Thursday, May 29, 2008

Geoinformatics 2008 Programme On-line

The meeting programme for Geoinformatics 2008 is now on-line at <>

Jens wrote in his announcement email today: 'The meeting provides an international forum for researchers and educators from earth and planetary sciences, and information technology/computer science to present new data, data analysis or modelling techniques, visualization schemes or technologies as they relate to developing the cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences.'

There will be many interesting talks for those who are interested in SSP (Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Paleontology) geoinformatics. Among others for example the keynote on OGC standards by G.Perceval, the talk on GeoSciNet by W. Snyder or the presentation of OneGeology by I. Jackson.

And there is another very interesting talk: Neptune - Developing a Digital Information Infrastructure for Micropaleontology in the 21st Century presented by Lazarus D. et al. Good to hear that the flagship of CHRONOS will be continued!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Salisbury Craigs

You may have noticed this blog's new look;) I have adopted the design of the blog to the look of the upcoming new version of Snet.
The image is taken from the classic publication 'Essay on the geology of the Lothians' written by Robert J. H. Cunnigham in 1838.
It's a colored drawing of the famous 'Hutton Section' at Salisbury Crags, Scotland where a prominent irregular junction between sandstone and dolerite can be admired. The discovery of this process -a magmatic intrusion- was very important for Hutton's theory of rock formations.
I don't know who the illustrated geologist is, but this wondering man just perfectly illustrates how science should work...

Friday, May 9, 2008

AGU data position statement - YACOA

In the recent volume of EOS (Vol 89(16)), AGU invites for comments on its data position statement which earliest version dates back to 1997. Needless to say that such statements are a good thing and many other organisations have also provided their statements on open access to scientific information.

However, I found it strange to read the new draft without finding a comment on the role of the societies themselves.
Those who work in scientific data management know how difficult it is to motivate researchers to submit their data to archives. Submitting data to data centers is voluntary for researchers. To my knowledge, there is no funding agency which obliges researchers to submit their primary data to data archives nor is there a publisher of geo-journals which asks for links to archived primary data on which the results of an article are based on.

Now, AGU is the publisher of about 20 high impact journals and it is astonishing but true that AGU publishing
itself does not provide a real data policy which for example cares about primary data! This is strange, and I really think AGU should consider its own responsibility and its potential to act as exemplar when calling for data policies.
Without an own true data policy which includes clear guidelines and rules for data handling within the responsibility of AGU such statement is a paper tiger, a YACOA: yet another call for open access.

Monday, May 5, 2008

We're living in a georeferenced world

In an editorial in its current issue (1 May 2008), Nature calls for georeferencing of research data. Guessing locations from place-names can only be a workaround. With GPS technology at hand it should be so easy to record the time and the place where a sample or specimen was taken.

"Gene sequence and structure databases have flourished in part because journals require authors to submit published data to them. It is worth considering a similar requirement that all samples in a published study be registered, along with GPS coordinates, in online databases such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. At the same time, it would behove spatial scientists to articulate to the broader research community the potential of recording and making accessible spatial data in the appropriate formats — and the painlessness of the process."

Hopefully, scientists will listen to Nature.