GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 159-4
Presentation Time: 8:50 AM


THORLEIFSON, Harvey, Minnesota Geological Survey, University of Minnesota, 2609 West Territorial Road, St. Paul, MN 55114-1009

The geosciences are required by everyone for fulfilment of objectives regarding energy, materials, water, infrastructure design, and safety, as well as for appreciation and protection of our natural heritage. We all want to contribute to the progress of geoscience, receive credit, be held responsible, and ensure quality, while obtaining the satisfaction that we desire. We have mature procedures for authorship, peer review, citation, and provision of project databases. But now, the world no longer works this way. In academia and government, we still publish in journals and reports, but those mechanisms are now a niche in a larger information world. Static project databases are giving way to evergreen institutional and community databases that can be a rich resource not only for documenting the basis of research outcomes, but also for facilitating comprehensive future research. Past concepts for authorship and peer review don’t work in the world of databases. The persons contributing to a database this year might not be next year’s contributors, so the concept of authorship falls down. And, to peer review a database, we probably need to turn to protocols better known as audits. So, as we transition from journals and reports to a concurrent focus on databases, we need to ensure that credit is given, responsibility is assigned, and quality is assured. At present, academics are evaluated for their research, teaching, and service, and survey people for their research, mapping, and service. Research often takes precedence, due to its fundamental importance, and the ease by which it can be assessed through citation analysis. Concurrently, however, we find ways to evaluate academics for their teaching and service, and survey people for their mapping and service. Similarly, industry no doubt has ways to evaluate the performance of industry geoscientists for their fulfilment of company objectives. We therefore must build community information stewardship into guidelines, goals, and measures for career progress. In the public geoscience sector, we thus must now seek to be evaluated on the basis of our research, teaching or mapping, service, and data stewardship.