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A Place to Stand: e-Infrastructures and Data Management for Global Change Research

Lee Allison; Robert Gurney; Roberto M. Cesar Jr; Birgit Gemeinholzer; Toshio Koike; Pierre Philippe Mathieu; Mustapha Mokrane; Stefano Nativi; Dale Peters; Bob Samors; Andrew Treloar; Jean-Pierre Vilotte; Martin Visbeck; Christoph Waldmann

Belmont Forum e-Infrastructures & Data Management Community Strategy and Implementation Plan.

Global change research enables scientists to understand and predict how our planet functions and evolves. This research requires integrating large amounts of diverse data across scientific disciplines to deliver policy-relevant, decision-focused knowledge that decision makers require to respond and adapt to global environmental change and extreme hazards, manage natural resources responsibly, grow our economies, and limit or even escape poverty. To carry out this research, data sets need to be discoverable, accessible, usable, curated and preserved for the long-term, within a supporting data intensive e-infrastructure framework that enables their exploitation, and that evolves in response to research needs and technological innovation. Without such data sets and supporting e-infrastructure, the community will be forced to feel our way into the future, unfocused and ill-prepared.
An e-infrastructure that supports data-intensive, multidisciplinary research is needed to facilitate new discoveries and accelerate the pace of science to address 21st century global change challenges. Data discovery, access, sharing and interoperability collectively form core elements of an emerging shared vision of e-infrastructure for scientific discovery. These elements further depend on building relationships among data sets, people, systems, organizations and networks. However, the pace and breadth of change in data and information management across the data lifecycle means that no one country or institution can unilaterally provide the leadership and resources required to use data and information effectively, or establish and maintain the relationships needed to support a coordinated, global e-infrastructure.
The Belmont Forum represents many of the world’s largest and most influential funders of environmental and social science research. It is uniquely capable of catalyzing international collaboration and leveraging existing national programs to effectively initiate and guide best practice in data stewardship, data sharing, and e-infrastructure development to meet global change research needs. Furthermore, alignment of international and cross-domain efforts in interoperability will promote new interdisciplinary and international scientific understanding relevant to the Belmont Forum research agenda. As such, the Belmont Forum is ideally poised to play a vital and transformative leadership role in establishing a sustained human and technical international data e-infrastructure to support global change research. This Community Strategy and Implementation Plan (CSIP) presents an initial path forward.

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