By Nell Campbell
Data are the underpinning of science. Their careful collection, curation, and analysis forms a foundation of the scientific process, allowing hypotheses to be tested and scientific ideas to advance. However data management can be an unruly animal. It requires careful consideration and support that, for greatest effect, must extend from the collection of each individual measurement all the way through open access of curated datasets. This has been termed the ‘data lifecycle’. Most scientists are familiar with the early stages of this lifecycle- determining what measurements need to be taken, taking them, analyzing the resulting dataset, etc. However to many scientists, the later stages to making scientific data openly available can seem like a grand mystery or a black hole.
Nicole Kaplan has spent the last several months tackling this challenge. To quote from her upcoming first post in this series, she draws from “experience with curating several datasets from the Shortgrass Steppe Long-Term Ecological Research Project (SGS-LTER) and the Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (ACADIS).” As a part of this curation process she has been working with the CSU library to figure out where these datasets will find their final, permanent, citable home.
Several months ago she came to EcoPress with the proposal of a series of blog posts to disseminate what she has learned to the broader science community, both within and outside of NREL. She started with a post on a digital curation conference she attended earlier this year, which can be found here.
We are very pleased to roll out this series through the summer and into the fall. We hope that it will be a useful resource for scientists to both understand the full data lifecycle and improve their data management practices. We also encourage scientists to attend seminars periodically provided on this topic, one of which is occurring TODAY in NESB A302 at 10am. Hope to see you there!