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Distributed data

12 September 2007 No Comment

Some responses to John Wood’s talk on e-science infrastructure at AHM2007.

The talk focussed on large scale infrastructure and the need for co-ordination. There are serious political and logistical problems for making proper coordination happen. A couple of interesting comments came out;

Need for the involvement of historians and sociologists to follow what is happening. Both to help us through finding the best frameworks to work within and to record what is going on.

An interesting choice of words on the part of John Wood that future generations could see us as ‘culpable’ for not properly recording data. The focus here was on the large data sets that are the main focus of the meeting and of the comunity. The issues managing, re-using, and finding widely distributed data sets seems to not be a focus at the moment although to me this seems an obvious application of Web2.0 technologies. There has been much talk of Facebook at the conference but serious application of Web2.0 tools seems to be largely limited to the myExperiment group.

Another interesting factor was the response to Peter Murray-Rust’s statement that for the science areas where these data sets are distributed that access to data and copyright/IP protection is a serious problem. John Wood’s response was that he had avoided the IPR issue but agreed that attitudes needed to be changed. The response from the chair, Malcolm Read, executive secretary of JISC, was more interesting. He suggested simply refusing to sign up to standard copyright transfer agreements where they were inappropriate and that mostly you can get away with this.

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