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Community Capability Model

for Data-Intensive Research
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Project Details

Microsoft Research Connections and UKOLN, University of Bath, are working in partnership on an exciting and challenging new project to develop a Community Model for Data-Intensive Science. This project is building upon and extending several of the principles described in The Fourth Paradigm.   The speed at which any given discipline advances will depend on how well its researchers collaborate with one another as well as with others responsible for the  computational infrastructure now presumed to be a core part of the research process.  The project aims to develop a community capability model framework which reflects a series of maturity factors or parameters, for example,

  • an associated set of metrics
  • a taxonomy of terms describing the framework
  • a supporting suite of visualizations 
  • case studies.

The scope will include technological aspects such as adoption of common data infrastructures, standards, formats and ontologies.  In addition, social technology aspects have become so ingrained in all researchers do, therefore this must include:  

  • collaborative approaches and usage of social networks 
  •  influence and reach including partnerships across sectors and disciplines 
  •  openness including acceptance of open methodologies and tools 
  •  interactions with the public 
  •  socio-legal issues ( i.e. approaches to data licensing, intellectual property, ethical constraints, and scholarly publishing norms).

The project work will build on and extend the principles described in The Fourth Paradigm[1]. In 2007, the late Jim Gray noted the development of Comp X and X-Info where “computational” and “informatics” terms were appended to a growing number of disciplines illustrating the emergence of new eScience paradigms, behaviours and methodologies founded on the increasing application and utilisation of software, computational infrastructure / cyber-infrastructure (CI) and information technologies (IT) within the research process. These trends were viewed as transformational, however the degree of uptake and acceptance of these technologies varies across disciplines and communities, ranging from a domain position perceived as relatively mature e.g. astronomy, high-energy physics, to domains perceived as relatively immature e.g. forestry, historical studies.

[1] The Fourth Paradigm. (2009)  Eds. Tony Hey, Stewart Tansley and Kristin Tolle. Publ Microsoft Research.

Intended audience
Researchers, digital repository managers, staff from library, information and research organisations, data curators, data centre managers, data scientists, research funding organisations and research networks.

White Paper Draft

The background to the community capability model and the framework in its current format are being released for comment in this draft White Paper, which describes the model with exemplars and commentary.  The Framework is comprised of eight capability factors representing human, technical and environmental issues. Within each factor are a series of community characteristics that are relevant for determining the capability or readiness of that community to perform data-intensive research.  The eight factors are: Collaboration, Skills and training, Openness, Technical infrastructure, Common practices, Economic and business models, Legal and ethical issues and Academic issues.