How might Arctic data, such as the iconic datasets followed so closely on this blog, be made easier to access and use? In connection with a new project called the Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN), I’d like to collect your suggestions and pass them along to Arctic researchers.
Arctic Sea Ice blog contributors and readers tend to be active data consumers, not just of published reports but of public datasets such as those visualized in the blog’s five dense pages of graphs and maps. Many of us download numerical datasets to draw our own graphs, maps or animations. It’s a good way to learn more, try out ideas, and develop new presentations. Public data are the focus of blog discussions too, reflecting a highly engaged community of data users who are mostly not Arctic scientists themselves.
Researchers who produce the original data and publish them as a service might not have had such a citizen-science community in mind when they set up their systems. The current level of public engagement and sophistication is a relatively new thing, emerging outside the usual channels of science communication. Public-data formats designed either for scientists or for less active public consumption sometimes aren’t optimal for this new kind of use.
How might we improve that? Your suggestions are welcome. Not necessarily major changes or new graphics, but changes that hard-working researchers could make easily, to give cleaner and more public-friendly access to their numerical data. Frustrations and constructive suggestions have been voiced in some of our discussions. My hope for this thread is to collect good suggestions in one place, then start conversations with the respective research teams.
Proposed by a group of Arctic scientists, the SIPN project has support from the Arctic Sciences section of the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as the Office of Naval Research (ONR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). Project goals are to “develop a collaborative network of scientists and stakeholders to advance research on sea ice prediction and communicate sea ice knowledge and tools. SIPN builds and expands on the Sea Ice Outlook.” More public-friendly datasets are one way to improve communication with stakeholders.
Suggestions are also welcome for original graphs, maps, animations etc. based on public data, that have been produced by participants in this blog. SIPN is hosting a “town hall” for scientists at the American Geophysical Union meetings in San Francisco this week, where I'd be happy to show a few examples of such work.