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Partner Highlight: Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies

About: The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is a research institute dedicated to advancing the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the world’s ninth-largest body of water, the Gulf of Mexico. Established in 2001, HRI integrates outstanding scientific research with public policy to provide international leadership in generating and disseminating knowledge about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and its critical role in the economies of the North American region. Organized around its unique “Harte Model,” the institute encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between its nine specialty research areas to employ a holistic approach in addressing large-scale ecosystem problems, and recognizes that people and the environment are inexorably linked in their solution.

Project Spotlight: GRIIDC
GRIIDC is one of many information systems developed at HRI, and is a multidisciplinary data repository that stores and shares data generated by Gulf of Mexico researchers. The GRIIDC team consists of data specialists, software engineers, researchers, and subject matter experts who are supporting the development of a data management system to store and share scientific data. GRIIDC’s mission is to ensure a data and information legacy that promotes continual scientific discovery and public awareness about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

BP committed $500 million over a 10-year period to fund an independent research program to study the effects of the spill on the environment and public health in the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident. This program, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), was established by a Master Research Agreement between BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The agreement included requirements that all data collected or generated must be made available to the public. GRIIDC is the means through which GoMRI is fulfilling this mandate.

GRIIDC stores data from diverse fields of study, including biology, chemistry, physical oceanography, sociology, political science, and public health. Each dataset in the GRIIDC system is assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which can be used to cite datasets. Datasets are also linked to associated publications, which increases the transparency of data production and creates a system of recognition and reward to the data producers as a citable contribution to the scientific community. All data and corresponding metadata are available for download in the GRIIDC system free of charge and through a Creative Commons 0 license.

The GRIIDC system integrates data management planning and dataset submission procedures that help researchers plan and organize data collection activities. To date, GRIIDC has a little over 2,500 datasets from over 2,700 local and international researchers participating in the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative program. GRIIDC has expanded its functions to also accommodate data from other efforts in the Gulf. Most recently, GRIIDC started to house data from Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE), Texas OneGulf Center of Excellence, Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program (FLRACEP), and data from the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine.

Why HRI Participates in ESIP: HRI participates in ESIP to remain abreast of the latest technology in information and data science in the community. ESIP also provides the avenue to network and exchange ideas with like-minded scientists and researchers.

Quick Facts:
ESIP Member Type: III
Joined ESIP: 2018
ESIP Voting Rep: James Gibeaut, PhD