How the NDS Operates

The National Data Service (NDS) currently exists as a vision for a US national infrastructure for data-driven research that includes distributed storage, robust production services, and a well-defined framework for hooking resources into the NDS ecosystem. The NDS Consortium has been established as a coalition of stakeholders that can drive the development of the NDS as a system. A key task for the Consortium is to understand what the national infrastructure should look like and what it should do for researchers.

Defining how the Consortium will provide the drive is a process now underway. Currently, two documents speak to what we are doing and how we do it:

Two governance structures guide NDS activities:

NDS Consortium Steering Committee:
Elected the Consortium membership, this committee is the charged with guiding Consortium activities, including furthering the chartering process and clarifying the relationship of the Consortium with other consortia, projects, and stakeholders. They also provide input to Workshop program planning, pilot project coordination, and proposal development.

NDS Executive Committee:
Formed from leaders from the "charter" institutions, this group guides day-to-day activities to build the NDS community. The group is chaired by John Towns, NCSA. Christine Kirkpatrick, the NDS Director, coordinates the day-to-day activities which include:

  • Workshop planning
  • Development, coordination and support for Consortium pilot projects (including support for NDS Labs and NDS Share)
  • Collaboration on NDS-related proposals from Consortium members
  • Other consortium community development

The Role of Pilot Projects

Consortium pilot projects are formed as collaborations between consortium members to prototype some capability needed by the NDS as described in the vision. These serve several purposes:

  • help build the community of collaboration that will ultimately drive the NDS
  • demonstrate the potential of the NDS to researchers and funding agencies
  • form bases for funding proposals that will ultimately turn the NDS vision into a reality.

To help support pilot projects, we have created NDS Labs as a developers' environment; however, use of NDS Labs is not required.

Do you have an idea for a pilot project? Let us know by dropping an email at We encourage you to use the consortium mailing list to find and discuss partnerships, as well as the discuss mailing list to discuss technical objectives and issues.

Proposal Development

As the NDS is a truly cross-disciplinary endeavor, we are currently engaging with multiple funding agencies to secure the funds to build the NDS system. We openly encourage any and all consortium members to participate in this effort; there are no reserved areas of activity. Do you have an interest in developing a proposal to build some component of the NDS? Are you looking for partners? Perhaps you are developing a community-specific proposal and you would like to build in a component for interoperating with the NDS environment at large. We would be happy to help. Please contact us at We can assist with matching you with consortium partners or with developing NDS-appropriate text.