Return on Investment Subgroup (ESIP Winter Meeting Jan 2016)

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Notes From the 2016-Jan-08 Discussion at ESIP

Present: (Does ESIP keep a list?)

  • On webex: Philip Tarrant, Greg Janee, Sherry Lake, Steve Daley-Laursen, Margaret O’Brien, Corinna Gries;
  • 2 on the phone unidentified (Kerstin Lehnert);
  • In person: Nancy Hoebelheinrich, Ruth Duerr, Dave Vieglais, Peter McCartney, Abby Benson, Rebecca Koskela, Matt Mayernik, Anne Wilson, Shannon Rauch (BCO-DMO), Cyndy Parr

Two types of funding sources (stakeholders) who see value in repositories

  • Members. Organizations who provide a block of money for you to build and maintain the repository. Like a federal agency or foundation who shares your passion for the repository and want you to provide services, for them and others, or a university administration providing institutional commitment….like FTE’s for the repository. Trust that you’re doing the “good” work
  • Transactional-Contractual. Researchers who are responding to a law or regulation that requires them to take care of data. They want you to provide a specific service, like storage and curation, and they’ll pay a fee for that particular service. Getting a specific product for a certain amount of money. Service Center metaphor.

Framework should include:

  • identify stakeholders and their values
  • characterize the repository’s data holdings and level of usage

What are possible outcomes ? spectrum:

  • one end, repos might simply get guidelines for how to build a better assessment plan for their stakeholders.
  • other end: our users are so similar that we can identify a set of metrics, and if systems are similar enough maybe we can write tools, and simplify how everyone does it. depends on how easily you can characterize the repos, and how similar they are.


  • all have users who download data.
  • all belong to societies
  • all have funding agencies (members)
  • model for infrastructure is quite similar, although implementations are different.


  • level of granularity of data holdings
  • ? do any have transactors? example: ___

Examine from stakeholder PoV (see below) Question to NSF: What criteria do you use to characterize value? Peter: don’t have much to go on: manual searches, personal questions, anecdotes. Ultimate value: science has been advanced. [asking the proposer to justify puts a large burden on them, eg keeping track of project numbers of users, etc] what are proxies?

Stratified population of stakeholders could further characterize their values (the value proposition between each stakeholder type and repositories), and metrics that measure impact (whether the value relationship is actually working and generating satisfaction for both parties):

  • Host Universities who house researchers
  • Agencies of Government with mandates and orders
  • Researchers
  • Public users (citizen science)
  • Funding agencies who fund researchers that use the repositories/data….(e.g. NSF funding to repository advances a particular brand of research). What’s the proof that NSF-funded researchers are advanced by having repositories available?