The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) commends the ongoing commitment of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to open science. NSF today announced awards for 10 new projects focused on building and enhancing coordination among researchers and other stakeholders to advance FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data principles and open-science practices.
The inaugural awards in NSF’s Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable, Open Science Research Coordination Networks (FAIROS RCN) program represent a pooled investment of over $12.5 million in open science from all directorates comprising NSF. This program is particularly unique given that the 10 projects are composed of 28 distinct NSF awards (detailed below) representing many organizations and institutions in the United States seeking to advance open-science efforts.
The NSF Solicitation 22-553 for FAIROS RCN supports groups of investigators to communicate, innovate, coordinate, and standardize research practices, training, and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic, and international boundaries to achieve the goals of FAIR and other open-science guiding principles. Research coordination networks are a form of awards that NSF makes to advance scientific practices and standards broadly across multiple research fields. These RCN awards will be for three-year projects. The managing program director for this new NSF solicitation is Martin Halbert, the NSF Science Advisor for Public Access.
Following are brief descriptions of the 10 projects:
The MaRCN (Materials Research Coordination Network) will advance and coordinate FAIR data and support open-science materials research nationally and internationally, bridging the fundamental gap between materials data and data-intensive methods including artificial intelligence and machine learning. The project will build on a range of planning and preparatory activities including the MGI (US Materials Genome Initiative) and MaRDA (Materials Research Data Alliance), a community-based network spanning stakeholders in academia, industry, and publishing. This project is a collaboration involving six institutions: Johns Hopkins University (lead institution), SUNY at Buffalo, Duke University, Northwestern University, Purdue University, and the University of Chicago. The total project budget awarded was $1,490,815. The award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
North Carolina Central University will lead a regional cluster of HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), MSI (minority serving institutions), and local communities to foster GIS (geographic information systems) and open-data-science support for faculty and student researchers. This research coordination network will serve both the regional and larger scientific communities by advancing open-science practices and principles in the development and deployment of data infrastructure and services needed to support the use of geospatial data in socially and environmentally relevant research activities. The total project budget awarded was $1,135,805. This award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
A research coordination network to improve shared practices for CCDRs (community curated data resources) in the paleoecological, contemporary ecological, paleoclimatic, and archeological disciplines will be undertaken by six collaborating institutions: the University of California at Merced (lead institution), the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the University of Florida, the University of Michigan, the Battelle Memorial Institute, and the Alexandria Archive Institute. The total project budget awarded was $1,495,376. This award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Geosciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
The SEEKCommons (Socio-Environmental Knowledge Commons) research coordination network, led by the University of Notre Dame, will bridge long-standing divides between the social and environmental sciences through the adaptation and application of open tools and methodologies in ways that will overcome disciplinary barriers to acceptance and support activities that enable the sharing of skills, resources, and socio-environmental research products as public goods. The total project budget awarded was $1,499,953. This award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
The Repeto project will foster community practices to make reproducibility a part of mainstream research and education activities in computer science. The project seeks to understand the cost/benefit equation of reproducibility for the computer science systems community, the factors that make reproducibility feasible or infeasible, as well as isolate factors (be they technical or usage-oriented) that make practical reproducibility of experiments difficult. Repeto is a collaboration between three institutions: the University of Chicago (lead institution), the University of California Santa Cruz, and New York University. The total project budget awarded was $1,499,913. This award by the NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure is jointly supported by the CISE Computer and Networked Systems Division.
A research coordination network led by the University of California San Diego will foster better practices based on the FAIR data principles in multiple disciplinary communities, focusing on three themes: FAIR in machine learning, AI readiness, and reproducibility. These themes were chosen to address the urgent needs of researchers in both the geophysical and computer sciences. The total project budget awarded was $1,260,000. This award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Geosciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
The NoCTURN (Non-Clinical Tomography Users Research Network) research coordination network will improve standardization and adoption of FAIR data guiding principles for non-clinical tomography, broadly understood here as data-gathering technologies used in a wide variety of research disciplines to obtain sectional scans of physical objects and samples by use of wave signals. NoCTURN is a collaboration between six institutions: the American Museum of Natural History (lead institution), the University of Florida, and the University of Texas at Austin. The total project budget awarded was $1,008,625. This award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Engineering, the Directorate for Biological Sciences, and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
The FAIR Facilities and Instruments research coordination network focuses on the standardization and adoption of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) for research facilities and instruments nationally. The scientific communities which this RCN will support include the biomedical sciences, the geosciences, informatics, and many or most other scientific fields which utilize specialized facilities and equipment in the research process. A collaboration between the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Florida State University, the total project budget awarded was $471,847. This award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Geosciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
The DBER+ (standing for discipline-based education research expanded) Commons project led by Michigan State University will extend the popular HCommons system to build consensus around and capacity for open science, the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable), and CARE (Collective Benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, Ethics) practices, principles, and guidelines for use in undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, graduate, and postdoctoral science education research activities. The total project budget awarded was $1,249,282. This award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
The FAIROS-HEP research coordination network will foster the adoption of practices and cyberinfrastructure to enable reuse and reinterpretation of high energy physics (HEP) datasets. A key mechanism that the project seeks to cultivate is that of “living publications,” distributed objects where the description of scientific results, the data on which they are based, and the computational procedures used to generate them are all available for examination, reproduction, and reuse. The project is a collaboration between the University of Notre Dame, Princeton University, and University of Wisconsin–Madison. The total project budget awarded was $1,471,827. The award was jointly supported by the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.
Research libraries are key partners on campus to advance open-science practices. Many ARL member libraries provide services and infrastructure to support open-science initiatives and research data–related activities and best practices. Research libraries foster community building and support researchers across disciplinary areas. These services often include consultations, workshops, technical tools (such as institutional repositories and statistical software), and more.
Note: After today, a dynamically generated listing of all FAIROS RCN awards will be available through the NSF Awardsearch system.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 127 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise; advances diversity, equity, and inclusion; and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.