RIDIR: Collaborative Research: Developing and Deploying SKOPE - A Resource for Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments

Time Frame


Total Funding to Date



  • Bertram Ludäscher

Recent research has demonstrated that investigations of contemporary societal problems can benefit from the use of long-term environmental data and from comparisons with cases in which the interactions of human societies with their environments is well-documented over centuries. By providing easy access to time- and place-specific long-term environmental data, this project seeks to facilitate those efforts.  This project will develop SKOPE (Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments), a freely available Web site that will provide easy access to state-of-the-art measurements and reconstructions of long-term environmental data, such as rainfall, temperature, plant and animal distributions, streamflow, and soils.  Given a time period and a location, it will display the data graphically and will permit users to download the original high-resolution environmental data. By enabling scholars to easily discover, explore, visualize, and synthesize knowledge of environmental stability and change over centuries or millennia, SKOPE will empower reproducible research on the effects of climatic variation on human societies and the substantial impacts of humans on ancient and modern environments. It will also facilitate ongoing improvement of paleoenvironmental reconstructions. 

SKOPE addresses two critical challenges to contemporary science: increasing access to publicly funded research; and ensuring that scientific results are transparent and reproducible. SKOPE will enable users to easily discover, download, visualize, and explore many sources of paleoenvironmental data that resulted from publicly funded research that are now difficult (at best) to find and use. SKOPE will also provide robust support for reproducible scientific research. Datasets provided by SKOPE will be accompanied by a systematic, comprehensible record of their origin and computational derivation, giving researchers an unprecedented ability to understand how the data were obtained. 

Pueblo village


  • Timothy McPhillips (Co-PI, Illinois)
  • Keith Kintigh (PI, Arizona State University)
  • Ann Kinzig (Co-PI, Arizona State University)
  • Timothy Kohler (PI, Washington State University)
  • Kyle Bocinsky (Co-PI, Washington State University)

Funding Agencies

  • National Science Foundation, 2016 – $884,627.00