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White Paper Urges New Approaches to Assure Access to Scientific Data

Press release posted on behalf of Mark Thompson-Kolar, ICPSR.

12/12/2013:  (Ann Arbor, MI)—More than two dozen data repositories serving the social, natural, and physical sciences today released a white paper recommending new approaches to funding sharing and preservation of scientific data. The document emphasizes the need for sustainable funding of domain repositories—data archives with ties to specific scientific communities.

“Sustaining Domain Repositories for Digital Data: A White Paper,” is an outcome of a meeting convened June 24-25, 2013, in Ann Arbor. The meeting, organized by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was attended by representatives of 22 data repositories from a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines.

Domain repositories accelerate intellectual discovery by facilitating data reuse and reproducibility. They leverage in-depth subject knowledge as well as expertise in data curation to make data accessible and meaningful to specific scientific communities. However, domain repositories face an uncertain financial future in the United States, as funding remains unpredictable and inadequate. Unlike our European competitors who support data archiving as necessary scientific infrastructure, the US does not assure the long-term viability of data archives.

“This white paper aims to start a conversation with funding agencies about how secure and sustainable funding can be provided for domain repositories,” said ICPSR Director George Alter. “We’re suggesting ways that modifications in US funding agencies’ policies can help domain repositories to achieve their mission.”

Five recommendations are offered to encourage data stewardship and support sustainable repositories: 

  •  Commit to sustaining institutions that assure the long-term preservation and viability of research data
  • Promote cooperation among funding agencies, universities, domain repositories, journals, and other stakeholders 
  •  Support the human and organizational infrastructure for data stewardship as well as the hardware
  •  Establish review criteria appropriate for data repositories
  • Incentivize Principal Investigators (PIs) to archive data

While a single funding model may not fit all disciplines, new approaches are urgently needed, the paper says.

“What’s really remarkable about this effort—the meeting and the resulting white paper—has been the consensus across disciplines from astronomy to archaeology to proteomics,” Alter said. “More than two dozen domain repositories from so many disciplines are saying the same thing: Data sharing can produce more science, but data stewards must know the needs of their scientific communities.”

This white paper is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the role of scientific domain repositories and their critical role in the advancement of science. It can be downloaded at http://datacommunity.icpsr.umich.edu

 

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), based in Ann Arbor, MI, is the largest archive of behavioral and social science research data in the world. It advances research by acquiring, curating, preserving, and distributing original research data. www.icpsr.umich.edu

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Established in 1934, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance. www.sloan.org

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IASSIST 2014 Conference Submission Deadline EXTENDED to December 20

By popular request (and due to the tight holiday schedule this year), the IASSIST 2014 Conference Programme Committee has extended the conference submission deadline!

Submissions for all formats are now due December 20, 2013.

Thank you for all of your submissions to date, we look forward to the review.

Please let us know if you have any questions - email.

Best,

Program Chairs

Jen Green
Johan Fihn
Chuck Humphrey

(And in case this is new to you...)

The theme of the conference  is "Aligning Data and Research Infrastructure" and the meeting will be held in Toronto, Canada 3-6 June 2014.  The conference program emphasizes three tracks:  Research Data Management, Professional Development, and Data Developers and Tools.  Participants may propose individual papers, complete sessions, poster/demonstrations, Pecha Kucha, roundtable discussions, and workshops.

Conference overview: http://www.library.yorku.ca/cms/iassist/
Call for Papers: http://www.library.yorku.ca/cms/iassist/call-for-papers/
Online submissions: http://staff.lib.muohio.edu/~sekyerk/iassist14/
Workshop proposals: email Workshop Coordinator Lynda Kellam

Please spread the word about the impending submission deadline and IASSIST's exciting 40th Anniversary conference!

IASSIST Fellows Program 2013-14

The IASSIST Fellows Program is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for financial support to attend the IASSIST 2014 conference in Toronto [http://www.library.yorku.ca/cms/iassist/], from data professionals who are developing, supporting and managing data infrastructures at their home institutions.

Please be aware that funding is not intended to cover the entire cost of attending the conference. The applicant’s home institution must provide some level of financial support to supplement an IASSIST Fellow award. Strong preference will be given to first time participants and applicants from those countries currently with insufficient representation at IASSIST. Only fully completed applications will be considered. Applicants submitting a paper for the conference will be given priority consideration for funding.

You may apply for funding via this form.The deadline for applications is the 31st of January 2014.

For more information, to apply for funding or nominate a person for a Fellowship, please send an email to the Fellows Committee chairs, Luis Martínez-Uribe (
lmartinez@march.es) and Stuart Macdonald (srm262@cornell.edu).

IASSIST 2014 Call for Papers

ALIGNING DATA AND RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE
IASSIST 2014 Annual Conference Call for Paper and Session Proposals

This year’s conference theme touches upon the international and interdisciplinary requirements of aligning data and research infrastructure. The 2013 OECD Global Science Forum report on New Data for Understanding the Human Condition identifies key challenges for international data collaboration that beg for new solutions. Among these challenges is the mounting pressure for new forms of social science data. In today’s abundance of personal data, new methods are being sought to combine traditional social science data (administrative, survey, and census data) with new forms of personal data (social networking, biomarkers or transaction data) or with data from other domains. Similarly, the need for open data, archiving, and long-term curation infrastructures has been identified for research data in the natural, physical, and life sciences. Funders in all areas are pushing to enable the replication and/or reuse of research data. What alignments are needed between data and research infrastructure to enable these possibilities?

The international research community is in the midst of building a global data ecosystem that consists of a mixture of domain data repositories, data archives, data libraries, and data services and that seeks ways to facilitate data discovery, integration, access, and preservation. Evidence of this transformation is found in the recently established ICSU World Data System and in the Research Data Alliance. Like IASSIST, these organisations are contributing to the development of a global data ecosystem. Alignment or unification of strategies must take place at many levels to achieve this. How do we proceed? What advancements are needed in research data management, research infrastructure, and the development of new expertise?

Conference Tracks

We welcome submissions on the theme outlined above and encourage conference participants to propose papers and sessions that will be of interest to a diverse audience. To facilitate the organisation and scheduling of sessions, three distinct tracks have been established. If you are unsure which track your submission belongs or you feel that it applies to more than one track, submit your proposal and if accepted, the Programme Committee will find an appropriate fit.

Track 1: Research Data Management

  • New data types and their management
  • Challenges in exchanging research data across disciplines
  • Using social science data with data from other domains
  • Data linkage in the creation of new social science data
  • Data management within the global research data ecosystem
  • Data archives and repositories in the global data ecosystem
  • Best practices in the global data ecosystem
  • Metadata enabling the interoperability of research data
  • Application of DDI, SDMX, other metadata schema, taxonomies or ontologies in research data management
  • Data management policies and workflow systems
  • Data attribution and citation systems

Track 2: Professional Development

  • Training challenges given the growing number of professional positions within the global data ecosystem, which includes data curators, data scientists, data librarians, data archivists, etc.
  • Teaching end-users to work with research data
  • Data and statistical literacy
  • Data collection development in libraries and other institutions
  • Explorations of data across subject areas and geographic regions
  • Copyright clearance, privacy and confidential data
  • Working with ethics review boards and research service offices
  • Interdisciplinarity – promoting the cross-use of data
  • Training researchers about research data management planning
  • Liaison librarians’ roles in research data

Track 3: Data Developers and Tools

  • New infrastructure requirements in the global data ecosystem
  • Infrastructure supporting Data Without Borders
  • Tools to develop and support new social science data
  • Crowdsourcing applications in producing new social science data
  • Data dives or hackathons
  • API development supporting research data management
  • Open data web services
  • Applications of research data visualisation in the social sciences
  • Preservation tools for research data
  • Tools for data mining
  • Data technology platforms: cloud computing and open stack storage
Conference Formats

The Programme Committee welcomes submissions employing any of the following formats:

Individual proposal
This format consists of a 15 to 20 minute talk that is typically accompanied with a written paper. If your individual proposal is accepted, you will be grouped into an appropriate session with similarly themed presentations.
Session proposal
Session proposals consist of an identified set of presenters and their topics. Such proposals can suggest a variety of formats, e.g. a set of three to four presentations, a discussion panel, a discussion with the audience, etc. If accepted, the person who proposed the session becomes the session organiser and is responsible for securing speakers/participants and a chair/moderator (if not standing in that role him/herself).
Pecha Kucha proposal
A proposal for this programme event consists of a presentation of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, with heavy emphasis on visual content. Presentations in this event are timed and speakers are restricted to seven minutes.
Poster or demonstrations proposal
Proposals in this category should identify the message being conveyed in a poster or the nature of the demonstration being made.
Round table discussion proposal
Round table discussions typically take place during lunch and have limited seating. Please indicate how you plan to share the output of your round table discussion with all of IASSIST.

Session formats are not limited to the ideas above and session organisers are welcome to suggest other formats.

All submissions should include the proposed title and an abstract no longer than 200 words (note: longer abstracts will be returned to be shortened before being considered). Please note that all presenters are required to register and pay the registration fee for the conference. Registration for individual days will be available.

Please use this online submission form to submit your proposal. If you are unsure which track your submission fits or if you feel it belongs in more than one track, the Program Committee will find an appropriate place.

We also welcome workshop proposals around the same themes. Successful proposals will blend lecture and active learning techniques. The conference planning committee will provide the necessary classroom space and computing supplies for workshops. For previous examples of IASSIST workshops, please see the descriptions of 2011 workshops and 2013 workshops. Typically workshops are half-day with 2-hour and 3-hour options.

  • Deadline for submission: December 9, 2013 (2013.12.09)
  • Notification of acceptance: February 7, 2014 (2014.02.07).
Program Chairs
  • Johan Fihn
  • Jen Green
  • Chuck Humphrey

re3data.org and OpenAIRE sign MoU during Open Access Week; new re3data.org features

Last month, OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe) and re3data.org signed a Memorandum of Agreement to “work jointly to facilitate research data registration, discovery, access and re-use” in support of open science.  OpenAIRE is an infrastructure for open access that works to track and measure research output (originally designed to monitor EU funding activities).  re3data.org is an online listing of research data repositories.

re3data.org and OpenAIRE will exchange metadata in order for OpenAIRE to “integrate data repositories indexed in the re3data.org registry and in turn return information about usage statistics for datasets and inferred links between data and publications.”

For more information, see the OpenAIRE press release on the MoU.

In addition, re3data.org is now mentioned in Nature's Scientific data's deposition policy, which encourages the registration of repositories with the service, as well as a collaboration with BioSharing.

In addition, re3data.org has made other recent enhancements, including:

Now users can browse re3data.org repositories by:

  1. subject
  2. content type
  3. country

Furthermore, a re-designed the repository record now groups information into the categories of: general, institutions, terms, and standards.  They have added many more repositories in the past few months, so check it out!

Announcing the Release of the CRDCN Dataset Builder

The Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) is pleased to announce the release of the CRDCN Dataset Builder.

In collaboration with Statistics Canada and Metadata Technology North America, the Dataset Builder allows researchers working (or intending to work) in a Canadian RDC the ability to browse, search for and select variables in the Statistics Canada surveys currently housed in the RDCs. 

Utilizing DDI Lifecycle metadata, the Dataset Builder allows researchers to find and select variables, as well as produce SAS, SPSS or Stata syntax to help read in and format the variables, and produce customized documentation (Layout and Codebooks) for the dataset they create using the app. 

 A one-page installation, setup and use guide can be found at this link, with a link to more descriptive documentation if necessary: https://docs.google.com/document/d/135Eq2fwVRtlMdENpQjmZe5Zjm1OFGImCxtyWeV_7sdI [docs.google.com]

The application is open-source software, so please contact Metadata Technology NA if you're interested in contracting them to customize this application for your own organization.

Please contact Dave Haans (dave.haans@utoronto.ca) for more information.

Scientific Data Repositories Issue Call for Change on Funding Models for Data Archives

For Immediate Release
September 16, 2013
Contact: Mark Thompson-Kolar, 734-615-7904
mdmtk@umich.edu

(Ann Arbor, MI) — Representatives of 25 organizations that archive scientific data today released a Call for Action urging the creation of sustainable funding streams for domain repositories — data archives with close ties to scientific communities.

The document was developed after a meeting of data repositories across the social and natural sciences June 24-25, 2013, in Ann Arbor. The meeting was organized by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to discuss challenges facing domain repositories, particularly in light of the February 2013 memorandum from the U.S. Government’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) requiring public access to federally funded data.

Domain repositories in the natural and social sciences are built upon close relationships to the scientific communities that they service. By leveraging in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, domain repositories add value to the stored data beyond merely preserving the bits. As a result, repositories contribute to scientific discovery while ensuring that data curation methods keep pace as science evolves. “However, the systems currently in place for funding repositories in the US are inadequate for these tasks,” the document states.

The Call for Action argues that “Domain repositories must be funded as the essential piece of the US research infrastructure that they are,” emphasizing the importance of:

•    Ensuring funding streams that are long-term, uninterrupted and flexible
•    Creating systems that promote good scientific practice
•    Assuring equity in participation and access

The document expresses concerns regarding current and future funding models in consideration of the OSTP rules. “The push toward open access, while creating more equity of access for the community of users, creates more of a burden for domain repositories because it narrows their funding possibilities.”

“We are memory institutions,” ICPSR Director George Alter said. “One of our missions is to ensure data will be available for a long time, yet we’re being funded by short-term grants. There is a mismatch between our mission and the way we are funded. Widening access to data is a good thing. Everyone agrees on that. But it has to be done in a way that provides sustainable funding to the organizations that preserve and distribute the data.”

Repositories may require varied funding models, based on their scientific domain, the document states. “But in every case, creating sustainable funding streams will require the coordinated response of multiple stakeholders in the scientific, archival, academic, funding, and policy communities.”

The statement is endorsed by 30 domain repository representatives. It can be viewed on the ICPSR’s website at http://tinyurl.com/dataarchives.

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), based in Ann Arbor, MI, is the largest archive of behavioral and social science research data in the world. It advances research by acquiring, curating, preserving, and distributing original research data. www.icpsr.umich.edu

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York. Established in 1934, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance. www.sloan.org

Posted by request to the editor, in line with IASSIST members' interests.

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together

I'm just in the process of updating who we follow from our @iassistdata twitter account (we follow members who follow us - when I get round to updating things, sorry).

Given the huge* number of followers we now have, (595, thank you one and all) I thought it would be interesting to see what we looked like according to our twitter bios.

No surprises: we define ourselves as data people or organisations, in terms of "research", "librarian" (and library related terms), "social" "science", "digital", "information", and "universities". It suggests people following us are the type of people that should be following us given the organisation's goals, and hopefully are getting some value from following @iassistdata.

*Obviously a subjective assessment when Justin Beiber has 44,625,042.

 @iassistdata twitter follower bios

Finding Historical Economic Data through FRASER and ALFRED

The North Carolina Library Association's Government Resources Section had an excellent webinar yesterday on finding historical (or vintage) economic data using FRASER and ALFRED.  The recording and slides are available to everyone. Enjoy!

Sharing data: good for science, good for you

See video

DANS has published a video to promote storing and sharing data within the research community. The video is available in Dutch and English, and shown on the DANS Youtube channel. The title of the English video is 'Sharing data: good for science, good for you': http://youtu.be/HJbo-OAaJ1I

"Scientific research produces data. The lifetime of these data varies greatly. Stored on a hard disk or USB stick they are likely to be lost in the near future together with the storage medium. Luckily, there is another, more sustainable option, which benefits science.

In this video Dutch historian Martijn Kleppe (Erasmus University Rotterdam) explains why he opened up his big photo database for other researchers to use, and quantitative data analyst Manfred te Grotenhuis (Radboud University Nijmegen) speaks about the treasures in data archives that are waiting to be discovered by researchers.

Both scientists made use of the online archiving system EASY from DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services) in the Netherlands. As an institute of KNAW and NWO, DANS promotes sustained access to digital research data."

Feedback is welcome.

Marion Wittenberg

  • 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...

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    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...

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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...