Open-Source for Marine and Ocean Sciences, OSMOS

Gaps & Needs

Marine and Ocean sciences rely on an overwhelming, steadily increasing, amount of data. Unfortunately, not many scholars in these fields are proficient in programming or data science. This issue has already been addressed for fields such as ecology, which inherently intertwines and overlaps many others of our interest.

It was agreed, during the Dagstuhl Seminar 17091 titled “Computer Science Meets Ecology” (1), that ecology “is increasingly data driven, yet suffers from hurdles in data collection, quality assurance, provenance, integration, and analysis. […] However, usually, scientists in ecology are not completely aware of current trends and new techniques in computer science that can support their daily work” and “up to now, very few computer scientists are involved in this discipline; mostly ecoinformatics (or biodiversity informatics) is done by people with a strong background in e.g. ecology and a long (mostly self-taught) experience in data management. It lacks a strong connection to cutting-edge computer science research in order to profit from the results of this area”.

Conversely, there are many computer scientists, analysts, and developers out there willing to put their technical know-how to work for the environment, but with limited understanding of its processes, laws, and, most of all, issues.

State of the art

The seemingly different groups of people described above often times share principles of universal accessibility to knowledge in all its many shapes, in a collection of philosophies grouped under the label “Open Science”, the most renowned of which is the Open Source movement. The movement centres around a basic agreement that it is important for the source code of a software product to be freely available for possible modification and redistribution.

On a purely academical point of view, the release of Open Source research code allows for stronger replication and corroboration of empirical results, while outside the context of research authors release their software as Open Source as a means to increase their employability and decrease the workload for long-term sustainability of the software by sharing the effort with other developers (2).

Aims & Purposes

Open-Source for Marine and Ocean Sciences – OSMOS is thus felt as needed, with the purposes of supporting and producing works relating to the themes and ideals presented here while facilitating collaboration on such projects.

Our hope is to be a hub for the categories above, everything in between, and beyond.


References

  1. Camps- Valls G, Hickler T, König-Ries B, 2017. Computer Science Meets Ecology (Dagstuhl Seminar 17091). https://doi.org/10.4230/DAGREP.7.2.109
  2. Heron M, Hanson VL & Ricketts I, 2013. Open source and accessibility: advantages and limitations. J Interact Sci 1, 2. https://doi.org/10.1186/2194-0827-1-2

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