Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

Introducing a tool for calculating the costs of Standard Observations at eLTER sites

8 March 2024

An innovative tool is being developed by a collaborative team from the University of Helsinki and UFZ, including Allan T. Souza, Steffen Zacharias, Syed Alam, Terhi Rasilo, and Jaana Bäck, to efficiently calculate the costs associated with Standard Observations (SOs) at eLTER sites. This is an exciting new development for the eLTER community as it represents a significant step forward in enhancing the precision and efficiency of environmental research management.

This tool, crafted using R Shiny, a powerful web application framework, is a testament to the collaborative spirit and technical expertise within our community. It addresses a critical need by providing a user-friendly interface for researchers and administrators to accurately estimate the costs involved in maintaining and operating eLTER sites. Users can select various parameters such as the site category, habitat location, and spheres of specialisation (specifically for category 1 sites), tailoring the cost calculation to their unique site characteristics.

A notable feature of this tool is its flexibility. Recognizing that certain SOs might be covered by other means, such as co-location with other Research Infrastructures (RIs), the tool allows for the exclusion of these SOs from the cost calculations. This feature ensures that the estimates provided are both precise and relevant to the specific needs and configurations of each eLTER site.

However, the journey to perfect this tool is ongoing. The development team is currently tackling challenges related to fine-tuning the cost calculations, including computing yearly costs and enhancing the tool's user friendliness.

Water measurements at the LTER-France site OZCAR-RI Aurade Catchment. Copyright: eLTER