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The Community for Data Integration (CDI) has been funding short-term data projects annually since 2010 and is interested in maximizing the sustainability and accessibility of the project outputs. However, there are no commonly accepted practices to measure sustainability and accessibility of project deliverables for Earth science data projects. Building on the work from other disciplines addressing sustainability of projects, we developed a framework for evaluating sustainability. Our framework has seven sustainability influences, and three ways of defining sustainability, at the individual-, organization-, and community-level. Using this framework, we evaluated outputs of projects funded by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Community for Data Integration. We found that the various outputs are widely accessible, but not necessarily sustained or maintained. Projects with the highest in the number of sustainability influences we examined often became institutionalized and met a required need of the community. Even if proposed outputs were not delivered or sustained, knowledge of lessons learned could be spread, building community capacity in a topic, which is another type of sustainability. We conclude by summarizing lessons about maximizing sustainability of projects for individuals applying for short-term funding and for organizations running programs that provide such funding.

Science Support Framework Category: Communities of Practice

Author(s): Leslie Hsu (, Vivian Hutchison (, Madison Langseth ( - USGS Science Analytics and Synthesis


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