EarthCollab: Implementing, extending and connecting VIVO instances to enable discovery across scientific research networks

Given the interdisciplinary and interorganizational nature of research conducted in the Geosciences, some of the work is conducted using distributed networks of researchers and resources including instruments and platforms. To better enable the discovery of the research output from the scientists and resources used within these organizations, UCAR , Cornell University, and UNAVCO are collaborating on the EarthCollab project which seeks to leverage semantic technologies to manage and link scientific data. The EarthCollab project is working within the following two geoscience-based communities to deploy VIVO instances: (1) the Bering Sea Project , an interdisciplinary field program whose data archive is hosted by NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL), and (2) diverse research projects informed by geodetic tools which are operated and/or maintained by UNAVCO. The lessons we learn about extending or integrating domain specific information into a VIVO instance and about searching across and linking information in multiple VIVO instances should prove relevant and interesting to the VIVO community as a whole. 
In this presentation, we will discuss our goals and work in the following areas: 
- Ontology design and implementation driven by Geoscience use cases: We are designing the EarthCollab ontology based on what the two use case communities have identified as information they would like to represent and the information they currently have about data and researchers. We are populating the two use case-specific VIVO instances using the VIVO ontology as the foundation. We have also reviewed multiple existing ontologies, such as GCIS and DCAT to explore how to extend VIVO and represent the relationships between resources, such as instruments and platforms, data, and researchers. We will discuss our ontology design approach and how the different needs of each use case have informed the ontology design. 
- Cross linking VIVOs and furthering linked data: To support searching across distributed information represented in separate VIVO instances, we are exploring mechanisms for linking information from multiple VIVOs without necessarily having to duplicate or import this information in each instance. Central to these mechanisms are the abilities to: (1) designate multiple URIs from separate VIVO name spaces as equivalent to each other or to an independent unique identifier (such as an ORCiD ID) using sameAs assertions, (2) retrieve the appropriate URIs that might designate the same person using a lookup service based on (1), and (3) display information in a VIVO instance for a URI from a different VIVO instance without having to copy or duplicate information.