Astronomy: On the Bleeding Edge of Scholarly Infrastructure
Use the link to access more information about the presentation given during the poster session of the recently held meeting of the American Astronomical Association. The abstract reads as follows: "The infrastructure for scholarship has moved online, making data, articles, papers, journals, catalogs, and other scholarly resources nodes in a deeply interconnected network. Astronomy has led the way on several fronts, developing tools such as ADS to provide unified access to astronomical publications and reaching agreement on a common data file formats such as FITS. Astronomy also was among the first fields to establish open access to substantial amounts of observational data. We report on the first three years of a long-term research project to study knowledge infrastructures in astronomy, funded by the NSF and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Early findings indicate that the availability and use of networked technologies for integrating scholarly resources varies widely within astronomy. Substantial differences arise in the management of data between ground-based and space-based missions and between subfields of astronomy, for example. While large databases such as SDSS and MAST are essential resources for many researchers, much pointed, ground-based observational data exist only on local servers, with minimal curation. Some astronomy data are easily discoverable and usable, but many are not. International coordination activities such as IVOA and distributed access to high-level data products servers such as SIMBAD and NED are enabling further integration of published data. Astronomers are tackling yet more challenges in new forms of publishing data, algorithms, visualizations, and in assuring interoperability with parallel infrastructure efforts in related fields. New issues include data citation, attribution, and provenance. Substantial concerns remain for the long term discoverability, accessibility, usability, and curation of astronomy data and other scholarly resources. The presentation will outline these challenges, how they are being addressed by astronomy and related fields, and identify concerns and accomplishments expressed by the astronomers we have interviewed and observed."