Christopher Keane, American Geosciences Institute, Director, Communications and Technology
The critical ingredient to good earth science research and applications is high quality, well-documented, and readily accessible geoscience data. Data acquisition, management, and distribution is a central part of the geoscience enterprise, but it most importantly does not operate in isolation to the needs, support, and use by the broad community of domain scientists who transform it into knowledge that in turn supports decision-making. My primary focus as a Member-at-Large will be to further ESIP’s engagement with the broader community of geoscientists in their research, applications, and educational efforts, and in this interesting political climate, building broad-based support for the acquisition, management, discoverability, and accessibility of reliable data by the whole geoscience enterprise is critical.
I have worked for the American Geosciences Institute, a federation of 51 geoscience societies, as Director of Communications and Technology and Editor of EARTH magazine for 19 year. I have also served several terms (and current) as a board member for GeoScienceWorld publishing collaborative and for the Commission for Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST), both as member-at-large and Treasurer. I have spent most of my professional career working within the dynamic and powerful potential that common cause federations can possess.
I also was part of both the GeoscienceWorld board during its formative years, and on the CPST board during a major revision of its governance and operating structure. Coupled with experience as a co-PI on the EarthCube Test Governance project, with a specific eye towards developing mechanisms to stress test governance models, I am familiar with the various challenges non-profits face in their evolution in response to changing needs and forces.
I have had a number of different experiences in dealing with the issue of geoscience data. I spent 5 years with the Joint Education Initative at the University of Maryland in early 1990s, bringing earth science data from USGS, NASA, and NOAA to the K-12 classroom, through teacher training, inquiry-based curriculum materials, and publishing products customized to ease data access to non-domain experts. I also have spent most of my career working on the issue of data preservation, including 7 years managing the Department of Energy-funded National Geoscience Data Repository System project, where at-risk industry acquired geoscience data, including seismic, cores, cuttings, and well logs, was indexed and transferred into the public domain.
Also, the human capacity issue in the sciences remains a critical area. I have been actively leading for 15 years the only program in the geosciences focused on measuring and enhancing the geoscience workforce. In this program, we have been able to identify critical concerns in both the active and future workforce’s quantitative and data skills. AGI is developing, in collaboration with a number of other groups, strategies to improve this skill base. And I believe it is not only in the data community’s obvious interest to see this addressed, but should be a central partner in improving the quantitative and data literacy of the broad next generation of geoscientists so that they are effective consumers of data and in turn, leading proponents to further support and development in this area.