IG Virtual Research Environment (VRE-IG) - RDA 11th Plenary meeting

Meeting title

Virtual Research Environments – How do I find them and what skills do I need to build and use them? (Remote Access Instructions)

Collaborative session notes and presentations:

Notes:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1x-4P7RLkO6VWUQPD_L471O-LdglsTprACp3S...

Presentations: 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1f5rC3ZB-AKZpw3XFSRelDV42H1jOEmRr08zJu-1CR_w/edit?usp=sharing

Short introduction describing the scope of the group and if any previous activities

Virtual Research Environments (VREs) are increasingly being used to support a more dynamic approach to collaborative working. Increasingly researchers who are not co-located are seeking to work dynamically together at various scales from local to international. These shared infrastructures are funded as VREs in Europe, Virtual Laboratories (VLs) in Australia and Science Gateways (SGs) in the USA and all have similar objectives. Initially many of these virtual environments were developed to support a very specific requirement or community and have little or no capability for interoperability between them for the purposes of exchanging research assets/objects (e.g., data, workflows, results, etc.) or enabling the sharing of data, tools, services or resources: they can be very bespoke and specific to the community that developed them. More recently there has been an evolution towards more loosely coupled platforms that utilise standardised interfaces (‘gateways’) between data, tools and compute infrastructures to enable greater sharing of online research data resources and tools: increasingly components are being encapsulated as research objects that can also be shared across multiple platforms.

This interest group aims to coordinate a cross-section of the many global VRE/SG/VL initiatives with the objective of moving towards some form of common architecture and/or best practices to support interoperability across these emerging platforms with a view to ensuring that activities are complementary and not a duplication of effort.

Additional links to informative material related to the group

Interest Group Home Page: https://rd-alliance.org/groups/vre-ig.html
Case statement: https://rd-alliance.org/group/virtual-research-environment-ig-vre-ig/cas...
The US SG Catalog: https://sciencegateways.org/resources/catalog and https://catalog.sciencegateways.org/#/home
Past Plenaries:

Meeting objectives

This meeting aims to address:

1. Fundamental issues around VREs/SGs/VLs related to finding suitable existing solutions and/or technology for a specific project and to discuss needed skills for creating and sustaining VREs/SGs/VLs. Key for the community for easily finding solutions and/or technologies is an up-to-date registry and/or catalog. Thus, the goal is to raise awareness of existing solutions and discuss extensions to support a wide uptake.

2. Better coordination of efforts in developing the required skills to both build and use these somewhat complex virtual environments. Building them requires a variety of skills from technology related to so-called soft skills for community engagement, such as programming, knowledge of web-based technologies, user interface design, backend technologies, knowledge of business strategies, marketing and community engagement. Sustaining a successful VRE is a challenging task and the discussion will highlight existing efforts and identify needs for measures to gain the required skills.

The focus of this meeting is to:
1. Raise awareness of the extent of the number of VREs/SGs/VLs globally through the Science Gateways Catalogue and invite further additions to this registry; and
2. Open discussion on skills required to build, use and sustain VREs/SGs/VLs.

Meeting agenda

  • 0 - 10 min Introduction and tour de table: Lead by Keith Jeffery (Please fill in attendance in notes)
  • 10 - 25 min Workshop report “Virtual Research Environments: What services should they offer and what e-infrastructures should provide to support them”, 27-28 February 2018, CNR  Pisa - Massimiliano Assante
  • 25 - 50 min The Science Gateway Catalog: Lead by Sandra Gesing
    • 25 - 35 min Introducing the SG Catalogue - What is its intention? - Sandra Gesing
    • 35 - 50 min Discussion: is it adequate: How could it be more useful? - Keith Jeffery
  • 50 - 80 min Developing Skills to Build and Use VREs: Lead by Lesley Wyborn
    • 50 - 55 min Summary of the Skills issues - Lesley Wyborn
    • 55 - 60 min Key skills issues in VREs in Europe
    • 60 - 65 min Key skills issues in SGs in North America
    • 65 - 70 min Key skills issues in VLs in Australia
    • 70 – 80 min Discussion: Can we share skills development and training online?
  • 80 – 90 min Conclusions and next steps: Keith Jeffery

Target audience:

This session is aimed at anyone who is or has been involved in developing, maintaining or using any form of online collaborative environment or their individual components.
In preparation for this meeting, attendees should refer to the notes from the previous sessions from past RDA Plenary meetings that focused more on understanding the commonalities and differences of the different VRE/SG/VL platforms from the different global regions.
Participants should come prepared to share knowledge of online collaborative environments they may be aware of, both past and present, and skills they feel are required to build them.

Group chair serving as contact person:  Sandra Gesing

Type of meeting: Working meeting

Group maturity: 0-6 months

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