Social Networking Adapted for Distributed Scientific Collaboration

Sci-Share provides scientists with a set of tools for e-mail, file sharing, and information transfer.

Sci-Share is a social networking site with novel, specially designed feature sets to enable simultaneous remote collaboration and sharing of large data sets among scientists. The site will include not only the standard features found on popular consumer-oriented social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, but also a number of powerful tools to extend its functionality to a science collaboration site.

A Virtual Observatory is a promising technology for making data accessible from various missions and instruments through a Web browser. Sci-Share augments services provided by Virtual Observatories by enabling distributed collaboration and sharing of downloaded and/or processed data among scientists. This will, in turn, increase science returns from NASA missions. Sci- Share also enables better utilization of NASA’s high-performance computing resources by providing an easy and central mechanism to access and share large files on users’ space or those saved on mass storage.

The most common means of remote scientific collaboration today remains the trio of e-mail for electronic communication, FTP for file sharing, and personalized Web sites for dissemination of papers and research results. Each of these tools has well-known limitations. Sci-Share transforms the social networking paradigm into a scientific collaboration environment by offering powerful tools for cooperative discourse and digital content sharing. Sci-Share differentiates itself by serving as an online repository for users’ digital content with the following unique features:

• Sharing of any file type, any size, from anywhere;
• Creation of projects and groups for controlled sharing;
• Module for sharing files on HPC (High Performance Computing) sites;
• Universal accessibility of staged files as embedded links on other sites (e.g. Facebook) and tools (e.g. e-mail);
• Drag-and-drop transfer of large files, replacing awkward e-mail attachments (and file size limitations);
• Enterprise-level data and messaging encryption; and
• Easy-to-use intuitive workflow.

This work was done by Homa Karimabadi of Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15883-1

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