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Scoping Research in Sustainability Information Science Steven D. Prager Department of Geography University of Wyoming David Bennett Department of Geography.

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Presentation on theme: "Scoping Research in Sustainability Information Science Steven D. Prager Department of Geography University of Wyoming David Bennett Department of Geography."— Presentation transcript:

1 Scoping Research in Sustainability Information Science Steven D. Prager Department of Geography University of Wyoming David Bennett Department of Geography University of Iowa

2 From Reconciling Imperatives to Bridging Scholarship and Policy Social EconomicEcological Sustainability Sciences Materials Science EcologySocial Sciences Sustainability Management Policy Implementation ?

3 Purpose Why a new information science? What makes sustainability information science different from other existing information sciences? Is the goal to push information science forward using the unique needs of sustainability science as motivation? Is it to adapt and synthesize existing information science such that it better supports sustainability science and decision-making?

4 Definition Ontology of a sustainable system Ontology of a sustainable information system Well defined sustainability metrics or classes of metrics Well defined connections to related concepts (e.g., resilience and adaptive capacity)

5 Definition Challenging because sustainability is: Not a fixed natural state that can be known solely through scientific measurement, but culturally defined, (Dahl 2012) Resources required for environmental, economic, and social wellbeing change through time and across space Therefore, sustainability is contextualized in time, space, and culture Transformation and adaptability of population/resource relationships over time and space must be represented captured and modeled (Walker et al. 2004, Folke et al. 2010).

6 Spatiotemporal dynamics of natural processes  spatiotemporal dynamics of human processes The effect of boundaries- jurisdictional ideological cultural technological Future directed informed by the past and present Fundamentally Uncertain Must embrace the unknown/unknowable. Development and Research

7 Equifinality vs. Multifinality Path 1 Path 3 Path 2 Outcome Path Outcome 1 Outcome 3 Outcome 2

8 Many Elements Hysteresis Potential multiple stable states Processes spanning multiple hierarchies and scale Spatial/Ecological Political Individual to national- level trends Intersecting/integrated fast and slow processes Complex feedbacks Adaptive cycle Growth/exploitation (r) conservation (K) Collapse/release ( Ω ) reorganization ( α ) Adaptive and emergent behavior Dynamic networks Social networks Ecological networks Social-ecological networks Qualitative & quantitative data Provenance of complexity  Provenance of sustainability

9 Research Opportunities New ST representations Boundary dynamics, flows, human/nature interaction, feedbacks. Citizen science, social networks, pervasive/ubiquitous data collection. How/when/why is this useful. Sensor networks, data discovery (post-normal science) Role of HPC, distributed computing, etc. Much more…

10 Strategies for Moving Forward Need to build critical mass on two fronts: Underlying Fundamentals Ontology of SIS as a first pass at articulating a collective understanding of SIS. Contributors and Problems A Research Coordination Network to build/escalate synergies in SS research.

11 Ontology as Theory Fonseca (2007) suggests that if we build theories (ontologies for science) BEFORE conceptual modeling, we build better models. This is in the context of information science, but why not view sustainability science from this perspective? Assertion: ontology of sustainability science will enable better ontologies for sustainability science. Better ontologies for sustainability science will enable better science. (Fonseca, 2007)

12 Formalizing Information Representation Realm Foundation Realmmost general, least detail Domain Realmtopical perspective Method / Task / Tool Realmdirect the processing of constructs Application Realmsituate use of information within a purpose Guarino (1997) Foundations of Sustainability Information Representation Theory: Spatial-Temporal Dynamics of Sustainable Systems Nyerges et al. (In Review)

13 Building Community via DIBBs Conceptualization Award Developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary communities' understanding of their data. The output of a conceptualization award will be design specifications for creating a sustainable data infrastructure that will be discoverable, searchable, accessible, and usable to the entire research and education community.

14 Building Community via RCN Bring sustainability information scientists working on various topics together in synergistic ways Bring sustainability information scientists and social and natural scientists together in synergistic ways to: form common language and conceptual framework insure help insure computation tools developed in the name of SIScience are well conceptualized and useful Provide case studies to help develop and contextualize SIS Provide applications to illustrate the utility of SIS

15 Application and case study Sustainability science is inherently interdisciplinary Sustainability informaticists can’t do this in isolation Interaction with interdisciplinary teams working in sustainability science is required

16 Opportunities for Engagement Workshop proposal in process: GeoVoCamp-like approach. Collaborative, participatory. Product oriented – foundation for later DIBBs or similar proposals. SLCN Steering Committee: Active coordination, community building Preparing in anticipation of RCN and related solicitations.

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