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Data Discussion Group at ALA Annual

A number of U.S. IASSISTers were at the recent American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.  This years program (finally!) featured a number of data related topics, including the third meeting of the Association of College & Research Libraries Numeric and Geospatial Data Interest Group (DIG).  Our discussion covered topics such as content management systems, data hosting, collection development for small data, and changing professional roles.  A full report of the meeting is available at  This group provides a great opportunity for IASSIST members working in U.S. libraries to meet up for open discussion while at ALA.  ACRL members can learn more about DIG here.

2012 Report from the Interest Group on Human Subjects Review Committees and Privacy and Confidentiality in Research

For those of you exploring issues of human subjects, privacy and confidentiality, this group may be of interest.  In the coming year we hope to put together some resources and guides for those working with confidential data or human subjects related work.  Please contact if you are "interested"!

Interest Group on Human Subjects Review Committees and Privacy and Confidentiality in Research
This group will focus on issues related to conducting research using human subjects in the social sciences. Particular areas of focus and discussion will include, but are not limited to the following:
· The role and function of the human subjects review board as social science research enters the digital age.
· The human subject review influences and effects on data management, dissemination, curation and preservation practices.
· Issues related to protection of human subjects laws and policies established in IASSIST member countries.
· Issues related to privacy and confidentiality of human subjects in research.
We will seek out and take advantage of opportunities for education, outreach and advocacy on subjects related to human subjects review committees, including proposing sessions with rele vant presentations at IASSIST conferences and creating web based resources and tools for members.
2011-2012 Chair: Libbie Stephenson,

2011-2012 report:  The Interest group has been largely inactive this past year; however two efforts are worthy of mention.  In the U.S. the Department of Health and Human Services circulated an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM): Human Subjects Research and Reducing Burden, Delay and Ambiguity for Investigators.  The research community was invited to comment.  Given time constraints it was decided that IASSIST (via email discussion with IASSIST AC members) would not make a formal statement; however individual members of IASSIST were encouraged to submit comments.  A link to the details on this effort is here: and contains directions to individual comments. The Interest Group would like to thank George Alter (DataPASS, ICPSR) Micah Altman (MIT) and Joann Juhnke for their support and collaboration on responses to this ANPRM.

A second activity involved a U.S. Office of Science and Technology Request for Information: Public Access to Digital Data Resulting from Federally Funded Scientific Research.  This RFI was broad in scope however, several of the questions were of a human subjects nature and again, IASSIST members were encouraged to submit responses and a number did so. Details on the RFI can be found here:  The Interest Group would like to thank George Alter (DataPASS, ICPSR) Micah Altman (MIT) for their support and collaboration on responses to this RFI.

The Interest Group would like to continue for another year and unless there is someone else who would like to become Chair, the current Chair is willing to continue in this role.  The Interest Group would welcome suggestions for further activities from the AC if any are forthcoming.

Respectfully submitted,
Libbie Stephenson, Chair

Data Citation Brochure published by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council


Just to let you all know that here at the Economic and Social Data Service in the UK we have been working with the ESRC on a brochure to encourage data citation amongst our social scientists and journal publishers.

In October 2011 we minted over 5000 DOIs for our ESDS Collection with Datacite, using a methodology we developed to deal with version changes to our data.  You can view our Webinar that explains how we do this. We have also spoken at various Datacite events.

We are currently sending out over 1000 brochures to all the major UK and key European social science publishers and professional societies in the UK.  View our brochure and feel free to borrow from it!

Louise Corti, ESDS

iassist 2012 conference song


My thanks to Vince Gray, Lisa Neidert, and Melanie Wright for help with the lyrics, Melanie for the great guitar accompaniment, and Melanie, Vince, and Kate McNeill for singing along (and thereby drowning out the sound of what passes for my singing voice :)

(Sung, sort of, to the tune of "America the beautiful")

It's 2012 in Washington,
We met for IASSIST;
Unfortunately we're all done,
But memories persist -
     We look forward to you;
     The meetings and the people
     Give us so much to do.

Meetings started Sunday
And all day Monday too;
Workshops took up Tuesday -
Evening reception too.
     Wednesday's plenary began
     Things in a proper way;
     Talks on research management,
     Pecha kuchas filled the day.

Thursday was a special day
Will lots of talks to view;
The boat cruise on a special night -
Eight presidents hove to.
     Wordles, wordles everywhere,
     And metadata too;
     Captain Carrot's data cows
     Make data folks say "mooooo".

On Friday things start winding down -
We all start going home.
The song starts getting written down -
The banner finds a new home.
     IASSISTers, please persist;
     We'll meet you all next year
     In 2013 in Cologne,
     We'll drink the better beer!

IASSIST Publishes a Quick Guide to Data Citation


The IASSIST Special Interest Group on Data Citation is very pleased to announce the publication of its Quick Guide to Data Citation!

These professionally-printed guides, provided by IASSIST, will be available at the IASSIST 2012 conference; come by the SIGDC poster to pick up your complimentary copies!

Learn more about printing or downloading more copies at

In other SIGDC news, Elizabeth Moss and Hailey Mooney will be taking over as co-chairs from Mary Vardigan and Michael Witt. As we head into our second year, thanks to everyone for their continued interest and participation in the group.

IASSIST 2012 - Registration Now Open


We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the IASSIST 2012 Conference!

IASSIST 2012 conference site:

Conference Theme: Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information

Dates: June 4th – 8th, Washington D.C. USA.

Register before May 1st to take advantage of special conference and workshops rates. Fees and other details are available at:

The theme “Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information” reflects the growing desire of research communities, government agencies and other organizations to build connections and benefit from the better use of data through practicing good management, dissemination and preservation techniques.

Information about the papers, panels, and other events can be found at:

The theme for IASSIST 2012 is also reflective of this year's host city and nation's capital: Washington, DC. The seat of many US government agencies, as well as major international institutions like the World Bank and IMF, Washington is an ideal backdrop for discussing the importance of data sharing and management or international best practices. The city is also known for its vibrant nightlife, emerging cultural scene, historical sites, and free museums (check out post- conference tours options!).

We look forward to welcoming you to Washington DC for the IASSIST 2012 Conference.

Results of Data Management Plan Poll

Those members who follow IASST-L may recall that about a month ago I launched an informal poll to find out whether or not your data management plan services include reading and reviewing draft plans. I had a total of 22 respondents with the following results:

Does your data management plan service include reading and reviewing draft plans?

  • 18% (4) - Yes, as a matter of  policy.
  • 36% (8) - Not a policy, but I have reviewed them in the past.
  • 36% (8) - Not a policy, but I'd seriously consider doing it.
  • 9% (2) - Not a policy but I most likely wouldn't do it.
  • 0% (0) - No, as a matter of policy.

Several repondents posted the following  comments. (All commenters identified themselves by name in the poll, but I'll keep their identities anonymous here, just in case.)

  • I coordinate development of the DCC's DMP Online data management planning tool. One of the functions we are adding for v3.0 (which is set to launch this Spring) is a facility to share read/write permissions with other users. We'll be very interested in seeing how popular this proves, as it will enable more collaborative development of DMPs by the researchers AND the research support staff, data librarians, IT people, etc who are also stakeholders in the data management endeavour.
  • We are on record as making the offer to help formulate and/or review DM plans. No written policy as yet, but it's something we're targetting as a service.
  • I've always offered this service in my dept. The LSE is currently looking at formalising a data management policy. One of the main aims of this is supporting researchers who need to make data available for reuse as part of their funding conditions. As part of this it is likely that some support for DMPs would be offered, but whether this would be generic, on-line tools, or one-to-one support has not been decided yet.
  • We offer this as an optional service had about 70 such reviews in our first year. We do have a caveat about the service on our website - see "limitations to services" on
  • The review is optional, not mandatory, and offered as an advertised service.
  • I have read through a few plans when people have asked me to but I don't edit them and have commented when asked directly but have concerns about doing that. I usually state what I can and cannot give advice on and refer to appropriate office on campus when necessary (e.g., technology transfer for IP issues). Fortunately, most of the comments have had to do with where to put their data at the end (which I guess is more of a question on where to archive things rather than reviewing the plans). Typically I refer people back to sources and examples to help support writing their plans. I just find that when researchers ask me to look at their plans, most of the time they are really asking me questions about specific details with data management and not so much with editing the plan. If they did want me to edit it I would say no.

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to respond. I'm sure many will find this information useful.

Harrison Dekker, UC Berkeley Data Lab

IASSIST Fellows application now closed

The application for IASSIST Fellows is now closed. Over 40 applications from 23 different countries have been received with the following number of applications by region:

  • 23 Latin America
  • 12 Africa
  • 6 Asia

The Fellows Committee is now working to evaluate the applications and will make the decisions in the following weeks. Good luck to all participants.

IASSIST 2012 Fellows Program

The IASSIST Fellows Program is now accepting applications for financial support to attend the IASSIST 2012 conference in Washington [], from data professionals from countries with emerging economies who are developing 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 the IASSIST Fellow award. Strong preference will be given to first time participants, and applicants from Latin-American countries. Only fully completed applications will be accepted. Applicants submitting a paper for the conference will be given priority consideration for funding.

 You may apply for funding via this form.

For more information, to apply for funding or nominate a person for a Fellowship, please send an email to the Fellows Committee chair, Luis Martínez-Uribe.


IASSIST Quarterly (2011: Fall)

Sharing data and building information

With this issue (volume 35-3, 2011) of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ) we return to the regular format of a collection of articles not within the same specialist subject area as we have seen in recent special issues of IQ. Naturally the three articles presented here are related to the IQ subject area in general, as in: assisting research with data, acquiring data from research, and making good use of the user community. This last topic could also be spelled “involvement”. The hope is that these articles will carry involvement to the IASSIST community, so that the gained knowledge can be shared and practised widely.

“Mind the gap” is a caveat to passengers on the London Underground. The authors of this article are Susan Noble, Celia Russell and Richard Wiseman, all affiliated with ESDS-International hosted by Mimas at the University of Manchester in the UK. The ESDS, standing for “Economic and Social Data Service”, are extending their reach beyond the UK. In the article “Mind the Gap: Global Data Sharing” they are looking into how today’s research on the important topics of climate change, economic crises, migration and health requires cross-national data sharing. Clearly these topics are international (e.g. the weather or air pollution does not stop at national borders), but the article discusses how existing barriers prevent global data sharing. The paper is based on a presentation in a session on “Sharing data: High Rewards, Formidable Barriers” at the IASSIST 2009 conference. It is demonstrated how even international data produced by intergovernmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency, OECD, the United Nations and the World Bank are often only available with an expensive subscription, presented in complex incomprehensible tables, through special interfaces; such barriers are making the international use of the data difficult. Because of missing metadata standards it is difficult to evaluate the quality of the dataset and to search for and locate the data resources required. The paper highlights the development of e-learning materials that can raise awareness and ease access to international data. In this case the example is e-learning for the “United Nations Millennium Development Goals”.

The second paper is also related to the sharing of data with an introduction to the international level. “The Research-Data-Centre in Research-Data-Centre Approach: A First Step Towards Decentralised International Data Sharing” is written by Stefan Bender and Jörg Heining from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, Germany. In order to preserve the confidentiality of single entities, access to complete datasets is often restricted to monitored on-site analysis. Although off-site access is facilitated in other countries, Germany has relied on on-site security. However, an opportunity has been presented where Research Data Centre sites are placed at Statistical Offices around Germany, and also at a Michigan centre for demography. The article contains historical information on approaches and developments in other countries and has a special focus on the German solution. The project will gain experience in the complex balance between confidentiality and analysis, and the differences between national laws.

The paper by Stuart Macdonald from EDINA in Scotland originated as a poster session at the IASSIST 2010 conference. The name of the paper is “AddressingHistory: a Web2.0 community engagement tool and API”. The community consists of members within and outside academia, as local history groups and genealogists are using the software to enhance and combine data from historical Scottish Post Office Directories with large-scale historical maps. The background and technical issues are presented in the paper, which also looks into issues and perspectives of user generated content. The “crowdsourcing” tool did successfully generate engagement and there are plans for further development, such as upload and attachment of photos of people, buildings, and landmarks to enrich the collection.

Articles for the IQ are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. If you don’t have anything to offer right now, then please prepare yourself for the next IASSIST conference and start planning for participation in a session there. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is much appreciated as the information in the form of an IQ issue reaches many more people than the session participants and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:

Authors can also contact me via e-mail: Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.


Karsten Boye Rasmussen

December 2011

  • 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


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