VREs/Virtual Labs/Science Gateways: Is FAIRness Sufficient to Increase Trust in VREs and to Foster Critical Thinking?

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06 Aug 2021
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 

VREs are excellent environments to collaborate on research topics, to share data, methods and knowledge in projects at one affiliation as well as across national and continental boundaries. Quite a few mature solutions have evolved over the last 15 years and the usability of existing solutions has increased majorly. Two major trends can be observed regarding usability: one is the mostly black-box approach that allows beginners in a field to use complex scientific methods without having to become acquainted with complex research infrastructures but to be enabled to focus on research questions. The second trend are dashboards such as Jupyter that allow researchers to work with their own scripts and ease the connection to complex research infrastructures and portability. Both approaches might be supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Virtual Reality (VR). FAIRness of VREs can address open sharing and trust challenges. The objective of this meeting is to discuss whether FAIRness of VREs is sufficient to increase trust in VREs while fostering critical thinking. 

Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative session notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iZ3IFN9gzKriPCBSzY11wIuQff6rhx_biOlKvbZt9GE/edit?usp=sharing


0-10 min - Introduction to IG and FAIR4VRE working group (Sandra Gesing)

10-40 min - Panel - Why Trust and Critical Thinking in VREs is complementary (Moderator: Sandra Gesing, Panelist: Andreas Rauber, Zhiming Zhao)
Novel technologies such as AI and VR open exciting new opportunities to analyze and simulate data. While FAIRness of VREs can help to increase trust in the methods used, openly shared methods and data are often so complex that it is difficult to know whether results can be trusted. The panel will go into detail for the aspects of trust and critical thinking for VREs and their implications for the use of VREs.

40-90 min - Group discussion and preparing for new working group (Moderator: Kheeran Dharmawardena)

  • Is FAIRness of VREs the basis for trusting results in VREs? Or does this apply for a subset of VREs?

  • Which  knowledge acquisition and transfer skills  will we no longer need to teach/learn because machines will take care of it for us, and what will we need to learn instead?

  • What are measures to improve trust in computational methods used in VREs?

  • How to avoid “blind trust” in simulations - for example, created via AI and VR - for VREs?

Target Audience: 

This session is aimed at anyone who is or has been involved in using, developing or maintaining any form of online collaborative environment or their individual components.

In preparation for this meeting, attendees could refer to the notes from the previous sessions from past RDA Plenary meetings that focused more on understanding the commonalities and differences of the different VRE/SG/VL platforms from the different global regions and collaboration tools. Attendees could think about the challenges they face using and developing VREs especially under consideration of the aspects trust, security and privacy when incorporating novel technologies such as AI and VR.

Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

VREs are synonymous with Science Gateways (SGs) in the USA and Virtual Laboratories (VLs) in Australia, and are increasingly being used to support a more dynamic approach to collaborative working across the internet. The VRE-IG will explore all aspects of existing and planned future VRE/SG/VLs with the aim of moving towards common policies and best practices, such as those now being promoted by the European EOSC, the US XSEDE and the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). 

The VRE IG acts as a longer-term organization responsible for tracking and contributing to the evolution of VRE/SG/VL technologies, particularly as they relate to data access. It will also seek to engage with those seeking to make use of these online technologies in an effort to identify the necessary technical aspects, social and community building practices, required skills, as well as governance issues and best practice required to support a more coordinated approach to the development of the collaborative environments that enable data sharing and in situ online processing.

At this meeting we focus on FAIRness of VREs and the aspects of trust and critical thinking.

Short Group Status: 

The group is established and has existed for six years. The VRE IG aims to act as a longer-term organization responsible for tracking and contributing to the evolution of VRE/SG/VL technologies, particularly as they relate to data access. Since the 14th Plenary we have added additional meetings between the RDA plenaries and we plan to form working groups on specific topics discussed during the plenaries. This IG will function as umbrella group for such working groups and we have applied for a FAIR4VRE working group for this plenary additionally to the VRE-IG session.

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 
Meeting presenters: 
Andreas Rauber, Kheeran Dharmawardena, Zhiming Zhao, Sandra Gesing