View the Enabling Scientific Collaboration and Discovery through Semantic Connections Forum

EarthCollab: Enabling Scientific Collaboration and Discovery through Semantic Connections

Science Challenges

Scientific projects are increasingly organized as “virtual organizations,” with many distributed participants, digital communications, information sharing, and heterogeneous products. These complex projects present a number of challenges: how to bring information together from multiple sources, to identify which data sets, people, or tools, might be relevant to your research, and to understand how certain data, instruments, or methods were used to produce particular results.


Technical Approach

The EarthCollab project is improving the discovery and sharing of information to advance research. The VIVO software suite is being used to create structured, interpretable linked data representations of our two case studies, permitting direct interlinking of information and data across platforms and projects. Developed by Cornell University Library in collaboration with many partners, VIVO is used by over 100 organizations to manage information related to researchers, research projects, organizations, publications, data, and instruments. Our project is leveraging web identifier and vocabulary structures that have been widely adopted in the geoscience and cyberinfrastructure communities to facilitate exchange of information across the internet, thereby allowing research projects to leverage representations of researchers, data sets, tools, and organizations wherever they reside online.


Science Drivers

Our project focuses on two geoscience-based case studies: 1) An interdisciplinary field program, the Bering Sea Project, whose data archive is hosted by NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL), and 2) Diverse research projects informed by geodetic tools, such as GPS networks and LiDAR imagery, which are operated and/or maintained by UNAVCO. We are engaging those communities through workshops, targeted surveys, and via our project's advisory board.


Benefits to Researchers

This project will enable researchers to more easily find people, organizations, and research resources that are relevant to their work. From a technology point of view, we hope to provide insight into how the geosciences can leverage linked data to produce more coherent methods of information and data discovery for large multi-disciplinary projects and virtual organizations.


Project web sites

Connect UNAVCO -

Arctic Data Connects  -


More information

Early news release about EarthCollab -

Mayernik, M.S., Gross, M.B., Corson-Rikert, J., Daniels, M.D., Johns, E.M., Khan, H., Maull, K., Rowan, L.R., & Stott, D. (2016). Building geoscience Semantic Web applications using established ontologies. Data Science Journal, 15, article 11: 1-10.

Webinar - "EarthCollab: Enabling Scientific Collaboration and Discovery Through Linked Scientific Resources", Aug. 5, 2016



For more information, please contact Matthew Mayernik, email:, or any of the project PIs, listed below.