The Coalition has long been engaged in efforts to chart, understand, and facilitate the transformation of scholarly practice through the use of digital content and advanced information technology as part of its fundamental mission. In the sciences and engineering, CNI has been heavily involved in helping the higher education and library communities understand and frame emerging issues in cyberinfrastructure and e-science, with a primary focus on data sharing and data curation issues. In the arts and humanities, CNI, in collaboration with partners such as the J. Paul Getty Trust, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the National Research Council (NRC) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), has a long record of leadership in computing and the humanities and outreach to build collaborations with the museum and archives communities.
In the 2011-2012 program year, CNI will continue to engage e-research developments both in the sciences and the humanities. There is new urgency in this area in light of the requirements for data management and data sharing plans that the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and a number of other US federal agencies have put in place as part of grant proposal submissions, joining the already-established similar National Institutes of Health requirements. Faculty investigators need guidance from both their funders and their home institutions on how best to meet these requirements, and they will be demanding new services at both disciplinary and institutional levels. The NSF has launched major programs addressing data curation (the DataNet initiative, and also the Community-based Data Interoperability Networks program), and we will be highlighting developments from these programs in our membership meetings. Following on the report of the ACLS Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities & Social Sciences, CNI is participating in ongoing discussions about how to frame strategies for effective investment in digital humanities. We will feature work of projects such as those supported through the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the multi-sponsor, international Digging into Data initiative, emphasizing computationally intensive research enabled by a robust infrastructure.
CNI is concerned with questions about availability of data related to scholarly work, and has been engaged in a number of discussions around open access, open science, and open data as they relate to this question, as well as discussions about disciplinary norms for data sharing. We will also continue to explore and document the ways in which data and computationally intensive scholarship are altering the nature of scholarly communication; the issues here include the legal and technical barriers to large-scale text and data mining; appropriate organizational, policy and technical strategies for linking articles and underlying data; and ways to construct scholarly works that are amenable to various combinations of human and machine use. Critical new developments here include the emergence of virtual research environments as arenas for the interoperation of data and tools from multiple sources, and the need to better understand the complex architectural questions about the relationships among repositories, operational storage systems, e-research workflows, high performance network connectivity and powerful computational resources.
Connecting our work in e-research directly to our program focus on institutional content resources, CNI will continue to examine institutional policy and planning implications of campus cyberinfrastructure initiatives in both the sciences and humanities, and consider how these can complement national or international cyberinfrastructure investments and strategies at disciplinary and cross-disciplinary levels.