Convergence. Are we there yet?

Parsons, Mark
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Parsons, M. A. 2019. “Convergence. Are we there yet?” Earth and Space Science Open Archive
Infrastructure is not truly designed. It evolves. Infrastructure matures and becomes more ubiquitous, accessible, reliable, and transparent as ‘gateways’ begin to connect myriad systems [1]. Often these gateways that facilitate interconnection are ‘standards’ — be they formally defined or tacitly accepted practice. There is a process of convergence where communities begin to agree not only to use a common standard, but to use it in a common way. This presentation examines two case-studies of how standards adoption for data interoperability has progressed over time: The development of an international Arctic data coordination network over the last 15 years and work establishing the Research Data Alliance. Observations suggest that convergence on standards and their implementation is a dynamic process that works to negotiate and interpret multiple, sometimes conflicting, concerns. Standards can be adopted in different ways by different people and organizations and still enable interoperability. An inclusive, ecological methodology to system design is more resilient, adaptive, and responsive to interdisciplinary needs. Overall, maintenance of standards and their community is essential to their adoption and persistence.
Earth and Space Science Open Archive