The professionalization of cyberinfrastructure personnel?

Nicholas Berente, Stan Ahalt, James Bottum, Dana Brunson, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, James Howison, John Leslie King, Henry Neeman, John Towns, Nancy Wilkins-Diehr, Susan Winter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Cyberinfrastructure (CI) personnel are critical to next-generation scientific research. Although funding agencies and universities increasingly realize this, enabling resources do not grow as fast as the need for the CI skills and capabilities. There are two main issues with respect to CI personnel: CI personnel are scarce and cyberinfrastructure is different from traditional information technology (“IT”). A potential answer to these issues is to professionalize the CI field. In this article, we draw on organization science to argue that a strong form of professionalization does not make sense for the CI workforce. However, we do encourage the development of standardized roles for CI personnel, and we recommend starting with three such roles: system facing, software facing, and researcher facing CI roles. A credentialing effort around these three roles could strengthen the field as well. We conclude with a discussion of directions forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing
Subtitle of host publicationRise of the Machines (Learning), PEARC 2019
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450372275
StatePublished - Jul 28 2019
Event2019 Conference on Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing: Rise of the Machines (Learning), PEARC 2019 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Jul 28 2019Aug 1 2019

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference2019 Conference on Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing: Rise of the Machines (Learning), PEARC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Cyberinfrastructure Personnel
  • Occupation
  • Professionalization
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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