[LTER-im-rep] Organizational considerations re: LTER NIMO

Philip Tarrant philip.tarrant at asu.edu
Fri Jan 29 15:49:41 MST 2016

Thanks Suzanne and Wade for the input. 

I agree that IMexec is the trickier of the two to consider. It may be that some of the activities you refer to Suzanne, might be subsumed into the OC. There is likely to be a need for the OC to request ad hoc IM participation (WGs) to support NIMO activities. While we have tended to use WGs in the past to define policy or address technical activities, it is reasonable to assume that a small group of IMs could come together to organize the IMC each year similar to the way the ASM is organized. This would be an alternative approach to using a standing committee like IMexec.

These are great thoughts. Please everyone, continue to chime in either before or during the watercoolers, so that we can define a clear way forward. 

Philip Tarrant
Director, Informatics and Technology | Senior Sustainability Scientist
Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability | Arizona State University
  Sustainable data - use, preserve, re-use  

-----Original Message-----
From: im-rep [mailto:im-rep-bounces at lists.lternet.edu] On Behalf Of Wade Sheldon
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2016 2:58 PM
To: im-rep at lists.lternet.edu; Remillard, Suzanne <suzanne.remillard at oregonstate.edu>; stevan.earl at asu.edu
Subject: Re: [LTER-im-rep] Organizational considerations re: LTER NIMO

Suzanne and all,

I won't be able to make the calls next week due to a last-minute trip to the field station, so I'll chime in here as well.

I completely agree with Suzanne regarding NISAC. This committee was started to promote the NIS and guide its implementation, but has changed focus several times over the years through the decadal planning process and then the ARRA-funded expansion of NIS capabilities. Assuming NIMO is funded, all the roles NISAC has traditionally served will be assumed by the OC and expanded to include the operational aspects of the NIS. Even the structure of the OC mirrors NISAC. So I advocate for asking the EB to disband NISAC when the NIMO OC is established.

Regarding IM-Exec, I agree that the situation is a bit more complicated. There are certainly organizational and representational aspects of IM-Exec that may not be fully reflected in the NIMO OC's charter. However, I am concerned about the prospect of having a large, active IM organizational committee operating in parallel with the NIMO enterprise for several reasons:

1. For better or worse (hopefully better), LTER is entering a new era with the transition from a central LNO and federation of independent site IM programs to a synthesis-oriented communications office and a collaborative IM organization that we all have a stake in. To have any chance of making this new model work and getting through the messy transition ahead we're in for a lot of work. I think that all of our network IM focus and energy should be aligned with NIMO and building towards the "skills marketplace" and shared approaches we'll need to move the network forward and support the NCO-funded synthesis projects.

2. A major role of IM-Exec has been facilitating communication and coordination between sites and LNO, and organizing working groups to address unmet site and network IM needs. With the emergence of NIMO we are collectively taking on the NIS ourselves, and have our representatives on the OC to meet these communication needs. In my view, having another layer of representation and communication can only make decision-making more complicated and potentially lead to conflicts.

3. The future of IMC meetings and funding for IMC activities outside of NIMO is uncertain. LNCO's focus is on synthesis workshops, and limited funding was requested for general committee meetings. The NIMO budget is also extremely tight and may not provide that funding either. So regrettably the need for IMC meeting and workgroup planning may diminish in the near future, further reducing the need for IM-Exec.

On the other hand, the transition to NIMO (and loss of LNO) will likely be very disruptive, and the OC and NIMO staff may be overwhelmed dealing with the operational aspects of the transition for some time. Expecting the OC to assume all the communication, organizational and representational roles of IM-Exec may be too much. So I think we should take a hard look at the IM-Exec TOR with the goal of transitioning this committee to a less "executive" and more representational role tightly aligned with the NIMO structure.

Sorry if that rambled a bit, but I wanted to get more thoughts organized and out there since I'll miss the discussion next week.


On 1/29/2016 3:23 PM, Remillard, Suzanne wrote:
> Hi Philip and others,
> I have been thinking about this and Don and I had a conversation earlier in the week.  Today is Theresa’s last day of week and things have been pretty hectic around here.  We’re sure going to miss her!
> I wanted to make some comments prior to the VWC’s next week.  I’m not 100% sure where the current documents are located, if there are any. So, I’m going off of material dated prior to our IM meeting. I have to say that it sure seems like the Operations Committee (OC) will replace the nebulous tasks of NISAC.  NISAC really had no authority, was purely advisory and as PASTA came into the picture, it’s role was sort of redefined.  I would think that the representation of scientists and IMs on this OC are really going to be providing the input that NISAC would have provided and seems to be a duplication in efforts.  Plus, we likely don’t have enough volunteers to serve on more than one committee.
> On the other hand, I feel that IMEXEC is still a valuable and needed committee.  There are things that IMEXEC would do that are not covered by the OC, like organizing annual meetings, working groups that haven’t quite made the radar of OC (developing the ‘service requests’).  The TOR may need to be amended because roles and function will likely change somewhat.
> Do others see it differently?
> Thanks, Suzanne
> *From:* Philip Tarrant [mailto:philip.tarrant at asu.edu]
> *Sent:* Monday, January 25, 2016 7:24 AM
> *To:* im-rep at lists.lternet.edu; Remillard, Suzanne 
> <suzanne.remillard at oregonstate.edu>; Stevan Earl <stevan.earl at asu.edu>
> *Subject:* Organizational considerations re: LTER NIMO
> Dear colleagues,
> Now that the NIMO proposal has been submitted, and on the assumption it will be funded, we want to start thinking about the future of our existing IM organization.
> When we originally defined the NIMO we drafted the concept of a Governance Board/Operations Committee that would oversee and guide NIMO operations. This is the model used in the proposal and we have the commitment of the EB to find us our scientist (3) representation. One of the things we envisaged was that this new entity might supersede some of our existing organization and the time has come to discuss this idea in more detail. The two committees that this Operations Committee overlaps most significantly are NISAC and IM Exec, and while we do not have the authority to dissolve NISAC (we can, of course, recommend changes), we would like to explore the relevance of these two committees in conjunction with the new organization.
> Please “reply all” to this e-mail and share your thoughts with the full IMC, so that we can have a more complete discussion at next week’s VTCs. As a reminder, the watercoolers will be on Monday, February 1, 3PM EST and Tuesday, February 2, 12PM EST. If you haven’t already signed up you will find the Doodle poll here:
> http://doodle.com/poll/4dv8na97p7bwwm43
> I look forward to an interesting dialog over the next few days.
> Regards,
> *Philip Tarrant*
> *Director, Informatics and Technology | Senior Sustainability 
> Scientist* *Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability | 
> Arizona State University* /Sustainable data - use, preserve, re-use /
> _______________________________________________
> Long Term Ecological Research Network
> im-rep mailing list
> im-rep at lternet.edu


  Wade M. Sheldon
  GCE-LTER Information Manager
  School of Marine Programs
  University of Georgia
  Athens, GA 30602-3636
  Email: sheldon at uga.edu
  WWW: http://gce-lter.marsci.uga.edu/bios/wsheldon

Long Term Ecological Research Network
im-rep mailing list
im-rep at lternet.edu

More information about the im-rep mailing list