Some thoughts on the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap of Australia

The publically available documents are at

I enjoyed reading this, thought it had promise over the ealier research priorities, but I have five suggestions:

1. Missing Details About Heritage and Cultural Heritage In General

However heritage is only mentioned once, 8.3.2 and it requires major investment in infrastructure, especially research data storage, linked to the CADASTRE problems Australia is experiencing and that I am sure CRCSi would have told you about. Not only was heritage only mentioned once there was no mention of heritage collections yet Australia has 19 world heritage sites ( not to mention the many state heritage sites and heritage towns. Digital collections are described but in terms of ecology, there are also cultural digital collections and cultural heritage collections, infrastructure between libraries archives galleries and museums that should have shared features, formats and efficient, scalable infrastructure.

2. Missing Infrastructure Theme: Tourism

Tourism is another big missing item. Smart tourism is a great industry to have but requires investment and infrastructure.

3. Encouraging co-curation and management and data replication

Also, although communities are mentioned, they could play a vital role vis a vis crowdsourcing, i.e. researchers and government departments need to develop better methods to disseminate data to communities, the skills and techniques to understand that data, and the capabilities to help curate, manage and develop that data. The roadmap still feels very much like data is stored and preserved and transmitted only by experts but Australia won’t have the money to pay these experts effectively and comprehensively.

Ways to allow partial editorial access at institutional and community level is vital for public engagement, feedback and budget efficiency.

4. More Emphasis On Education

Education is Australia’s 3rd or 4th biggest export industry, surely there should be more planning on how to educate and base education around the use and challenges of these major research infrastructures and how to measure their impact? Education is mentioned four times, but only, as far as I can see, in terms of access to infrastructure.

5. Academic Publication

The ways in which academics can publish and how they are measured is changing rapidly. Infrastructure could be more dynamically and effectively tied into publication and dissemination systems. Traditional proprietary journals published static research data and deny or delay access, digital publication means they could be produced more efficiently and quickly, be reformattable/reconfigurable for a variety of platforms and purposes and they could also be linked dynamically to updateable research data.

11.3 is the only place to mention publication and all it asks for is a “transformed environment where data and tools are provided reliably to researchers, and then the outputs of research – the publications, data and methods – are available in an integrated, reproducible form.”


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