The GEOSS solution for enabling data interoperability and integrative research
data sharing, Interoperability
Global sustainability research requires an integrative research effort underpinned by digital infrastructures (systems) able to harness data and heterogeneous information across disciplines. Digital data and information sharing across systems and applications is achieved by implementing interoperability: a property of a product or system to work with other products or systems, present or future. There are at least three main interoperability challenges a digital infrastructure must address: technological, semantic, and organizational. In recent years, important international programs and initiatives are focusing on such an ambitious objective. This manuscript presents and combines the studies and the experiences carried out by three relevant projects, focusing on the heavy metal domain: Global Mercury Observation System, Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), and INSPIRE. This research work recognized a valuable interoperability service bus (i.e., a set of standards models, interfaces, and good practices) proposed to characterize the integrative research cyber-infrastructure of the heavy metal research community. In the paper, the GEOSS common infrastructure is discussed implementing a multidisciplinary and participatory research infrastructure, introducing a possible roadmap for the heavy metal pollution research community to join GEOSS as a new Group on Earth Observation community of practice and develop a research infrastructure for carrying out integrative research in its specific domain.