NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has plans to open-source its data, software, computing resources, and collaboration tools to the broader research community, and is seeking public input on where to start the process.


The agency’s Open-Source Science Initiative is NASA’s long-term commitment to building an inclusive open science community over the next decade, sharing its software, data, and knowledge as early as possible in the scientific process.


“Open-source science requires a culture shift to a more inclusive, transparent, and collaborative scientific process, which will increase the pace and quality of scientific progress,” SMD officials said in a  request for information (RFI) posted by the agency on Jan. 5.


But as NASA moves forward with its Open-Source Science Initiative, the agency wants to know which data sets and computing resources would be most useful – both for advancing specific scientific research and for helping scientists collaborate over those networks.


“Open-source science is NASA’s approach for facilitating the adoption of open scientific practices within NASA and the broader community,” and as NASA moves to support open scientific research and development it needs “information about user needs for scientific data and computing” to prioritize what digital resources it should open-source first, the RFI says.


The RFI requests input on two questions: what data, software, and other computing resources are of most value to the open-source science community; and what network upgrades and communication tools are needed to improve collaboration with NASA and within the community.


Regarding the first question, NASA is seeking “information on user needs for scientific data and computing, including SMD scientific workloads related to data processing, analytics, modeling and simulation, and artificial intelligence/machine Learning with a focus on needs for supporting Open-Source Science practices in SMD-funded science,” the RFI states.


As for the second, NASA wants information on what “scientific data and computing services, system architectures, and information technologies could be implemented to improve coordination of SMD scientific capabilities and facilitate Open Science practices in SMD-funded science,” according to the RFI.


All responses are due by Feb. 21.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.