A report from the ocean acidification data management workshop (March 13-15, 2012, Seattle, WA)

The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, in partnership with the University of Washington and the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Regional Association Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) hosted an invitational workshop on integrating ocean acidification (OA) data management for the U.S. March 13-15, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The
workshop convened representatives from NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA Fisheries, NOAA Oceans and Atmospheric Research division, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, NSF Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), NASA, Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS)-USA, U.S. Geological Survey, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)/DOE, OceanSITES, and various investigators involved in observations, experiments, modeling, and satellite research, including international participants. The goal of the workshop was to establish a framework for the handling of ocean acidification data that makes it possible for users to locate, understand, and utilize relevant data in support of scientific research and resource management. Outcomes included a shared vision for integrated OA data management and an initial OA Integrated Data Management Plan with an emphasis on near-term (2-year) goals.

Dr. Libby Jewett, NOAA OA Program Director, introduced the workshop, noting the national mandate establishing an OA Program for the United States, which NOAA leads, and including this statement:

“The success of the National OA Program will depend critically on effective data management and integration. Data must be shared and integrated across disciplinary boundaries, drawing marine biological data together with oceanographic data, and providing intelligible information to social scientists, planners, educators, and the general public.”

The workshop brought together information on the current status of programs collecting OA data, including the program’s mandate, data streams, variables, QA/QC, data archival, and data services. This highlighted the substantial challenge of various organizations contributing diverse types of data that need to be integrated across agencies with minor financial support and attention. Solving this requires a cooperative approach between scientists and data managers. The thirty participants of the workshop articulated a common vision to address this challenge that was codified in a “Declaration of Interdependence” that can be found on the NODC ocean acidification website. The document highlights a requirement for “an easily accessible and sustainable data management framework that: i) provides unified access to OA data for humans and machines; ii) ensures data are version-controlled and citable through globally unique identifiers; iii) documents and communicates understood measures of data and metadata quality; and iv) is easy to use for submission, discovery, retrieval, and access to the data through a small number of standard- ized programming interfaces.” Further, the workshop participants established them- selves as the Consortium for the Integrated Management of Ocean Acidification Data (CIMOAD) and identified three necessary steps forward to achieve the vision:

“1. The endorsement of agency program directors and manag- ers for collective use of machine-to-machine cataloging and data retrieval protocols (including THREDDS/OPeNDAP) by each agency data center to provide synergistic, consolidated mechanisms for scientists to locate and acquire oceanographic data;
2. The commitment of the scientific community to establish best practices for OA data collection and metadata production, and the leadership to provide a means of gaining this consensus; and
3. The endorsement of agency program directors and managers to direct data managers to collaborate to develop the system articulated above and contribute to a single national web portal to provide an access point and visualization products for OA.”

The workshop also identified concrete plans deserving of funding (tailored to individual agencies), including short-term opportunities for progress arising from existing projects, priorities, and funding. These, with the summaries of the current status, need, and vision are being consolidated into an OA Integrated Data Management Plan. The Plan will be posted on the NODC ocean acidification website. Be sure to check out this new website. Not only will it be used for hosting the workshop data management plan, but it has a lot of other useful and relevant information.

Jan Newton (University of Washington), OCB Newsletter 5(2): 12. Newsletter.


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