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).