C Keene Statement

From Federation of Earth Science Information Partners
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Christopher Keane, American Geosciences Institute, Director, Communications and Technology

Candidate Statement

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.

Personal Background

I have worked for the American Geosciences Institute, a federation of 52 geoscience societies, as Director of Communications and Technology and Editor of EARTH magazine for 20 years. I have also served several terms (and current) as a board member for GeoScienceWorld publishing collaborative, on the board and as Treasurer for the Commission for Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST), and now a director on the Brussels-based International Raw Materials Observatory. 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. Over my career, geoscience data issues have been central to much of my work. During the early 1990s while working with the Joint Education Initiative at the University of Maryland, we focused on developing processes to provide access and ready visualization and manipulation of 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. Additionally, data preservation and archiving are an ongoing priority in my career. I was PI for 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. In addition, we developed one of the first distributed geoscience metadata catalog systems, spanning public and private repositories while managing disparate reporting requirements through custom middleware. Also, the human capacity and economic impact 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 and enterprise. 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.