The Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance is fueling groundbreaking multi-disciplinary discoveries worldwide. “This is a new era of data mining,” says IEDA Director Kerstin Lehnert, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
The young scientists who led the plate tectonics revolution 50 years ago showed how asking the right questions and having access to a wide range of shared data could open doors to an entirely new understanding of our planet.
Journalist Cheryl Philips described using publicly accessible records of infrastructure assessments done by the Department of Transportation in Washington State to map the most vulnerable bridges and to tell the story behind a bridge that collapsed, killing several people. John Bohannon of Science Magazine used iPython coding to send a fake journal article to close to 200 open access journals in a sting operation to uncover the lack of peer review of a clearly flawed article.
Modern society is awash in data. By one estimate, as much information today is created in 48 hours as was produced in the last 30,000 years. The challenge now is making all those megabytes public. This month, Elsevier, publisher of The Lancet and Cell, announced that it would establish reciprocal linking between its geochemistry journals and a data library managed by Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, called Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA).