As the earth and environmental sciences evolve to be more data-intensive, discovering, integrating and analyzing massive amounts of heterogeneous information becomes critical to enable researchers to address complex questions about our environment and our role within it. DataONE, the Data Observation Network for Earth, today released technology capable of providing researchers access to globally distributed, networked data from a single point of discovery.
The increasing volume of environmental and Earth science data, from historic observational field notes to recent remotely sensed data, is challenging scientists to locate and integrate pertinent data in a manner that addresses important questions for science and society. For example: How is the spread of invasive species affected by patterns of land use? What factors predict the distribution of emergent infectious diseases, and what are the associated health risks? Are climate models sufficiently predictive? DataONE addresses this need by providing a single search interface that queries data repositories distributed globally. These data centers individually store and manage digital scientific data holdings and DataONE now enables scientists around the world to easily discover data wherever the data reside, and to preserve their data for the long-term. Research enabled by this widespread access to data will range from studies that illuminate fundamental environmental processes to identifying environmental problems and potential solutions.
“Science is entering a new era of data intensive research” says William Michener, DataONE principal investigator at the University of New Mexico. “DataONE has been built to support scientists in discovering and preserving data and, most importantly, in enabling new scientific discoveries. DataONE is critically needed now to broaden the nature of and increase the pace of science as researchers tackle the grand challenges facing science and society.”
Data held by South Africa National Parks, the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity, the Ecological Society of America, Dryad, Oak Ridge National Laboratories Distributed Active Archive Center, the United States Geological Survey, the Long Term Ecological Research Network, the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans and the California Digital Library are currently searchable within DataONE. In the coming months more organizations are joining as members to make their data accessible.
The Earth Data Analysis Center (EDAC) at the University of New Mexico is one such member organization and “an enthusiastic contributing member of the growing DataONE network” says Karl Benedict, center director. “For nearly 50 years EDAC has focused delivering Earth science and other geospatial data and information to diverse end user communities. Participation in the DataONE network provides us with a great opportunity to extend the impact of our data holdings.”
“Right now researchers have a hard time even finding the right data to answer complex environmental questions, and when they do, the work necessary to integrate really different types of data can be overwhelming,” says NCEAS Deputy Director Stephanie Hampton, “DataONE provides the type of platform we need, to propel environmental science into the digital age.”
DataONE enables universal access to data and also facilitates researchers in fulfilling their need for data management and in providing secure and permanent access to their data. These needs are filled by offering the scientific community a suite of tools and training materials that cover all aspects of the data life cycle from data collection, to management, to analysis and publication.
DataONE is a community-driven organization and the DataONE Users Group provides the opportunity for funders, users, developers, educators or any other stakeholders to gather and contribute to DataONE products and services. DataONE includes experts from library, computer, and environmental sciences explicitly to bridge these worlds and to provide an infrastructure to serve science for many decades to come.