Dear IG members,
first of all I thank you for the useful and interesting discussions stemming from my post asking for authoritative definitions for terms including VREs/VLabs/SGs.
My intent was not to stress the differences among these terms per-se (if any) and to promote their separation. Rather, I was (and still I'm) willing to figure out whether in the various definitions there are distinguishing features worth highlighting. To me all of them have been designed and proposed to provide their users / designated communities with added-value services aiming at offering seamless access and use of otherwise scattered resources (datasets, services, software, computing, etc.). Scattered resources imply to deal with heterogeneity of formats, protocols, technologies, terminologies, etc. There is a very limited / superficial agreement of what the "added-value" services are expected to be (probably because of the diversity of needs characterising the designated communities and application scenarios).
My request was related to a forthcoming Workshop “Virtual Research Environments: What services should they offer and what e-infrastructures should provide to support them”, 27-28 February 2018, CNR Pisa
During such workshop we will discuss some initiatives developing VREs/VLabs/SGs with the goal to reply to the following questions:
- What are the distinguishing features (functional / non functional) contributing to make a “system” a VRE?
- What are the mandatory functionalities that Virtual Research Environments should offer? What are the desired functionalities that Virtual Research Environments should offer?
- What services (and how) “service providers” (including Research Infrastructures) should offer to facilitate the development of VREs?
We are willing to distill the discussions and propose a research agenda (I know it is challenging!).
It will be great if the largest possible group of IG members will contribute to this forthcoming discussion by replying to this post. I'll take care of passing any message / contribution to the workshop participants on your behalf (with the help of other IG members physically attending the workshop).
Thanks in advance for any contribution you will propose.