A common scientific challenge is that of merging together results from independent research programs in order to conduct broad, synthetic analyses, as for example when astronomers focus on different segments of the night sky, geologists on specific times spans, and biologists on specific groups of organisms. In these cases, the answers to major scientific questions arise when the independent groups can successfully exchange and integrate their data into a comprehensive framework for analysis. Creating new, large-scale, next-generation data resources in the social, behavioral and economic sciences (SBE) and for education and human resources (EHR) too will require linking independent data sources into larger, coherent data structures. The PaleoCore initiative will create data standards and software tools to facilitate the aggregation of data into federated data networks. The project leverages data standards, and software solutions from other scientific disciplines to rapidly develop solutions relevant to SBE and EHR. The approach taken by the PaleoCore initiative is to start with a specific topic in SBE, human prehistory, and develop solutions that are broadly applicable to other scientific domains within SBE and EHR. Toward this aim the project has three main goals: 1) to develop and publish a data standard for prehistory, 2) to develop software tools that facilitate researchers' ability to record collected data directly into databases, especially geospatial databases, and 3) to develop a web portal that integrates individual project databases online into a federated network of data providers serving information to researchers, students and the general public. Through these objectives scientists in the SBE and EHR sciences will have a mechanism for broad-scale data integration, visualization, analysis and dissemination. This framework creates the foundation for answering big-picture questions beyond the reach of individual research projects and opens the door to new knowledge based on large, aggregated data sets.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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University of Texas Austin
United States
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