IG Virtual Research Environment (VRE-IG) - RDA 13th Plenary meeting

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10 January 2019 1897 reads

Meeting title: Emergence of new concepts and technologies: do they improve sustainability and reproducibility in Virtual Research Environments? (Remote Access Instructions)


Collaborative session noteshttps://docs.google.com/document/d/16o1HHsdyUrubKPAYHMm_tH8EcZwbqkFXkz7j35D7H1w/edit


Meeting Location: Regency C1


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

Meeting objectives

Virtual Research Environments (VREs - Europe), Science Gateways (SGs - North America) and Virtual Laboratories (VLs - Australia) have been part of the modern eResearch landscape for nearly a decade. Early VREs tended to be built by particular communities and often comprised tightly coupled workflows developed to address specific needs to access certain data repositories and tools and then process at designated computational sites. 

However, the last decade has seen the emergence of cloud, frameworks, IPython notebooks (now known as Jupyter Notebooks), research objects, and platforms as a service (data, software and compute), which now enable far greater flexibility for the research community and facilitate the creation of individually customised VREs that empower a researcher to access data, software, tools and compute resources that can be globally distributed and at any time. Novel web technologies have never evolved so fast as in the last decade and agile development principles are applied to keep the development cycles of solutions flexible and user oriented.

The objectives of this meeting are to: 
1) Explore an assortment of new concepts and technologies being deployed in VREs;
2) Discuss how sustainable these more flexible VREs are; and
3) Debate how reproducible the research generated within these highly flexible VREs is.

Meeting agenda

* 0 - 10 min (10 mins): Introduction and tour de table: Led by Helen Glaves 
(Please fill in attendance in notes)
* 10 - 50 min (40 mins): Review of new concepts and technologies being deployed in VREs (Led by Keith Jeffery). 
Topics to be covered include:
** Jupyter Notebooks;
** Research objects;
** Cloud computing;
** Optimised workflow deployment across multi-clouds;
** Novel web technologies; and
** Input from the audience of any new technologies they know of that are being used in VREs.
* 50 - 65 min (15 mins): Open discussion on sustainability issues of the more flexible VREs - are they improving or not? - Led by Sandra Gesing
** Key issues identified; and
** Open contributions from the audience.
* 65 - 80 min (15 mins): Reproducibility Issues in the more flexible VRE - Led by Lesley Wyborn
** Key issues identified; and
** Open contributions from the audience,
* 80 – 90 min (10 mins): Conclusions and next steps - Led by Sandra Gesing

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 openly share and contribute to the session 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

Remote Access Instructions: coming soon

Other relevant information;

Past Plenary meetings:
* 12th Plenary Gaborone IG Joint Meeting with the From Observational Data to Information (OD2I) IG (November 2018): Transforming Data into Information, and Knowledge: The Role of Virtual Research Environments https://rd-alliance.org/ig-observational-data-information-ig-vre-joint-m...
* 11th Plenary Berlin IG (March 2018): Virtual Research Environments – How do I find them and what skills do I need to build and use them? https://rd-alliance.org/ig-virtual-research-environment-vre-ig-rda-11th-...
* 10th Plenary Montreal IG (September 2017): Understanding VREs/SGs/VLs: planning a roadmap for sustainable collaborative development https://www.rd-alliance.org/ig-virtual-research-environment-vre-ig-rda-1...
* 9th Plenary Barcelona IG (April 2017): Virtual Research Environments: coordinating sustainable online research environments across multiple infrastructures https://www.rd-alliance.org/ig-virtual-research-environment-vre-ig-rda-9...
* 8th Plenary Denver IG (September 2016) : VREs/Virtual laboratories/science gateways: opportunities for developing a more coordinated approach to support interoperability across different systems https://rd-alliance.org/ig-virtual-research-environment-rda-8th-plenary-...
* 7th Plenary Tokyo BoF (March 2016): Kick-Off Meeting to establish the Virtual Research Environment IG https://rd-alliance.org/bof-kick-meeting-establish-ig-vre-virtual-resear...