Scientists are able to use various tools and instruments to collect, process, analyze, and interpret data. Take, for example, an astronomical observatory detecting a supernova event, the telescope tracks and records data from that event and alerts scientists in the field to what was discovered.
Alerts spur the scientist into action, searching for answers to new questions. Where before, a scientist would have to use different search mechanisms to locate all the previously gathered information on a subject.
Now, with a National Data Service, she can search many sources through one interface, Globus Identity Hub binds together all of an individual’s cyber identities from various projects and activities into one login credential, safely and securely.
Once inside NDS, the scientist can browse articles published in major scientific journals, as well as the data supporting those papers… She can also easily cross discipline boundaries. Finding relevant discoveries in other fields that traditionally may have been difficult to access.
The scientist can also access community-specific discovery tools, like the U.S. Virtual Astronomical Observatory. With the ability to connect to scientific instruments such as satellites, she is able to track the most relevant and up to the minute information.
And she can even send data off for translation and resolution. With the help of all of the NDS tools, she can perform format transformations and generate associated meta-data. NDS helps her easily locate, collect, and connect these pieces of the larger scientific puzzle.
In addition, the NDS will utilize the services being developed within the recently funded DIBBs: BrownDog effort to provide means of finding, accessing, and organizing un-curated and/or unstructured data, often referred to as long-tail data. This capability helps the scientist to methodically go through the data, make sense of the past work done, while organizing and preparing all of it for analysis.
Once the scientist has collected all of the necessary information through a NDS repository, she can apply new research techniques and technologies in the hopes of furthering discovery in the field. Many times this includes use of additional analysis tools such as the cloud, local computer resources and perhaps even supercomputers.
Inputting the collection of data she obtained from NDS into her chosen analysis service, she uses its power to help make sense of it all and discover new scientific results. She watches as her theories take shape, and she prepares to share her findings with the world.
As per-protocol, the scientist drafts a paper outlining these new discoveries. If she wants, she can use NDS to share her draft in a limited way with collaborators and others in her field. This process is safe, secure and seamless, keeping her results private until publication.
When the scientist is ready to submit this work to a scientific publication, she will now include a digital object identifier. Thanks to NDS’ use of these digital object identifiers, publications will forever be linked to the data that produced the results and vice versa.
Now the paper is published and added to the NDS repository. In a process similar the one our scientist went through, teachers, engineers, and fellow scientists can search and find this paper and others through topics and digital object identifiers… Continuing the discovery cycle by verifying and extending the researchers’ results, and building new knowledge.
For example, educators can share this new knowledge and data with their students in the classroom. This gets new people, maybe within the field, maybe outside, thinking about the subject in new ways. Learning how this discovery affects our world.
Thanks to the permanent link these digital object identifiers create between publications and data, searching for papers in traditional ways will be forever changed as well. When scientists search for publications outside NDS, the digital object identifiers will still link the underlying data to the papers they find.
Many of these tools and services exist today. But they are scattered rather than unified. Much like the story of Stone Soup, we need to come together as a community to contribute our own tools, services and expertise to build one powerful and all-inclusive data resource. We understand each science discipline, project, individual and organization has different perspectives and needs. However, we share many of these things in common. Join us… we can achieve bigger results that benefit us all through a National Data Service.