Thank You For Sharing

A reflection on the 2018 AHM.

Data Science isn’t ‘my science’. Geoscience isn’t ‘my science’. I came to UCAR with the intention of learning about science communication; anything else I learned along the way I’d consider a bonus. 

But the community at the 2018 AHM made it apparent that data and earth sciences are important for everyone, and they belong to everyone. 

I have been most interested in the FAIR data principles that EarthCube is working towards. My background is in Neuroscience, another field that deals with enormous amounts of data and questions of ownership. 

We are all in this together

All Hands Meeting participants learn about communicating their complex projects in simple terms through a “Napkin Drawing” exercise led by Science Gateways Community Institute’s Juliana Casavan.

In writing for the EarthCube blog I have been learning fascinating things from the wonderful investigators on EarthCube projects. The ideas are amazing, the implementation impressive, and the values admirable. 

It is easy to see that these values are a great idea for the scientific community when one reads, writes, and analyzes them. The values of sharable, interoperable data (and likewise sufficient credit to scientists) are clear. 

But to see the passion behind the ideas, and the embodiment of them in a community is truly inspiring. 

I expected to learn a lot at the AHM about Geo and data sciences. And I did, but I learned even more about what it means to be a good scientist. A good scientist to your community, and to your science. 

The energy of sharing at the 2018 AHM made an impression. The willingness of attendees to share their ideas, and their work. Their interest when others would share. Everyone I met was so comfortable and confident in the sharing and explaining of their work. Nearly every interaction seemed to carry a subtext that said “we are all in this together”. 

Unfamiliar Territory; Exciting Implications

Ouida Meier discusses how the necessity of “rescuing” data can drive enhanced Data Management Techniques.

Without the background to grasp the technical details of the EarthCube projects, I expected to feel somewhat alienated from the content in the AHM but I did not. It felt more like being welcomed into the the new home of an old friend. Unfamiliar territory, exciting implications. 

I felt welcomed by the culture of sharing that was collaborational more than transactional. The way that the creators and researchers within EarthCube not only bring their technologies or tasks to the table, but sit down at that table, and take the time to figure out how to make the tool work best for both sides is an example of this culture. The Breakout session “Integrating EarthCube Technologies into Scientific Workflows” that took the time to pair teams effectively is an example of this. 

When Simon Goring presented on “what is success” the air of team mentality was truly noticeable. There was a clear and thoughtful self-reflection that took everyone together to ask: what are WE trying to do here? Is it working? And also pulled a whole team, so admirably focused on making the finals, to take a quick look back and say “look how far we’ve come.”

It seems the EarthCube community is tied together by some common values, and a strong custom of cooperation and unity. Even without the same background as those who have built it, I got to experience that.

Thank you for sharing. 

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