsibility that investigators and organizations have as members of the scientific and engineering community, to make results, data and collections available to other researchers.

e. NSF program management will implement these policies for dissemination and sharing of research results, in ways appropriate to field and circumstances, through the proposal review process; through award negotiations and conditions; and through appropriate support and incentives for data cleanup, documentation, dissemination, storage and the like.

The Division of Earth Sciences is committed to the establishment, maintenance, validation, description, and distribution of high-quality, long-term data sets.


1. Preservation of all data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials needed for longterm earth science research and education is required of all EAR-supported researchers.

2. Data archives must include easily accessible information about the data holdings, including quality assessments, supporting ancillary information, and guidance and aids for locating and obtaining data.

3. It is the responsibility of researchers and organizations to make results, data, derived data products, and collections available to the research community in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. In the interest of full and open access, data should be provided at the lowest possible cost to researchers and educators. This cost should, as a first principle, be no more than the marginal cost of filling a specific user request.

4. Data may be made available for secondary use through submission to a national data center, publication in a widely available scientific journal, book or website, through the institutional archives that are standard for a particular discipline (e.g. IRIS for seismological data, UNAVCO for GPS data), or through other EAR-specified repositories.

5. For those programs in which selected principle investigators have initial periods of exclusive data use, data should be made openly available as soon as possible, but no later than two (2) years after the data were collected. This period may be extended under exceptional circumstances, but only by agreement between the Principal Investigator and the National Science Foundation. For continuing observations or for long-term (multi-year) projects, data are to be made public annually.

6. Data inventories should be published or entered into a public database periodically and when there is a significant change in type, location or frequency of such observations.

7. Principal Investigators working in coordinated programs may establish (in consultation with other funding agencies and NSF) more stringent data submission procedures.

8. Within the proposal review process, compliance with these data guidelines will be considered in the Program Officer's overall evaluation of a Principal Investigator's record of prior support. Exceptions to these data guidelines require agreement between the Principal Investigator and the NSF Program Officer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

7th Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geoscientists

This announcement in from Chaitan Baru at SDSC:

We are pleased to announce the 7th Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geoscientists (CSIG) to be held August 9-13 at the San Diego Supercomputer Center on the University of California, San Diego campus. [right, attendees at the 2009 CSIG]

General and program information, as well as online registration is available at

The broad theme for CSIG‘10 will be emergent Geoinformatics approaches to 3D and 4D integration of geoscience data. Given the diverse interests of past CSIG participants, and based on feedback that they have provided, CSIG’10 will feature two “tracks” of instruction:

1. Build Track: technologies related to building Geoinformatics systems; and
2. Education Track: use of Geoinformatics resources in education

Interested applicants at all levels are encouraged to apply, including graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and professionals in earth science and related disciplines. You will have the option to choose the track of interest at the time of application.

Course registration and accommodations are paid for with support received from the National Science Foundation ( However, please note that participants will be responsible for funding their own travel to San Diego for the Institute.

The Registration Deadline for CSIG ’10 has been extended to June 14th. The registration form can be found at

Questions should be directed to ‘

Friday, April 9, 2010

Research Data and Preservation Summit in Phoenix

The ASSIS&T's Research Data and Preservation Summit got underway here in Phoenix an hour ago, in conjunction with a week-long Information Architecture meeting.  There are 100+ attendees from all over the world in the summit and animated discussion started almost immediately.

My sense after just a few minutes is that developments are coming along so fast in so many areas, that this 2-day event is going to be full of revelations and discovery.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

AAPG Geoscience Data Preservation Committee

The AAPG Geoscience Data Preservation Committee meets on April 13 at the AAPG Annual Meeting in New Orleans.  The agenda offers a view of what efforts and issues are in play around the country.


John Steinmetz, Director, Indiana Geological Survey - Update on Federal and State Efforts toward Geoscience Data Preservation, including results from AASG Spring Liaison Meeting, summer 2009 Data Preservation Workshop, and 2010 National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program Grants.

David Orchard, ConocoPhillips, Houston, TX – Finding Cores from the Permian Basin – Efforts to Create a Database of all existing Permian Basin Core Material – where it’s housed, accessing the material, etc.

Rod Tillman, Consulting Geologist, Tulsa, OK - Cole Memorial Cross Section Digitization efforts being done cooperatively by Oklahoma Geological Survey, Tulsa Geological Society, Bureau of Land Management and AAPG.

Jim McGhay – Energy Libraries Online, Tulsa, OK –update on the progress of Energy Libraries Online, the non-profit effort of several leading energy information libraries in the Mid-continent region to preserve and develop their collections into a consolidated digital and accessible database

Michael Laine, Curator, Utah Gore Research Center, Salt Lake City, UT - Utah Core Research Center: Adaptation for Survival

Sarah Ramdeen, Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Research on digital curation for the geosciences – update on PhD program research.

Kenneth Papp – Curator, Geologist, Alaska Geologic Materials Center - Data Preservation Efforts at the Alaska Geologic Materials Center

Bill Harrison - Director, Michigan Basin Core Research Laboratory -  Geoscience Data Preservation Efforts in Michigan

Patrick Gooding - Manager, Well Sample and Core Library, Kentucky Geological Survey -  Ongoing Geoscience Data Preservation Efforts in Kentucky.    

Thanks to committee co-chair Bev DeJarnett at the Texas Bur. of Economic Geology for sharing the agenda.              

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Exploring the Open Government Datasets

There is a growing list of datasets being posted on the website, at the direction of the White House.

I haven't found many primary geology sets but there are sets for hydrology, hazards, geothermal, etc.

137 years of Popular Science now online for free

Popular Science is making all of their archives of articles for the last 137 years, available online.  The older stuff is the most fun.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

NRC study underway on USGS spatial data strategy

 The National Research Council is conducting a study ("Spatial Data Enabling USGS Strategic Science in the 21st Century") for the USGS on their science strategy for spatial data.   The committee is still accepting comments at least for the next couple of weeks.

Project Scope:
This study will examine progress made in establishing spatial data infrastructures and the challenges faced by those infrastructures, within the context of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The study will examine the role that the USGS can play in continuing to ensure access to high quality geospatial data and support its use in scientific analyses and decision-making through a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) construct.

The committee will undertake three main tasks:

(1) identify existing knowledge and document lessons learned during previous efforts to develop SDIs and their support of scientific endeavors;

(2) develop a vision for optimizing an SDI to organize, integrate, access, and use scientific data; and

(3) create a roadmap to guide the USGS in accomplishing the vision within the scope of the USGS Science Strategy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Google and NOAA team up to display ocean and climate data

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research announced that they and Google "have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works."

This strikes me as another indication of the convergence towards a common data capabilities in the spatially-based sciences.

The areas that NOAA and Google will cooperate on include:
  • Engaging the public in ongoing and historic scientific expeditions including those of the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer;
  • Compiling and improving bathymetric datasets to display in Google Earth and make available for downloading;
  • Expanding NOAA efforts to publish oceanographic data, especially data from the NOAA-led Integrated Ocean Observing System;
  • Expanding NOAA efforts to publish climate data, especially data from the greenhouse gas monitoring system;
  • Increasing the amount of data available for NOAA’s Science on a Sphere, an educational Earth science display system, [] by adapting it to display files in the Keyhole Markup Language, the file format Google Earth and Google Maps use for geographic data; and
  • Providing interactive access to marine zoning and regulatory information concerning regions such as continental shelf boundaries and marine protected areas.

Monday, January 18, 2010

OneGeology blog and twitter

Ian Jackson, coordinator of the OneGeology consortium, is now blogging and tweeting.   His blog, OneGeoBlogy, went live last week.

It's immediately obvious how much is happening with OneGeology globally and in Europe.     

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Geek shortage threatens national security

 The Pentagon's DARPA is worried that we are not producing enough computer geeks to meet national security needs, so they are looking for new ways to attract teens into careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

An article on quotes DARPA as saying, “ability to compete in the increasingly internationalized stage will be hindered without college graduates with the ability to understand and innovate cutting edge technologies in the decades to come…. Finding the right people with increasingly specialized talent is becoming more difficult and will continue to add risk to a wide range of DoD [Department of Defense] systems that include software development.”

Wired reports that " computer science enrollment dropped 43 percent between 2003 and 2006."

At AZGS, we've had trouble finding people to work in geoinformatics.   Computer scientists are looking for cutting-edge research projects rather than implementation and standards development.  Geoscientists typically don't get the CS background needed unless they happen to have a personal interest in it and often that seems to be discouraged by academic programs that push more core courses.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Social media for the public good

The State of Utah's Web portal "includes more than 30 blogs from public entities and more than 200 Twitter feeds from state and local agencies within the state," according to a report in Governing magazine.

Utah issued guidelines this past fall on "recognize the difference between social media as a private individual and social media as a public or government representative."

Too many governments (and a reported 50% of private sector companies) automatically ban use of social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter by employees on the assumption they will be big time wasters.    If the telephone were invented today, I expect it too would be viewed as a tempting distraction to lure employees from their gainful duties and lollygag with calls to family, friends, or bookies.

It's nice to see Utah (and others like my state of Arizona who allow us to blog, tweet, and more) embrace change for the public good.

Peer-Reviewed Data Publication report posted

I'm passing on the announcement that:

A draft report from the 2009 fall AGU town hall on "Peer-Reviewed Data Publication and Other Strategies to Sustain Verifiable Science" has been posted to the ESIP Stewardship and Preservation wiki at  The town hall was jointly sponsored by the ESIP federation and the AGU data committee.  Please take a look and feel free to edit or comment on the report.  We particularly would like comments if you attended the town hall and feel that we missed an important point.  It is our intent to submit a boiled down version of the report as an EOS paper.


Ruth Duerr, Mark Parsons, Jean-Bernard Minster, Rob Raskin