What is expected to be a Virtual Research Environment? Are we going to develop a shared view?

11 Mar 2016

Please find below a paper my colleagues and I wrote some time ago:

L. Candela, D. Castelli, P. Pagano (2013) Virtual Research Environments: An Overview and a Research Agenda. Data Science Journal, Vol. 12, p. GRDI75-GRDI81 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2481/dsj.GRDI-013

It gives an overview, a long-term view, some references. I assume it is of interest for this IG.

Of course it is one perspective among the many that can be developed. I'm wondering whether the IG is going to set up a sort of survey (of literature and initiatives) aiming at clarifying this very appealing concept.

Please, do take into account that there six projects officially supported by the EC to develop VREs (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/six-new-projects-e-i...):

I'm confident there is a plan to have representatives of all these initiatives on board. Actually, VRE4EIC is already on board (by Keith) as well as BlueBRIDGE (I'm involved in).      

  • Sandra Gesing's picture

    Author: Sandra Gesing

    Date: 11 Mar, 2016

    Hi Leonardo, all,

    your paper provides a good overview.

    Another good resource for publications in this field are the yearly special
    issues on science gateways we jointly organize between the yearly US
    science gateway workshop series, IWSG (International Workshop on Science
    Gateways) and IWSG-A (International Workshop on Science Gateways -
    Australasia).
    The one for 2015 is under review at the moment but here you can access the
    one from 2014.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cpe.3615/full

    IWSG 2016 takes place in Rome in June and the deadline for abstracts and
    papers is approaching on 20 March (we will extend it by two weeks though
    because of the Horizon2020 deadlines;-)
    https://sites.google.com/a/nd.edu/iwsg2016/home

    This might be a good opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and we
    encourage everyone to submit an abstract or paper, of course. We will
    distribute again a CFP over the weekend and it would be great if you would
    forward it to the mentioned projects such as BLUEBridge and other groups
    you would assume that they are interested.

    Thanks,
    Sandra

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sandra Gesing
    Research Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
    Computational Scientist, Center for Research Computing
    University of Notre Dame
    http://www3.nd.edu/~sgesing
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM, leonardo.candela <
    leonardo.candela@isti.cnr.it> wrote:

    > Please find below a paper my colleagues and I wrote some time ago:
    >
    > L. Candela, D. Castelli, P. Pagano (2013) *Virtual Research Environments:
    > An Overview and a Research Agenda*. Data Science Journal, Vol. 12, p.
    > GRDI75-GRDI81 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2481/dsj.GRDI-013
    >
    > It gives an overview, a long-term view, some references. I assume it is of
    > interest for this IG.
    >
    > Of course it is one perspective among the many that can be developed. I'm
    > wondering whether the IG is going to set up a sort of survey (of literature
    > and initiatives) aiming at clarifying this very appealing concept.
    >
    > Please, do take into account that there *six projects* officially
    > supported by the EC to develop VREs (
    > https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/six-new-projects-e-i...
    >
    > ):
    >
    > - *BlueBRIDGE* - Building Research environments for fostering
    > Innovation, Decision making, Governance and Education to support Blue growth
    >
    > - *MuG* - Multi-Scale Complex Genomics
    >
    > - *OpenDreamKit* - Open Digital Research Environment Toolkit for the
    > Advancement of Mathematics
    >
    > - *VI-SEEM* - VRE for regional Interdisciplinary communities in
    > Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean
    >
    > - *VRE4EIC* - A Europe-wide Interoperable Virtual Research Environment
    > to Empower Multidisciplinary Research Communities and Accelerate Innovation
    > and Collaboration
    > - *West-Life* - World-wide E-infrastructure for structural biology
    >
    >
    > I'm confident there is a plan to have representatives of all these
    > initiatives on board. Actually, VRE4EIC is already on board (by Keith) as
    > well as BlueBRIDGE (I'm involved in).
    > --
    > Full post:
    > https://rd-alliance.org/group/virtual-research-environment-ig-vre-ig/pos...
    > Manage my subscriptions: https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist
    > Stop emails for this post:
    > https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist/unsubscribe/51614
    >

  • Nancy Wilkins-Diehr's picture

    Author: Nancy Wilkins-Diehr

    Date: 11 Mar, 2016

    Hello,

    I’m a new addition to the VRE interest group and was thrilled to learn of its formation. In the US, some of us call these things Science Gateways. I’ve been involved in the science gateway program as it’s been associated with the NSF-funded TeraGrid and XSEDE program since the inception of the gateway idea in 2004. It’s thrilling to see how it’s evolved over the years. We’ve seen exponential growth in the user community in recent years and since 2013 more users have accessed NSF supercomputers through gateways than through the commandline.

    One of the earliest papers on gateways, an editorial for the first special journal issue, is at doi:10.1002/cpe.1098. A 2008 article for in IEEE Computer magazine is at 10.1109/MC.2008.470. We included some definitions of what we think of of gateways in those early papers. More recently I’ve been involved in a Science Gateways Institute conceptualization grant for the NSF that has resulted in some of the work at http://sciencegateways.org/resources/our-work/, including a 5000-person survey on the use of and development practices around gateways.

    There’s a list of current gateways that use XSEDE at http://www.xsede.org/gateways. In our model, these aren’t funded by XSEDE, they are funded by various sources and developed by various communities, but they all use XSEDE resources.

    Looking forward to participating in the VRE-IG.

    Nancy

    From: > on behalf of "leonardo.candela" >
    Date: Saturday, 12 March 2016 1:00 am
    To: "Virtual Research Environment IG (VRE-IG)" >
    Subject: [vre_ig] What is expected to be a Virtual Research Environment? Are we going to develop a shared view?

    Please find below a paper my colleagues and I wrote some time ago:

    L. Candela, D. Castelli, P. Pagano (2013) Virtual Research Environments: An Overview and a Research Agenda. Data Science Journal, Vol. 12, p. GRDI75-GRDI81 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2481/dsj.GRDI-013

    It gives an overview, a long-term view, some references. I assume it is of interest for this IG.

    Of course it is one perspective among the many that can be developed. I'm wondering whether the IG is going to set up a sort of survey (of literature and initiatives) aiming at clarifying this very appealing concept.

    Please, do take into account that there six projects officially supported by the EC to develop VREs (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/six-new-projects-e-i...):

    * BlueBRIDGE - Building Research environments for fostering Innovation, Decision making, Governance and Education to support Blue growth
    * MuG - Multi-Scale Complex Genomics
    * OpenDreamKit - Open Digital Research Environment Toolkit for the Advancement of Mathematics
    * VI-SEEM - VRE for regional Interdisciplinary communities in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean
    * VRE4EIC - A Europe-wide Interoperable Virtual Research Environment to Empower Multidisciplinary Research Communities and Accelerate Innovation and Collaboration
    * West-Life - World-wide E-infrastructure for structural biology

    I'm confident there is a plan to have representatives of all these initiatives on board. Actually, VRE4EIC is already on board (by Keith) as well as BlueBRIDGE (I'm involved in).

    --
    Full post: https://rd-alliance.org/group/virtual-research-environment-ig-vre-ig/pos...
    Manage my subscriptions: https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist
    Stop emails for this post: https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist/unsubscribe/51614

  • Keith Jeffery's picture

    Author: Keith Jeffery

    Date: 13 Mar, 2016

    Leonardo -

    thanks for posting the ref to the paper; I knew it of course.  I believe we need to move towards a shared view and I suspect we shall all benefit from having our minds broadened by others.

    In your list of VRE projects you did not mention EVER-EST where my co-chair (Helen Glaves) is active.

     

    Sandra and Nancy -

    many thanks for getting involved and for the information; this is all extremely useful for the group.  You will note in the BoF session at RDA P7 the ppt included terms VLs and SGs to try to make sure we covered the different continental-specific terminology.

    In fact VREs have a very long history in Europe.  The UK Open University has used the term as an ICT support environment for students for many (at least 20) years.  JISC (an organisation in UK supporting ICT across higher education) worked on VREs for higher education in 2004 and subsequently.  Currently the EC (European Commission) favours the term VRE for systems or offerings that we also know as VLs or SGs.  The term 'researcher workbench' has also been used widely since the 1980s and basically has the same concept as a VRE. 

    Key aspects seem to be (from the research I have done):

    1. virtualisation (hiding complexity from the user);

    2. access to useful resources such as datasets, software, computing power, instruments/detectors (the latter for control as well as data taking) and scholarly publications (including grey literature technical reports etc.) as well as collaboratively with other persons and organisations;

    3. interoperability across resources;

    4. support for the 'researcher workflow' from research idea (and checking the literature etc.) through observations/experiments to publication and subsequent discussion with citation and accreditation (maybe including management funcions such as proposals and reporting to funders).

    5. support for workflow composition (or even autonomic composition) of (2) and ideally deployment on virtualised resources (e.g. GRIDs, CLOUDs);

    From the above it is clear that VREs depend heavily on research portals providing (2) (i.e. we do not re-invent wheels) .  Usually (at least in Europe) these portals are associated with e-RIs - especially those in the ESFRI accredited list (examples where Helen and I work are EPOS and ENVRI+) which in turn depend on e-Is (such as GEANT/cyberinfrastructure, EUDAT (data curation and access); PRACE (supercomputing); EGI (GRID and CLOUD facilities), OpenAIRE (scholarly publications and their relationships to projects, funding, organisations, persons).

    One thing I'd like to tease out is the characteristics of VLs and SGs (and for that matter portals) so we can - perhaps - provide a characterisation that will ensure we are all talking about the same things.

    In fact all of the coming week I am at a large EPOS technical meeting in Prague where we are integrating (by means of catalogs of metadata) over 250 continental and national research infrastructures (each with organisations, persons, datasets, software components/services, resources (computers, equipment/detectors) into one portal. There are huge challenges in security, privacy, rights and legalistics, business/costing models as well as the basic technical interoperability challenges.  However, if we get the portal right then interfacing EPOS to a VRE should be much easier since the portal will provide much of the required virtualisaton and access!  Then we do the same exercise with ENVRI+ (a week-long meeting in May to plan this) and so on.

     

    All -

    I have invited the attendeees at the Bof not yet subscribed to this group to do so - let's see how membership rises!

     

    best wishes

    Keith

  • Lesley Wyborn's picture

    Author: Lesley Wyborn

    Date: 13 Mar, 2016

    Leonardo

    If you are interested I could supply a few focused Australian Earth Science virtual activities that are relevant to EPOS.

    Take care

    Lesley

    From: > on behalf of "keith.jeffery@keithgjefferyconsultants.co.uk" >
    Date: Monday, 14 March 2016 at 8:00 AM
    To: "Virtual Research Environment IG (VRE-IG)" >
    Subject: Re: [vre_ig] What is expected to be a Virtual Research Environment? Are we going to develop a shared view?

    Leonardo -

    thanks for posting the ref to the paper; I knew it of course. I believe we need to move towards a shared view and I suspect we shall all benefit from having our minds broadened by others.

    In your list of VRE projects you did not mention EVER-EST where my co-chair (Helen Glaves) is active.

    Sandra and Nancy -

    many thanks for getting involved and for the information; this is all extremely useful for the group. You will note in the BoF session at RDA P7 the ppt included terms VLs and SGs to try to make sure we covered the different continental-specific terminology.

    In fact VREs have a very long history in Europe. The UK Open University has used the term as an ICT support environment for students for many (at least 20) years. JISC (an organisation in UK supporting ICT across higher education) worked on VREs for higher education in 2004 and subsequently. Currently the EC (European Commission) favours the term VRE for systems or offerings that we also know as VLs or SGs. The term 'researcher workbench' has also been used widely since the 1980s and basically has the same concept as a VRE.

    Key aspects seem to be (from the research I have done):

    1. virtualisation (hiding complexity from the user);

    2. access to useful resources such as datasets, software, computing power, instruments/detectors (the latter for control as well as data taking) and scholarly publications (including grey literature technical reports etc.) as well as collaboratively with other persons and organisations;

    3. interoperability across resources;

    4. support for the 'researcher workflow' from research idea (and checking the literature etc.) through observations/experiments to publication and subsequent discussion with citation and accreditation (maybe including management funcions such as proposals and reporting to funders).

    5. support for workflow composition (or even autonomic composition) of (2) and ideally deployment on virtualised resources (e.g. GRIDs, CLOUDs);

    From the above it is clear that VREs depend heavily on research portals providing (2) (i.e. we do not re-invent wheels) . Usually (at least in Europe) these portals are associated with e-RIs - especially those in the ESFRI accredited list (examples where Helen and I work are EPOS and ENVRI+) which in turn depend on e-Is (such as GEANT/cyberinfrastructure, EUDAT (data curation and access); PRACE (supercomputing); EGI (GRID and CLOUD facilities), OpenAIRE (scholarly publications and their relationships to projects, funding, organisations, persons).

    One thing I'd like to tease out is the characteristics of VLs and SGs (and for that matter portals) so we can - perhaps - provide a characterisation that will ensure we are all talking about the same things.

    In fact all of the coming week I am at a large EPOS technical meeting in Prague where we are integrating (by means of catalogs of metadata) over 250 continental and national research infrastructures (each with organisations, persons, datasets, software components/services, resources (computers, equipment/detectors) into one portal. There are huge challenges in security, privacy, rights and legalistics, business/costing models as well as the basic technical interoperability challenges. However, if we get the portal right then interfacing EPOS to a VRE should be much easier since the portal will provide much of the required virtualisaton and access! Then we do the same exercise with ENVRI+ (a week-long meeting in May to plan this) and so on.

    All -

    I have invited the attendeees at the Bof not yet subscribed to this group to do so - let's see how membership rises!

    best wishes

    Keith

    --
    Full post: https://rd-alliance.org/group/virtual-research-environment-ig-vre-ig/pos...
    Manage my subscriptions: https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist
    Stop emails for this post: https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist/unsubscribe/51614

  • Christopher Brown's picture

    Author: Christopher Brown

    Date: 14 Mar, 2016

    >In fact VREs have a very long history in Europe. The UK Open University has used the term as an ICT support environment for students for many (at least 20) years. JISC (an organisation in UK supporting ICT across higher education) worked on VREs for higher education in 2004 and subsequently.

    Dear All,

    Yes, that is correct. Jisc used to have a VRE Programme, which in September 2011 became part of a Research Tools programme. Unfortunately, these programmes no longer exist, although there are plenty of research tool related projects still within Jisc, for example Research Data Spring – https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/research-data-spring.

    I’ve joined this VRE-IG as, having been Programme Manager for the VRE Programme, I have an interest in VREs and any tools that enable collaborative research. I still work within Jisc on research data related projects, mostly.

    Anyway, I thought it might be useful if I summarise some of the outputs from the VRE programme and some useful links. Unfortunately, the information on the VRE programme has been archived and some links may no longer work.

    - One of the last outputs was the following guide on “Implementing a VRE” (https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/implementing-a-virtual-research-environmen...). This includes a history of the VRE programme and its three phases of work. The “What can a VRE do for you?” section includes many of the projects funded under the programme.

    - I’m afraid the VRE Knowledgebase that was developed (https://www.cni.org/news/knowledge-exchange-virtual-research) , recording many VRE projects, is no longer available.

    - The original VRE programme page - http://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20140614023647/http://www.j...

    - VRE Rapid Innovation projects - https://code.google.com/archive/p/vreri/

    - The Knowledge Exchange (http://knowledge-exchange.info/) VRE working group no longer exists but the original page is at http://ke-archive.stage.aerian.com/default.aspx%3Fid=287.html

    - The Knowledge Exchange catalyst of change workshop and report http://ke-archive.stage.aerian.com/default.aspx%3Fid=451.html

    - VRE programme presentations - http://www.slideshare.net/chriscb/vres-and-research-tools-supporting-col... and http://www.slideshare.net/chriscb/jisc-vreresearch-tools-presentation

    - JISC-VRE@JISCMAIL.AC.UK – the old mailing list for the VRE Programme. Still available (58 subscribers) but no longer used.

    I know the above information is a bit dated, but I hope some of it is still useful. If you have any questions please let me know.

    Regards,
    Christopher

    [Jisc]

    Christopher Brown
    Senior Co-design Manager, e-Research

    T 020 3006 6072
    M 07891 501177
    Skype chriscbrown
    Twitter @chriscb
    Jisc, Ground Floor, Brettenham House (South), 5 Lancaster Place, London, WC2E 7EN

    jisc.ac.uk

    From: keith.jeffery=keithgjefferyconsultants.co.uk@rda-groups.org [mailto:keith.jeffery=keithgjefferyconsultants.co.uk@rda-groups.org] On Behalf Of keith.jeffery@keithgjefferyconsultants.co.uk
    Sent: 13 March 2016 21:01
    To: Virtual Research Environment IG (VRE-IG)
    Subject: Re: [vre_ig] What is expected to be a Virtual Research Environment? Are we going to develop a shared view?

    Leonardo -

    thanks for posting the ref to the paper; I knew it of course. I believe we need to move towards a shared view and I suspect we shall all benefit from having our minds broadened by others.

    In your list of VRE projects you did not mention EVER-EST where my co-chair (Helen Glaves) is active.

    Sandra and Nancy -

    many thanks for getting involved and for the information; this is all extremely useful for the group. You will note in the BoF session at RDA P7 the ppt included terms VLs and SGs to try to make sure we covered the different continental-specific terminology.

    In fact VREs have a very long history in Europe. The UK Open University has used the term as an ICT support environment for students for many (at least 20) years. JISC (an organisation in UK supporting ICT across higher education) worked on VREs for higher education in 2004 and subsequently. Currently the EC (European Commission) favours the term VRE for systems or offerings that we also know as VLs or SGs. The term 'researcher workbench' has also been used widely since the 1980s and basically has the same concept as a VRE.

    Key aspects seem to be (from the research I have done):

    1. virtualisation (hiding complexity from the user);

    2. access to useful resources such as datasets, software, computing power, instruments/detectors (the latter for control as well as data taking) and scholarly publications (including grey literature technical reports etc.) as well as collaboratively with other persons and organisations;

    3. interoperability across resources;

    4. support for the 'researcher workflow' from research idea (and checking the literature etc.) through observations/experiments to publication and subsequent discussion with citation and accreditation (maybe including management funcions such as proposals and reporting to funders).

    5. support for workflow composition (or even autonomic composition) of (2) and ideally deployment on virtualised resources (e.g. GRIDs, CLOUDs);

    From the above it is clear that VREs depend heavily on research portals providing (2) (i.e. we do not re-invent wheels) . Usually (at least in Europe) these portals are associated with e-RIs - especially those in the ESFRI accredited list (examples where Helen and I work are EPOS and ENVRI+) which in turn depend on e-Is (such as GEANT/cyberinfrastructure, EUDAT (data curation and access); PRACE (supercomputing); EGI (GRID and CLOUD facilities), OpenAIRE (scholarly publications and their relationships to projects, funding, organisations, persons).

    One thing I'd like to tease out is the characteristics of VLs and SGs (and for that matter portals) so we can - perhaps - provide a characterisation that will ensure we are all talking about the same things.

    In fact all of the coming week I am at a large EPOS technical meeting in Prague where we are integrating (by means of catalogs of metadata) over 250 continental and national research infrastructures (each with organisations, persons, datasets, software components/services, resources (computers, equipment/detectors) into one portal. There are huge challenges in security, privacy, rights and legalistics, business/costing models as well as the basic technical interoperability challenges. However, if we get the portal right then interfacing EPOS to a VRE should be much easier since the portal will provide much of the required virtualisaton and access! Then we do the same exercise with ENVRI+ (a week-long meeting in May to plan this) and so on.

    All -

    I have invited the attendeees at the Bof not yet subscribed to this group to do so - let's see how membership rises!

    best wishes

    Keith
    --
    Full post: https://rd-alliance.org/group/virtual-research-environment-ig-vre-ig/pos...
    Manage my subscriptions: https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist
    Stop emails for this post: https://rd-alliance.org/mailinglist/unsubscribe/51614

    Jisc is a registered charity (number 1149740) and a company limited by guarantee which is registered in England under Company No. 5747339, VAT No. GB 197 0632 86. Jisc’s registered office is: One Castlepark, Tower Hill, Bristol, BS2 0JA. T 0203 697 5800.

    Jisc Services Limited is a wholly owned Jisc subsidiary and a company limited by guarantee which is registered in England under company number 2881024, VAT number GB 197 0632 86. The registered office is: One Castle Park, Tower Hill, Bristol BS2 0JA. T 0203 697 5800.

submit a comment