CREATIV: A Digital HPS Infrastructure for Understanding Biodiversity

Project: Research project

Description

This proposal fits the CREATIV program for the following reasons. In August, 2010, we submitted a Collaborative Proposal to build an infrastructure for digital projects for Science and Technology Studies. The repository will be at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), with the intellectual content as well as working system developed in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU) scholars who are also Adjunct Scientists at the MBL. The project involves establishing the repository (the foundations for which we have now built, but we need to add an ingest layer and to make other aspects more user-friendly), establishing metadata standards and protocols (underway and needs further development), and developing scholarly research projects that draw on the growing set of digitally available materials to pursue new kinds of research questions, using new kinds of research tools (developing the tools and new kinds of research in computational research enabled by these tools, which is beginning to show promise). We then go on to develop a new kind of computational History and Philosophy of Science (HSP) research. The project builds on the foundations of the Embryo Project and the repository emerging at the MBL Library, which includes a repository, working system for developing contributions, curating them, adding them to the collection, and training others to use them. (see http://embryo.asu.edu) We submitted the proposal to the STS Program, where it received just the sort of high and low scores common for research at the leading edge of research; some referees liked it very much and others did not. The program officer Fred Kronz declined the proposal, even though the panel wrote: Although the proposal is very ambitious and has great transformative potential, it lacks sufficient detail about the internal mechanics of the proposed infrastructure. The proposed budget (over $600,000) also seems very high. We knew how to address these details, and Kronz persuaded Biological Sciences Infrastructure Program Officer Reed Beaman to award $98,000 for a pilot demonstration project. That is focused on the History of MBL science and is well underway. But this is just a beginning. The reviewers who did get what we are doing show that the project is worthwhile, and the strongly contrasting reviews make clear that the proposal is not likely to succeed in the traditional panel review process. One supporter noted that, The broader impacts are many and significant. They range from pioneering techniques deployable over a vast array of research fields to radically transforming the extent and nature of broad, public access to the fruits of scholarly research. This research is also interdisciplinary in the best sense of the word. Another commented that This project is an ambitious undertaking, but one that has been extremely well thought out, involves a set of key and talented investigators and consultants, and in which the various components all appear to be reasonable and feasible. It promises to make a significant contribution to STS by recasting scholarship in ways that take advantage of the new computing and informational environment of the twenty-first century. It thus offers the prospect of encouraging new lines of research that would otherwise not be possible. We agree.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/15/128/31/15

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $599,999.00

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biodiversity
infrastructure
referee
technology studies
history of science
philosophy of science
open channel
embryo
science studies
know how
science
field research
mechanic
twenty-first century
budget
research project
lack
history