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The Digging Into Data Challenge

The Digging into Data Challenge is an international grant competition sponsored by four leading research agencies, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) from the United Kingdom, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) from the United States, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) from Canada.

For more details: http://www.diggingintodata.org/

-- Joel Herndon

Open Access and Reuse of Research Data in Finland

In 2006, motivated by the OECD Open Access guidelines, the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) carried out an online survey targeting professors of human sciences, social sciences and behavioural sciences in Finnish universities. Professors were asked, for example, whether their department had any guidelines on the preservation of digital research data. A great and alarming majority (90%) said no. The survey also charted what actually happens to research data and what are the barriers to and benefits of open access to research data.

In 2006, motivated by the OECD Open Access guidelines, the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) carried out an online survey targeting professors of human sciences, social sciences and behavioural sciences in Finnish universities.

Professors were asked, for example, whether their department had any guidelines on the preservation of digital research data. A great and alarming majority (90%) said no.

What then happens to research data? Most common practise seems to be that the data remains in the hand of the original researcher(s). Even if the data are stored in the department or research insitute, no further processing nor documentation takes place. FSD's influence could be seen in social sciences, making archiving at a data archive a bit more frequent than in other sciences.

The survey also charted barriers to open access. Professors were concerned about inadvertent misuse of data and consequent mistakes. Of course, without detailed documentation, data reuse may indeed result in inaccurate interpretations. Lack of agreements regarding data ownership and IP rights were also mentioned as barriers, as well as loss of competitive advantage, IT problems, and confidentiality issues.

On the other hand, the professors saw many benefits in open access to research data. The most significant was enhancing the diversity of research designs with the use of archived data. All in all, the benefits were estimated to be more significant than the barriers. The survey also showed - not surprisingly - that it is usual to a researcher to have a positive attitude towards open access in general but a less-than-enthusiastic one to open access to his/her own data.

The report concludes that from the viewpoint of long-term preservation and reuse, it is definitely less recommendable to leave the responsibility for the preservation and dissemination of data to individual researchers. Changing this practice that still prevails in Finnish universities and other Finnish research organisations constitutes one of the key goals in the national implementation of the OECD Recommendation.

An abridged version of the report is available in English:
Arja Kuula & Sami Borg (2008). Open Access to and Reuse of Research Data - The State of the Art in Finland. University of Tampere. Finnish Social Science Data Archive; 7. ISBN: 978-951-44-7479-8.

Download the report as a PDF file.

The survey data is naturally available, too:
FSD2268 Open Access to and Reuse of Research Data 2006

Mari Kleemola
Finnish Social Science Data Archive
IASSIST European Regional Secretary

Data Scientists, Data Managers, Data Librarians, Oh My!

The Skills, Role and Career Structure of Data Scientists: An Assessment of Current Practice and Future Needs is a report prepared by Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown this summer for JISC in the UK.

The Skills, Role and Career Structure of Data Scientists: An Assessment of Current Practice and Future Needs is a report prepared by Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown this summer for JISC in the UK. more...

Canadian Research Data Strategy Working Group Established

Research Data Strategy Working Group Established http ://cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/media/press/rds_group_e.html, press release, August 12, 2008.

The research process generates huge amounts of data that are an important part of Canada's scholarly record and hold enormous potential as an additional discovery and problem-solving tool for researchers. Unfortunately, Canada has no nationally adopted standards or policies governing how this data is collected, catalogued, or preserved.

Research Data Strategy Working Group Established http ://cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/media/press/rds_group_e.html, press release, August 12, 2008.

The research process generates huge amounts of data that are an important part of Canada's scholarly record and hold enormous potential as an additional discovery and problem-solving tool for researchers. Unfortunately, Canada has no nationally adopted standards or policies governing how this data is collected, catalogued, or preserved.

A new collaborative effort is now underway to address the challenges surrounding the access and preservation of this data. The Research Data Strategy (RDS) Working Group http://data-donnees.gc.ca/eng/members.html is a multi-disciplinary group of universities, institutes, libraries, granting agencies, and individual researchers with a shared recognition of the pressing need to deal with Canadian data management issues.

Together, the Working Group is focusing on the necessary actions, next steps and leadership roles that researchers and institutions can take to ensure Canada's research data is accessible and usable for current and future generations of researchers.

To support this effort, the Working Group has launched the Research Data Canada Web site http ://data-donnees.gc.ca/eng/index.html as a tool to communicate with the broader community and to facilitate communication within and between three task groups, which have been formed to explore issues related to policies, funding and research; infrastructure and services; and capacity (skills, training, and reward systems).

The RDS Working Group will be convening a consultation around these issues at a future date to gather input and develop an action plan.

new IQ

The IASSIST Quarterly (IQ Vol. 31 issue 1 - 2007) is now available on the web:

 

http://iassistdata.org/publications/iq/iqvol31.html

The IASSIST Quarterly (IQ Vol. 31 issue 1 - 2007) is now available on the web:

 

http://iassistdata.org/publications/iq/iqvol31.html

  more...

IASSIST '08 Followup, Part 2: Restricted Data

Regardless of the institutional setting in which we work, more and more of us are having to address researcher access to restricted or confidential datasets.  This post focuses on sessions at Stanford that covered this important topic--or rather, group of topics because there are so many intersecting responsibilities to actually making such access a reality for our users. more...

The Petabyte Age

The June 23, 2008 issue of WIRED MAGAZINE (issue 16.07) has several stories about large datasets.

The Petabyte Age: Because More Isn't Just More -- More Is Different

IASSIST '08 Followup, Part 1: Try Aquifer!

Like everyone else, I've managed to catch up after being out of the office.  But IASSIST was worth every minute!  It was a pretty jampacked week, so I'm just getting around to blogging a few observations.

I allocated too few moments to visiting the poster sessions.  One that intrigued me was the Digital Library Federation's American Social History Online project, or Aquifer.  (Maybe it's the fact that I was a history major.)  Aquifer brings together fascinating resources from over 100 digital collections, all delivered right to your desktop: sheet music from the 19th century; a great photo of Teddy Roosevelt speaking to members of the National Negro Business League;  portraits of the Brooklyn Dodgers (remember them?);  a firsthand travel account of Scandinavia from 1863; U.S. political cartoons that make current caricatures look pretty tame.

Do check out Aquifer:  http://www.dlfaquifer.org/

Pam Baxter IASSIST U.S. Region Secretary

And so ends "The Best IASSIST ever"

And another conference has passed. It's so sad to think that it will be another year before we get together again but at least we can play virtually on our lists, this blog and maybe even in SecondLife! I'm still trying to round up more conference reports but in the meantime, here's the official conference song lyrics. Sing to the tune of The Band's song "The Weight" more...

Ready, Set, Go! IASSIST08 is in two worlds!

So I had the best intentions to blog the conference but alas I was distracted - creating my SecondLife avatar to be able to participate virtually as well as in reality was far more interesting than I want to admit!  My teenagers were appalled when they found out I was on Facebook - what will they say when I tell them about SusieQue!

 
  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect

    more...

  • Resources

    Resources

    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

  • community

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    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...