GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 280-3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


ALLISON, M. Lee, State Geologist & Director, Arizona Geological Survey, 1955 E. 6th St, PO Box 210184, Tucson, AZ 85721, KEANE, Christopher, American Geosciences Institute, 4220 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302 and ROBINSON, Erin, Foundation for Earth Science, 3980 Broadway, Suite 103-185, Boulder, CO 80304,

The EarthCube Test Enterprise Governance Project completed its three-year long process in September 2016 to engage the community and test a demonstration governing organization with the goal of facilitating a community-led process on designing and developing a geoscience cyberinfrastructure to transform the conduct of geoscience research. The EarthCube initiative is making an important transition from creating a coherent community to the goal of implementing technologies that can serve scientists working in many domains and across domains.

However, the active participants in EarthCube still represent a very small sub-set of the larger population of geoscientists. Findings from an NSF-appointed Advisory Committee are that the definition of EarthCube remains unclear to the geoscience community, the program lacks a concrete 5-year implementation plan and that the test federated self-selective governance model is unlikely to be able to achieve consensus or be sufficiently representative to propel the program forward. The emerging concept of a “system of systems” approach is a critical concept in the EarthCube program, but it is not clearly defined.

The Advisory Committee recommendations include a. the need for succinct definition of EarthCube; b. changes in the community-elected Leadership Council’s governance approach to structured rather than consensus-driven decision making; c. restructuring the process for more better articulation of program solicitations;, and d. producing an effective implementation roadmap. These are seen as prerequisites to adopt best practices, communicate standards, and evolve to a production track.

There is ample justification to continue evolving to a governance framework that facilitates agreement on a system architecture, guides EarthCube activities, and plays an increasing role in making operational the EarthCube vision of cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences. There is widespread community expectation for support of a multiyear EarthCube governing effort to put into practice the science, technical, and organizational plans that are continuing to emerge.

The community-led EarthCube governing body is working on responses to the Advisory Committee findings and recommendations with a target delivery date of late 2016.