The nature of gateways introduces many challenges for creating a successful project.
Often, gateway creators have just a few years' worth of funding to produce a gateway. Because gateways are developed for many different disciplines, those creators are isolated from others doing the same work and may not be aware of best practices or existing technologies. In some cases, the majority of the work is done as part of a PhD thesis. This time pressure and isolation produces a steep learning curve on the creator’s side and may introduce a gap for sustaining the science gateway after the project funding or PhD student's work ends.
While they are likely very knowledgeable about their academic domain, gateway creators may not be familiar with the many important aspects of creating good gateways, which include:
- Web and backend development as well as software engineering practices
- Integration of instruments, sensors, shared computational resources, or data repositories
- Efficient job, data, and workflow management
- Parallelization of applications employing parallel and distributed architectures
- Designing intuitive user interfaces
- Security features
- Business or sustainability planning
- Finding and engaging an audience of users
Some campuses even have campus-based gateway development groups that support multiple projects on campus so that individual projects don't have to locate and fund all the necessary staff for creating a gateway.