In the spring of 2011, the UC San Diego Research Cyberinfrastructure (RCI) Implementation Team invited researchers and research teams to participate in the Research Curation and Data Management Pilot program. Twenty applications were received and after due deliberation the RCI Oversight Committee selected five curation-intensive projects.
The pilot participants will receive assistance with the creation of metadata to make data discoverable and available for future re-use; with the ingest of data into the San Diego Supercomputer Center’s (SDSC) new Cloud Storage system, which is accessible via high-speed networks; and with the movement of data into Chronopolis, a geographically-dispersed preservation system.
Data curation plays an essential role in the University’s Research Cyberinfrastructure initiative, which is critical for supporting and advancing academic research in the Digital Age. In addition to the University’s own need to manage research data, federal funding agencies are requiring that the data generated by publicly-funded research be easily discoverable and accessible. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been requiring researchers to share their data since 2003, and other funding agencies have begun to require similar action.
You can read brief descriptions of the pilot projects below.
The Brain Observatory
was created and directed by Dr. Jacopo Annese in the Department of Radiology. The project will create the infrastructure to preserve and curate the digital version of the brain of patient HM, the most studied neuropsychological patient in modern medicine. HM became amnesic after undergoing experimental surgery in 1953 for the relief of epileptic seizures. During more than five decades of ensuing studies, his case generated more than 2,000 scientific publications and elucidated most of the concepts on human memory function. The project goal is to preserve the anatomy relative to this case and to make the data available to the largest possible number of researchers worldwide.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) OpenTopography Facility
is managed by Dr. Chaitan Baru of SDSC’s Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Development Group. This production-level data facility supports the NSF Earth science community and facilitates community access to high-resolution, earth science-oriented, lidartopography data, and related tools and resources. In this pilot project, OpenTopography will explore ways to leverage the UCSD RCI Research Data Management and Curation Program to provide fully curated, DOI-referenced, long-term hosting for the OpenTopography data archive.
The UCSD Levantine Archaeology Laboratory
is a joint program of the Division of Social Sciences and the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), directed by Anthropology Professor Thomas Levy. The increasing availability and relatively low cost of digital data collection technologies have created a data avalanche for archaeologists, who are collaborating with computer scientists to develop new visualization and analysis tools. This pilot project will develop the infrastructure needed to curate cultural heritage data that, spurred by the increasing use of these tools, grows exponentially each year.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography Geological Collections
is managed by Geologist Richard Norris. The geological collections hold physical specimens in the form of ~7000 deep ocean cores, 4000 dredges from the deep sea, and ~40,000 slides of marine microfossils that are associated with digital data sets, photographs, and metadata. This is one of the largest collections of marine geology samples in the United States, used by an international community of marine geologists, biologists, and oceanographers. Goals for the project include the creation of a searchable, graphical interface Web presence; the means to automatically transfer digital holdings; and the creation of a more user-friendly Web form system.
The Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics
is a joint program of SDSC, the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, and the Department of Physics,managed by Rick Wagner. The work of this lab encompasses large-scale simulations of astrophysical phenomenon in cosmology, star formation and turbulence. Its emphasis is on high-resolution grid methods modeling complex physics including radiation transport and magnetohydrodynamics. For the pilot project, this group is interested in using data management and curation to improve its collaborations with other UCSD researchers, and to support publishing its simulations.
For more information about the Libraries contributions to UCSD's RCI, visit the UCSD Libraries Research Data Curation Services page.
Note: This article first appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Faculty File, the UC San Diego Libraries' newsletter for the faculty.