What problem does Source solve?
Source aims to answer the question: “how do I share data?”
We are building Source to make it trivially easy for data providers to make data products available on the Internet, define how open they want them to be, and even charge for them if they want to. By providing a common mechanism to share data products, Source will remove the redundancy burden of creating data sharing infrastructure that many data providers currently face.
For data users, Source aims to host a wide variety of data products from providers that they can trust.
Do we really need another open data portal?
Traditional approaches to data sharing have inherent limitations that limit the impact of data. For example, to assess and address the social impacts of climate change, stakeholders need access to a variety of data such as regional statistics, environmental observations, and climate models. These data are provided by disparate sources including governments, research institutions, commercial providers, and civil society organizations. This fractured approach to data sharing makes it too hard for decision-makers to access useful data, hampering collaboration and limiting informed decision making. In particular, large environmental datasets have traditionally only been available to institutions with large computing and storage infrastructure, putting them out of reach of underrepresented communities that are likely to be most impacted by climate change.
By lowering the cost of sharing data and creating a standardized mechanism for data providers to charge for access to data, we aim to create a larger, more diverse, and more dynamic market for data and data insight providers. Source will allow small regionally-focused environmental justice nonprofits to publish their data products adjacent to planetary-scale data products provided by NASA. A foundational tenet of our approach is that data users are also data producers. Traditional data sharing services have operated under a model where data providers (often government agencies) share data with data users (often university researchers and businesses), assuming a one-way transaction. The concept of a data lake is a reflection of this – a data lake is proposed as a single source of truth that others may draw from. We want to create a mechanism that will leverage shared data to produce a diverse variety of novel derived data products. Rather than a pristine data lake, a better metaphor for the vibrant ecosystem we want is a data rainforest.
What kind of data can be published on Source?
We are building Source specifically to build upon our expertise sharing large-scale Earth science data and machine learning models, but it will be able to accommodate any kind of data.
While data publishers will be able to share data products in any format, Source will provide additional functionality for data products that use commonly-used formats and metadata specifications such as STAC.
Why is it a cooperative?
Source’s model is to open up opportunities for data providers and to never compete with them. One way to think of it is as a cooperative utility that provides its members with the best service at the lowest possible cost. Because we are a non-profit, data publishers can use Source to publish data products without needing to worry about our assets being acquired by a commercial entity (or one of their competitors).
We are still developing our governance structure. If you have informed opinions about legal structures, trust law, and cooperative governance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much will it cost?
Thanks to agreements with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, we can offer a free tier of service for some data publishers who can provide cloud-optimized data made available under an open license. We will charge for data that is not openly available and for other features in the future.
What will happen to Radiant MLHub?
Radiant MLHub is still available and will be until the end of October 2023. All content currently in Radiant MLHub will be migrated to Source before this time.
How can I help?
We are currently seeking philanthropic capital to accelerate our development and make Source available to more researchers around the world. If you are interested in supporting development of Source Cooperative, please email us at email@example.com.