Methodology to sustain common information spaces for research collaborations
Information and knowledge sharing collaborations are essential for scientific research and innovation. They provide opportunities to pool expertise and resources. They are required to draw on today’s wealth of data to address pressing societal challenges. Establishing effective collaborations depends on the alignment of intellectual and technical capital. In this thesis we investigate implications and influences of socio-technical aspects of research collaborations to identify methods of facilitating their formation and sustained success. We draw on our experience acquired in an international federated seismological context, and in a large research infrastructure for solid-Earth sciences. We recognise the centrality of the users and propose a strategy to sustain their engagement as actors participating in the collaboration. Our approach promotes and enables their active contribution in the construction and maintenance of Common Information Spaces (CISs). These are shaped by conceptual agreements that are captured and maintained to facilitate mutual understanding and to underpin their collaborative work. A user-driven approach shapes the evolution of a CIS based on the requirements of the communities involved in the collaboration. Active users’ engagement is pursued by partitioning concerns and by targeting their interests. For instance, application domain experts focus on scientific and conceptual aspects; data and information experts address knowledge representation issues; and architects and engineers build the infrastructure that populates the common space. We introduce a methodology to sustain CIS and a conceptual framework that has its foundations on a set of agreed Core Concepts forming a Canonical Core (CC). A representation of such a CC is also introduced that leverages and promotes reuse of existing standards: EPOS-DCAT-AP. The application of our methodology shows promising results with a good uptake and adoption by the targeted communities. This encourages us to continue applying and evaluating such a strategy in the future.