What we mean by eScience?

It’s been 15 years since the term eScience was launched as part of an ambitious UK research programme aiming at advancing science using state-of-the-art distributed computing technologies. Looking at the early definitions, it seems that managing distributed computing resources to support massive international collaborations – and technology in general – were the crucial challenges at the time.

These computational and scientific “Grand Challenges” are still very relevant today, seeking new knowledge that may fundamentally change our understanding of the world as well as generate new innovations having profound effect.

However, during the last 15 years the basic online collaboration, computing and data management techniques have matured to such degree that using them no longer requires dedicated support teams of specialists. At the same time, Internet access that is sufficient to use these advanced services has become ubiquitous commodity service.

These developments have added new aspects to eScience: open (big) data, ad hoc collaborations, Citizen Science, dynamic transdisciplinary collaborations and so on. To reflect this change, we have come up with a new working definition of eScience:

eScience promotes innovation in collaborative, computationally- or data-intensive research across all disciplines, throughout the research lifecycle.

We hope that this captures quite concisely what we would like to focus on in Munich in 2015 and will be also useful complement to the formal CfPWe are also fairly certain that this definition will work as a starting point for lively discussions during the event (if not before on FaceBook and Twitter)!