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e-IRG Workshop: Putting users in the driving seat

According to an article on iSGTW, over 100 delegates gathered in Dublin, Ireland, on 22 and 23 May for the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG) bi-annual workshop. Representatives from 23 countries met to deliberate on the best policies for coordination of a European-wide open and innovative e-infrastructure.

During the welcome address, Sverker Holmgren, current chair of the e-IRG, introduced some of the highlights from their latest strategy white paper. While the internet provides a common user interface and access to common services and networks, this is not the case with e-infrastructures: integration is needed. Holmgren emphasises that users will need to become more directly involved, and be both prepared and empowered to pay for the services.


The two-day e-IRG workshop also provided an ideal opportunity to exchange best practices. Communities considered their shared aims, including developed services (e.g., storing/archiving, computational services, web services, etc.) that could potentially be adopted by other disciplines. Nuria Bel, a professor in natural language processing, described how her institution (Institut Universitari de Lingüística Aplicada, Spain) has developed over 40 services, including text-cleaning and annotation services (see video). Other services outlined in the meeting can also be found on the e-IRG website.

While it is vital at workshops such as this to find those subjects that are common to the different actors involved, areas of major divergence do also exist. This was especially evident in the Data Interoperability panel session. “Communities of data providers exist in different states of preparation, from operational distributed interoperable systems to communities not yet interested in sharing data,” explains Francoise Genova, director at the Centre de Donnees astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS), France, which develops services for the international astronomy community. “Therefore, building an e-infrastructure will have to be a global endeavour accommodating diversity and data providers from many different contexts.”

Alberto Michelini explains that there may not yet be enough consciousness of the scientific problems that can actually be addressed by data sharing. Michelini is a seismologist and representative from the European Plate Observatory (EPOS), which has a long-term infrastructure plan to integrate data from 134 institutes, so as to better understand earthquakes and other Earth dynamic systems. Furthermore, he argues that a whole new type of scientist, targeting multi-disciplinary problems, is needed.

Read more on iSGTW

Tagged in: E-infrastructure e-IRG
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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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