IG Virtual Research Environment (VRE-IG) RDA 9th Plenary meeting

Meeting title

Virtual Research Environments: coordinating sustainable online research environments across multiple infrastructures

Short introduction describing the activities and the scope of the group: 

Researchers increasingly seek to dynamically collaborate on common activities despite being geographically dispersed. Their need to share resources such as data, workflows and tools, as well as knowledge including the results of their research, lessons learned etc. have led to a proliferation of collaborative environments variously identified as Virtual Research Environments (VREs), Virtual Laboratories (VL), or Science Gateways (SG).

Many existing collaborative systems, as well as some of those currently under development, have been created to serve specific disciplines or communities. These VREs/VLs/SGs are also based on different technologies and architectures resulting in incompatible ‘siloed’ systems. However, the increased requirement for cross-discipline research means that there is a need for interoperability between these different systems and communities.

Another key challenge for the success and long-term sustainability of these VREs/VLs/SGs is the funding and sustainability models which in some cases act as a barrier to the wider adoption and implementation of these collaborative environments. 

The VRE IG seeks to bring together the various initiatives actively developing VREs, virtual laboratories and science gateways, along with the representatives of the common infrastructure services and the researchers seeking to make use of these systems in an effort to identify the necessary technical aspects, governance issues, sustainability models and best practice required to support a more coordinated approach to the development and interoperation of these VREs/VLs/SGs.

Additional links to informative material related to the group i.e. group page, Case statement, working documents etc

https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/vre-ig.html

Meeting objectives

The VRE IG is currently finalizing its case statement and the key objectives of this meeting are focused on the stated aims of this group which include:
• Bringing together representatives and users of the various VRE/virtual laboratories/science gateways to gain an understanding of the technologies, resources and standards current employed by these initiatives;
• Identification of the requirements (technologies, standards, best practice etc.) for establishing interoperability between the individual systems;
• Identification of the ‘ingredients’ and the ‘mix’ that go into creating a vibrant virtual research community
• Knowledge exchange regarding sustainability models for VREs/SGs/VLs

Meeting agenda

1) Introduction: rationale for the VRE IG and aims for the session
2) Case statement: presentation and finalization
3) Approaches to interoperability among VREs, VLs and SGs
a. Use of common standards, technologies etc. 
b. How to encourage convergence on common elements of a virtual research environment 
(architecture/services)
4) Key ingredients for successful and vibrant virtual research communities
5) Sustainability of VREs (what are the current models that work (and conversely have failed)
6) Conclusions/next actions.

Audience: 

Developers, custodians and users of VREs/virtual laboratories/science gateways

Group chairs serving as contacts: Helen Glaves

Type of meeting:Informative meeting

Group maturity: 6-12 months