Science Mesh in a Nutshell

What is Science Mesh

Science Mesh is an infrastructure of independent data storage sites providing sync-and-share services. It is a loose federation allowing users of the sites to share and transfer data among the sites and to access applications running in the infrastructure without prior detailed knowledge of technical details like which systems their colleagues use and what are their user identities in them.

The sites independently operate Enterprise File Synchronisation and Sharing (EFSS) systems. In order for the systems to share data, they use the Open Cloud Mesh protocol and CS3 API. The protocol and the API handle accessing and exchanging data, but they solve neither discovery of user identites nor establishing trust between EFSS systems, that are necessary to make such a sharing practical for the administrators and the users.

Those two main layers are therefore added by the Science Mesh:

  • the Science Mesh is an infrastructure with metadata describing its sites and services (so that adding a site does not require configuring all other sites in the infrastructure individually)
  • handling user identities is quite hidden from the users who may use any standard way of textual communication such as e-mails or instant messaging to establish trust with their colleagues to share data with them, i.e. by sending user-friendly invitations.

The Science Mesh is an instance of such a federation.

Who is Eligible to Join the Science Mesh

The Science Mesh is agnostic what type of data and user community is served by a particular site, be it large or small, academic or otherwise. On the other hand, certain minimal requirements both in policies as well as quality of service are set for the sites to operate within the infrastructure in order to achieve good quality of service for the users as a whole. Those requirements in practice limit the sites to ones operated professionally by an institution or by an ((inter)national) e-infrastructure.

It is not to say that a tiny EFSS instance run by a small faculty department is not allowed to join the infrastructure, but the overhead of doing so would not be reasonable. The infrastructure is open to everybody complying with the requirements.

Regardless of the fact the infrastructure is open, it is always up to a particular site what type of operations will be accepted by the site and permitted to site’s users.

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