Talk:GEO AQ CoP Governance

From Federation of Earth Science Information Partners

Thoughts about GEO AQ CoP Governance -- TerryKeating (talk) 09:30, 21 November 2012 (MST)

What kind of governance does the CoP require?

Terry Keating: I propose that we need at least the following governance elements: 1) a broad mission statement, 2) a "steering forum" and 3) a secretariat. In addition, I suggest we consider designating co-chairs.

How broad or detailed should the mission statement be and what should it contain?

Terry Keating: I think that the mission statement should be something simple and short on details, such as "To support coordinated action within the air quality management and research communities contributing to the realization of the GEOSS vision". Ok, maybe this is not so simple. I think that it is important to mention both the management and research communities, so the CoP isn't seen as just one or the other. The last phrase tries to avoid being tied to the implementation of one piece of the GEOSS infrastructure and focus more on advancing the principles behind the GEOSS vision. Any suggestions on how to word this better?

Martin Schultz: In my view what has made the GEO AQ CoP successful (and rather unique) in the past was its clear focus on establishing data connections across various communities and groups, and across different types of air quality and atmospheric composition data (models, observations, etc). I think, the mission statement should reflect this focus and we should avoid becoming too broad. Other GEO CoPs seem to be less focused and play different roles. I suggest to include the following specific elements in the mission statement:

  • enabling communication across air quality and atmospheric research communities around the globe
  • contributing to the definition of metadata and data exchange standards
  • aiding the implementation of interoperable dat aexchange systems in the GEOSS sense

Specifically I suggest to leave out all aspects related to air quality management or research strategies.

What form of steering body should the CoP have?

Terry Keating: The "steering forum" would be a periodic meeting (in person, by phone or web) of community members in which members share information about planned, on-going, or completed activities contributing to the CoP's mission. The meeting might take place 2-4 times a year. Any activity can be conducted under the banner of the CoP as long as it has been presented at the steering forum and there is a consensus at that forum that the activity is in the community interest. I chose the label forum instead of committee or group because there would be no fixed membership. Individuals can be on a mailing list and show up when they can/want. Whoever shows up provides the consensus.

Martin Schultz: Someone will have to drive the activities and make sure that web meetings, real person meetings, or teleconferences are organized. This could be the secretariate you mention. But then, they will need to have some email list of core steering group members who they should contact in order to define dates etc. This doesn't mean that we can keep the actual meetings open to participation from others, but we should have a group who is regularly involved and watches the developments within the CoP over a longer period of time. If people who are not in the steering group begin to appear regularly in web meetings etc., we could always appoint them without much ado (first agenda item could always be "new members on the steering group?"). Likewise there should be some process defined by which we remove people from this group. For example, the secretariat could monitor attendance, and if someone hasn't been involved for a year, he or she should be removed from the steering group. Of course people could also send email to the secretariat and ask to be taken off the list. To be complete: in this case we would also need a process how to establish a new functional steering group should we have too few members, and perhaps we should define an upper limit as well (say 20) - even though this may seem very theoretical at present.

Could CoP activities be supported by a secretariate, and if so, how could this be implemented?

Terry Keating: The secretariat is an organization or individual who would

  • Maintain the CoP website
  • Maintain the CoP mailing list
  • Set up the Steering Forum meetings/calls
  • (Facilitate the Steering Forum)
  • (Reach out to relevant efforts to engage them in the CoP)
  • (Organize reports to the GEO secretariat on relevant portions of the Work Plan)

A secretariat could be empowered to serve all of these functions. However, this runs the risk of the CoP being perceived as the secretariat's project, not a community effort. Alternatively, we could designate chairperson(s) who could serve the functions in parantheses above.


How to organize leadership of the CoP?

Terry Keating: If we have chairs, I would suggest having 2-3 co-chairs, rather than a single chair, to avoid the personalization of the effort. I would also suggest limiting the term of the co-chairs to 2 years to ensure that leadership is shared across the community. 2-3 chairs could be recruited intentionally from different regions or parts of the community. I worry that recruiting chairs will be difficult, but having a number of different people serve as chairs over time may build a greater sense of commitment across the community to the CoP’s mission. I would suggest that the co-chairs roles are limited to: • Facilitating/Leading the Steering Forum • Reaching out to relevant efforts to engage them in the CoP • With the help of the secretariat, organizing reports to the GEO secretariat on relevant portions of the GEO Work Plan Currently the GEO Work Plan includes at least one component where the CoP’s progress should be tracked and reported: HE-01-C1: Air-borne Diseases, Air Quality and Aeroallergens. Phil Dickerson (USEPA) is the lead point of contact for this component and currently responsible for providing updates to the GEO secretariat on progress. The CoP could contribute to these reports and we could find additional “hooks” within the GEO work plan to make our contributions known.

Martin Schultz: agree to this. Perhaps a specific addition would be the role to suggest the agenda of web or tele conferences and real meetings together with the secretariat. These agendas would of course have to be approved by the steering group in each case.

What are/should be the relations between the CoP and other relevant groupings?

Terry Keating: There are a variety of ongoing efforts within the CoP that have their own identities and objectives. Some are funded projects, including big efforts such as MACC and small efforts such as CyAir. Some are voluntary collaborations or community forums, such as GEIA or the ESIP AQ Working Group. All of these are useful and important elements of the GEO AQ CoP. The governance structure and activities of the CoP should not try to replace these elements, but should instead try to engage them, support them, and facilitate exchange between them. I believe that the CoP will flourish if folks believe that their own work is contributing to the larger good and the larger good will (eventually) benefit them.

Martin Schultz: Indeed, I also see the CoP as the most general overarching umbrella for these activities - with the clear focus on enabling the global air quality data network. In my view, the CoP should not attempt to coordinate any scientific or policy efforts across these other activities (see my comment on the mission statement above).

Terry Keating: At the ESIP Winter Meeting Air Quality Breakout Session, there was a discussion about CoP governance. One outcome was that there seemed to be consensus that we should change the name of the CoP to "Air Quality and Atmospheric Composition." Rudy Husar suggested that the structure should include some mechanism (e.g. a committee? or work group?) for coordinating the technical work (at the nuts and bolts, software developer level) of expanding and maintaining the network. Martin Schultz suggested that we might use the upcoming GAW/TF HTAP meeting in Geneva, 18-22 March, to further explore some of the CoP governance issues. I will make sure that the GEO CoP is introduced as part of the meeting agenda and that a discussion of governance issues is arranged as part of the formal sessions or as a topic of dinner conversation.

In follow-up discussions after the breakout session, I suggested that one mechanism that might help coordinate the development of the network is coordination through the TF HTAP work plan. Under Theme 6 of the HTAP work plan, a series of "work packages" and work package leaders have been identified related to maintaining and establishing individual nodes, coordinating metadata and other conventions, and coordinating development of visualization and analytical tools. To move the HTAP-related work along, we are likely to need to scheduled regular meetings (telephone/web conferences) of these work package leaders. In addition to being part of TF HTAP, this group of work package leaders could constitute a work group under the GEO AQAC CoP, providing a mechanism for coordinating the technical aspects of network development with a clear "use case" to guide the development.

I recognize that HTAP isn't the only "use case" that we should be facilitating. I think another very important piece of work is the interest in Near Real Time information for public information and air quality forecasting. Therefore, I wonder whether we should establish an "HTAP Use Case" Work Group and a "NRT Use Case" Work Group. The NRT group could bring together parts of MACC, AirNow, AirWatch, ... It could connect with the successful series of International Workshops on Air Quality Forecasting Research (IWAQFR).