EarthCube Governance Framework - A Proposal to the Community


EarthCube is a process and an outcome, established to transform the conduct of research through the development of community-guided cyberinfrastructure for the Geosciences as the prototype for potential deployment across all domain sciences. EarthCube aims to create a knowledge management system and infrastructure that integrates all Earth system and human dimensions data in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner. EarthCube requires broad community participation in concept, framework, and implementation and must not be hindered by rigid preconceptions.

There are widely varying interpretations, expectations, and assumptions about governance among EarthCube participants. We, the governance work group comprised of a steering committee and forum representing over 60 organizations, define governance as the processes, structure and organizational elements that determine, within an organization or system of organizations, how power is exercised, how stakeholders have their say, how decisions are made, and how decision makers are held accountable.

We have learned, from historical infrastructure case studies, background research on governance and from community feedback, that other types of large-scale, complex infrastructures, including the Internet, have no central control, administration, or management. No national infrastructure that we examined is governed by a single entity, let alone a single governance archetype. Thus, to be successful, we feel the process must accommodate a governance system or system of systems that may have a single governing entity, particularly at the start, but can evolve into a collective of governing bodies as warranted.

In order to ensure the realization of this infrastructure sooner, more efficiently, and more effectively, we must provide a community endorsed Governance Framework. This requires intense outreach from target communities within the Geosciences, including academia, government, and the private sector, both nationally and internationally. In this session, we provide our initial findings on EarthCube governance and request feedback and participation from the community on those findings.


More information on EarthCube Governance, including links to the full Roadmap and Framework documents, is at

Governance, E.; EarthCube Governance Framework - A Proposal to the Community; Winter Meeting 2013. ESIP Commons , October 2012