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The Science Data Coordinator Network

By Heather S. Henkel

SDCN Co-Chair Heather Henkel (center) discusses the challenges of regional and national data management with Pamela Telis, USGS-USACE Liaison, and Tom Armstrong, Director of National Coordination for the U.S. Global Change Research Program
SDCN Co-Chair Heather Henkel (center) discusses the challenges of regional and national data management with Pamela Telis, USGS-USACE Liaison, and Tom Armstrong, Director of National Coordination for the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Photo credit: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida

In support of the USGS mission and Science Strategy, the Core Science Systems (CSS) Mission Area formed a partnership with the Regions (formerly the Geographic Areas) to initiate the Science Data Coordinator Network (SDCN) in FY 2012. The SDCN works to address current and cross-cutting information management issues, expedite access to the entire portfolio of USGS authoritative information assets and products, and increase the success and impact of collaborative science projects in meeting local, multidisciplinary, and strategic science objectives. The SDCN provides a conduit and framework for activities that help connect information investments across multiple disciplinary, geographic, temporal, and political boundaries, while assisting with the identification and prioritization of local science and information management requirements. By building on existing data investments and expertise, the SDCN supports the deployment of more consistent data management and long-term preservation practices and helps facilitate integration, discovery, access, and delivery of information assets developed at the USGS. Key partnerships are included in seeking efficient, effective approaches.

In FY 2013, SDCN representation expanded to include Mission Area SDCN Coordinators, appointed by the Associate Directors. These additional perspectives on the type and scope of Bureau science issues help to identify a wide variety of expertise in addressing important data integration issues; most Science Centers will now have more than one representative viewpoint on the SCDN team. Efforts will also be made to include USGS Library capabilities and expertise as we work to connect resources in the USGS to offer effective services that meet the needs of management, scientists, and data professionals.

SDCN facilitators can help foster collaboration among the Regions and Mission Areas, encourage information sharing, and help promote the importance of data management and best practices in support of USGS science activities. Successful facilitation will make our science more accessible, responsive, and relevant to our stakeholders.

Although the SDCN has been active since the beginning of FY 2012, much work remains to increase awareness and utility of the network. Continued efforts to communicate with scientists are needed to identify their specific issues and concerns and, more importantly, to build a trust relationship with them as we work to resolve their science-driven information management issues and promote long-term data stewardship in the USGS. Incorporating Science Center feedback, concerns, and recommendations into SDCN activities and priorities provides pathways for the SDCN to connect services, expertise, and capability, address their needs, and demonstrate value and relevance of the network. This work will be an area of emphasis for FY 2013.

The SDCN will expand its avenues of communication and improve its capacity to serve as connectors or facilitators in a larger network of people, expertise, data, and solutions that can be shared to serve our projects and the broader USGS. We will continue outreach with presentations, handouts, Leadership blog articles, an external and internal Web presence, and more outreach to relevant communities of practice including the Community for Data Integration (CDI), the CDI Data Management Working Group, the Geospatial Liaisons, the Fundamental Science Practices Advisory Group, and others. We are hopeful that collaboration with subject-matter experts in these communities can provide a resource to fully investigate data management and stewardship issues and serve as a readily available resource to resolve issues and provide support to users.

For more information about the SDCN, please visit USGS Science Data Coordinator Network or contact your Science Data Coordinator.

FY 2013 Science Data Coordinator Network Members
Northwest Region Frank D'Erchia
Pacific Region Derrick Hirsch
Alaska Region Carl Markon
Southwest Region Dave Ferderer
Midwest Region JC Nelson, Jessica Thompson
Northeast Region Steve Tessler
Southeast Region Heather Henkel (Co-Chair)
Mission Areas
Climate and Land Use Change John Faundeen
Core Science Systems Marcia McNiff, Jen Carlino
Ecosystems Joe Bunnell
Energy & Minerals, & Environmental Health Vito Nuccio (Co-Chair)
Natural Hazards John Haines, Mike Blanpied
Water Susan Trapanese
Office of Science Quality and Integrity Carolyn Reid
Administration and Enterprise Information Gloria Castro
Office of Communications and Publishing Doug Thompson