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Cyberinfrastructure tools for ecological synthesis

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I have a long-standing interest in the free and open exchange of data among scientists in general and ecologistsCyberinfrastructure in particular. This interest dates to my serving on the Ecological Society of America's Committee on Communication in the Electronic Age (1994-1995). One product of this committee was an approach to controlled archiving of ecological data (Helly et al. 2002). This approach is incorporated in the design of Ecological Archives, the on-line data archive journal of the Society, which Bob Peet and I co-founded in 1997, and for which I served as the first Editor (1998-2001).

Currently, I am involved in a collaborative project with Emery Boose, Julian Hadley, and David Foster at the Harvard Forest, and Lee Osterweil and Lori Clarke, computer scientists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in which we are developing automated tools for generating process metadata - precise descriptions of analytical processes used to create scientific datasets. The first product of this collaboration is an Analytic Web for analyzing and synthesizing eddy covariance data used to measure carbon flux. Two papers describing the analytic web have been published (Osterweil et al. 2005, Ellison et al. 2006). This project is supported by ITR award 02-05575 from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

I am also pursuing these interests through the Initiative for Innovative Computing at Harvard.