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Friday, July 13, 2007

Shared infrastructure for sharing research

Amy Friedlander, Cyberinfrastructure: It's All about Sharing, CLIR Issues, July/August, 2007. Excerpt:

More than A decade ago, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) launched a series of studies on the history of large-scale, technology-intensive infrastructures in the United States with the explicit goal of informing the development of a national information infrastructure. Infrastructure was understood as a system with at least four properties: it is widely accessible, it is shared and ubiquitous, and it confers economic advantage....

[T]he notion of sharability implies the existence of multiple stakeholders who trust a shared system, even though their individual interests may be neither uniform nor congruent....Thus, the key characteristic of infrastructure is overall coherence, not uniformity at every level.

We can think, then, of cyberinfrastructure as a shared layer that supports multiple disciplines, activities, and scholars and that offers a platform for new kinds of scholarship and inquiry. That shared layer encompasses the organizational framework in which standards and codes of practice are developed and made available to users, enabling the shared layer to become widely accessible and hence ubiquitous....