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Use with Caution: A Multi-disciplinary Analysis of Data Use and Access Conditions

Presenter 1
Tiffany Chao
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science

The rising expectations for public sharing of research data have triggered a greater awareness for describing and documenting data for potential use by a global community. For researchers, it is an opportunity to detail special notes, limitations, and conditions to facilitate appropriate reuse. This study examines what conditions for use and access of publicly available data are made visible through metadata description and how these limitations may differ across disciplines and data types. Content for analysis consists of data records from the Earth and social sciences, which are drawn from the Global Change Master Directory (, a public metadata repository for data. The comparative investigation not only brings forth prevalent issues associated with data within a domain research area, but also what commonalities may exist across fields and the types of data produced and used. The content of these use and access descriptions also serves as a point of comparison with findings in the literature from studies on domain-specific data practices and related perceptions. By bringing together these different perspectives, a more cohesive multi-disciplinary data landscape is developed that can inform curation support structures for the stewardship of research data.

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