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135 (25 pp.)


The exploitation of potential societal benefits of Earth observations is hampered by users having to engage in often tedious processes to discover data and extract information and knowledge. A concept is introduced for a transition from the current perception of data as passive objects (DPO) to a new perception of data as active subjects (DAS). This transition would greatly increase data usage and exploitation, and support the extraction of knowledge from data products. Enabling the data subjects to actively reach out to potential users would revolutionize data dissemination and sharing and facilitate collaboration in user communities. The three core elements of the transformative DAS concept are: (1) "intelligent semantic data agents" (ISDAs) that have the capabilities to communicate with their human and digital environment. Each ISDA provides a voice to the data product it represents. It has comprehensive knowledge of the represented product including quality, uncertainties, access conditions, previous uses, user feedbacks, etc., and it can engage in transactions with users. (2) A knowledge base that constructs extensive graphs presenting a comprehensive picture of communities of people, applications, models, tools, and resources and provides tools for the analysis of these graphs. (3) An interaction platform that links the ISDAs to the human environment and facilitates transaction including discovery of products, access to products and derived knowledge, modifications and use of products, and the exchange of feedback on the usage. This platform documents the transactions in a secure way maintaining full provenance.


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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Original Publication Citation

Plag, H. P., & Jules-Plag, S. A. (2019). A transformative concept: From data being passive objects to data being active subjects. Data, 4(4), 135. doi:10.3390/data4040135


0000-0003-0909-4501 (Plag), 0000-0003-4342-2126 (Jules-Plag)