WDS Knowledge Network Architecture in Support of International Science

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 4:52 PM
Mustapha Mokrane, ICSU World Data System, International Programme Office, Tokyo, Japan, Jean-Bernard H Minster, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States and Wim Hugo, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Pretoria, South Africa
ICSU (International Council for Science) created the World Data System (WDS) as an interdisciplinary body at its General Assembly in Maputo in 2008, and since then the membership of the WDS has grown to include 86 members, of whom 56 are institutions or data centers focused on providing quality-assured data and services to the scientific community, and 10 more are entire networks of such data facilities and services.

In addition to its objective of providing universal and equitable access to scientific data and services, WDS is also active in promoting stewardship, standards and conventions, and improved access to products derived from data and services. Whereas WDS is in process of aggregating and harmonizing the metadata collections of its membership, it is clear that additional benefits can be obtained by supplementing such traditional metadata sources with information about members, authors, and the coverages of the data, as well as metrics such as citation indices, quality indicators, and usability.

Moreover, the relationships between the actors and systems that populate this metadata landscape can be seen as a knowledge network that describes a subset of global scientific endeavor. Such a knowledge network is useful in many ways, supporting both machine-based and human requests for contextual information related to a specific data set, institution, author, topic, or other entities in the network. Specific use cases that can be realized include decision and policy support for funding agencies, identification of collaborators, ranking of data sources, availability of data for specific coverages, and many more.

The paper defines the scope of and conceptual background to such a knowledge network, discusses some initial work done by WDS to establish the network, and proposes an implementation model for rapid operationalization. In this model, established interests such as DataCite, ORCID, and CrossRef have well-defined roles, and the standards, services, and registries required to build a community-maintained, scalable knowledge network is presented. We conclude with a short discussion on feasibility and sustainability of global data infrastructure, the role of the WDS Knowledge Network in this infrastructure, and the necessary conditions for success.