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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska
community-generated research needs and could be a way to increase the participation of local communities that use Gulf of Alaska resources. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee and chief scientist should be responsible for organizing workshops designed to provide input on core variables to be measured over time. Final decisions on variable selection can be based on hypotheses proposing how each variable provides insight into human and climate-based changes in the ecosystem.
Recommendation: There should be an open process for nominating individuals to serve on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, both during its initial formation and as the GEM program continues. Various independent scientific groups can assist in the initial formation to help broaden the selection process and find candidates with suitable experience in the initiation and implementation of large-scale, long-term ecological research. The chief scientist should review the nominations and recommend selections, with appropriate documentation, to the Trustees, who are responsible for the appointments.
Data and Information Management
Conclusion: There will be significant costs associated with data and sample processing and with data archiving. It is a common mistake to underestimate the cost of data and information management. To extract the full scientific value of any research program data and information must be made available to the scientific community, resource managers, policy makers, and the public on a timely basis. Each of these audiences will require information in a different format. The committee commends the initial development of data management procedures; careful implementation of these procedures is key.
Recommendation: GEM should create a comprehensive Data Management Office (not just an archive but a group of people who address these issues). Other large science programs spend as much as 20 percent of funds on data management. The multi-decadal scale of GEM will require a similar commitment.