A Snap-Shot of User Support Services In Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF): A Use Case Of Climate Cyber-Infrastructures
Authors: Hashim Iqbal Chunpir, Thomas Ludwig, Amgad Badewi
Abstract: Cyber-infrastructures have changed the process of research. Researchers can now access distributed data from all parts of the world with the help of cyber-infrastructures. User support services play an important role to facilitate researchers to accomplish their research goals with the help of cyber-infrastructures. However, the current user-support practices in cyber-infrastructures are being followed on intuitive basis (at least in climate e-infrastructures) thus over-burdening cyber-infrastructure employees. The main contribution of this paper is to present the snap-shot of the current user support practices in a cyber-infrastructure of a climate science known as Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF). ESGF is a leading distributed peer-to-peer (P2P) data-grid system in Earth System Modelling (ESM) having around 2700 users distributed worldwide. The questionnaire conducted with the climate cyber-infrastructure projects’ employees presents the picture of the current user support situation by highlighting their profile, utilization of various communication media, user-request service time, attributes of incoming user problems and information requests. The respondents of the questionnaire were 26 support staffs of cyber-infrastructure projects, from different parts of the world. The paper then presents the critique of the current user support process in ESGF and finally emphasizes on the need to streamline user-support in cyber-infrastructures.
Keywords: Cyber-infrastructures, Climate Science Data-driven Research Projects, User Support, Help Desk, Service Desk, Human Systems Integration, Service Engineering, Globalization, Service as a Process
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