Using Peer Review to Support Development of Community Resources for Research Data Management

Authors : Heather Soyka, Amber Budden, Viv Hutchison, David Bloom, Jonah Duckles, Amy Hodge, Matthew S. Mayernik, Timothée Poisot, Shannon Rauch, Gail Steinhart, Leah Wasser, Amanda L. Whitmire, Stephanie Wright

Objective

To ensure that resources designed to teach skills and best practices for scientific research data sharing and management are useful, the maintainers of those materials need to evaluate and update them to ensure their accuracy, currency, and quality.

This paper advances the use and process of outside peer review for community resources in addressing ongoing accuracy, quality, and currency issues. It further describes the next step of moving the updated materials to an online collaborative community platform for future iterative review in order to build upon mechanisms for open science, ongoing iteration, participation, and transparent community engagement.

Setting

Research data management resources were developed in support of the DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth) project, which has deployed a sustainable, long-term network to ensure the preservation and access to multi-scale, multi-discipline, and multi-national environmental and biological science data (Michener et al. 2012).

Created by members of the Community Engagement and Education (CEE) Working Group in 2011-2012, the freely available Educational Modules included three complementary components (slides, handouts, and exercises) that were designed to be adaptable for use in classrooms as well as for research data management training.

Methods

Because the modules were initially created and launched in 2011-2012, the current members of the (renamed) Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Working Group were concerned that the materials could be and / or quickly become outdated and should be reviewed for accuracy, currency, and quality.

In November 2015, the Working Group developed an evaluation rubric for use by outside reviewers. Review criteria were developed based on surveys and usage scenarios from previous DataONE projects.

Peer reviewers were selected from the DataONE community network for their expertise in the areas covered by one of the 11 educational modules. Reviewers were contacted in March 2016, and were asked to volunteer to complete their evaluations online within one month of the request, by using a customized Google form.

Results

For the 11 modules, 22 completed reviews were received by April 2016 from outside experts. Comments on all three components of each module (slides, handouts, and exercises) were compiled and evaluated by the postdoctoral fellow attached to the CEO Working Group.

These reviews contributed to the full evaluation and revision by members of the Working Group of all educational modules in September 2016. This review process, as well as the potential lack of funding for ongoing maintenance by Working Group members or paid staff, provoked the group to transform the modules to a more stable, non-proprietary format, and move them to an online open repository hosting platform, GitHub.

These decisions were made to foster sustainability, community engagement, version control, and transparency.

Conclusion

Outside peer review of the modules by experts in the field was beneficial for highlighting areas of weakness or overlap in the education modules. The modules were initially created in 2011-2012 by an earlier iteration of the Working Group, and updates were needed due to the constant evolving practices in the field.

Because the review process was lengthy (approximately one year) comparative to the rate of innovations in data management practices, the Working Group discussed other options that would allow community members to make updates available more quickly.

The intent of migrating the modules to an online collaborative platform (GitHub) is to allow for iterative updates and ongoing outside review, and to provide further transparency about accuracy, currency, and quality in the spirit of open science and collaboration.

Documentation about this project may be useful for others trying to develop and maintain educational resources for engagement and outreach, particularly in communities and spaces where information changes quickly, and open platforms are already in common use.

URL : Using Peer Review to Support Development of Community Resources for Research Data Management

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2017.1114

Recommended versus Certified Repositories: Mind the Gap

Authors : Sean Edward Husen, Zoë G. de Wilde, Anita de Waard, Helena Cousijn

Researchers are increasingly required to make research data publicly available in data repositories. Although several organisations propose criteria to recommend and evaluate the quality of data repositories, there is no consensus of what constitutes a good data repository.

In this paper, we investigate, first, which data repositories are recommended by various stakeholders (publishers, funders, and community organizations) and second, which repositories are certified by a number of organisations.

We then compare these two lists of repositories, and the criteria for recommendation and certification. We find that criteria used by organisations recommending and certifying repositories are similar, although the certification criteria are generally more detailed.

We distil the lists of criteria into seven main categories: “Mission”, “Community/Recognition”, “Legal and Contractual Compliance”, “Access/Accessibility”, “Technical Structure/Interface”, “Retrievability” and “Preservation”.

Although the criteria are similar, the lists of repositories that are recommended by the various agencies are very different. Out of all of the recommended repositories, less than 6% obtained certification.

As certification is becoming more important, steps should be taken to decrease this gap between recommended and certified repositories, and ensure that certification standards become applicable, and applied, to the repositories which researchers are currently using.

URL : Recommended versus Certified Repositories: Mind the Gap

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-042

What do data curators care about? Data quality, user trust, and the data reuse plan

Author : Frank Andreas Sposito

Data curation is often defined as the practice of maintaining, preserving, and enhancing research data for long-term value and reusability. The role of data reuse in the data curation lifecycle is critical: increased reuse is the core justification for the often sizable expenditures necessary to build data management infrastructures and user services.

Yet recent studies have shown that data are being shared and reused through open data repositories at much lower levels than expected. These studies underscore a fundamental and often overlooked challenge in research data management that invites deeper examination of the roles and responsibilities of data curators.

This presentation will identify key barriers to data reuse, data quality and user trust, and propose a framework for implementing reuser-centric strategies to increase data reuse.

Using the concept of a « data reuse plan » it will highlight repository-based approaches to improve data quality and user trust, and address critical areas for innovation for data curators working in the absence of repository support.

URL : What do data curators care about? Data quality, user trust, and the data reuse plan

Alternative location : http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1797

 

Scientific data from and for the citizen

Authors : Sven Schade, Chrisa Tsinaraki, Elena Roglia

Powered by advances of technology, today’s Citizen Science projects cover a wide range of thematic areas and are carried out from local to global levels. This wealth of activities creates an abundance of data, for example, in the forms of observations submitted by mobile phones; readings of low-cost sensors; or more general information about peoples’ activities.

The management and possible sharing of this data has become a research topic in its own right. We conducted a survey in the summer of 2015 in order to collectively analyze the state of play in Citizen Science.

This paper summarizes our main findings related to data access, standardization and data preservation. We provide examples of good practices in each of these areas and outline actions to address identified challenges.

URL : http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/7842

Understanding Perspectives on Sharing Neutron Data at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Authors : Devan Ray Donaldson, Shawn Martin, Thomas Proffen

Even though the importance of sharing data is frequently discussed, data sharing appears to be limited to a few fields, and practices within those fields are not well understood. This study examines perspectives on sharing neutron data collected at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s neutron sources.

Operation at user facilities has traditionally focused on making data accessible to those who create them. The recent emphasis on open data is shifting the focus to ensure that the data produced are reusable by others.

This mixed methods research study included a series of surveys and focus group interviews in which 13 data consumers, data managers, and data producers answered questions about their perspectives on sharing neutron data.

Data consumers reported interest in reusing neutron data for comparison/verification of results against their own measurements and testing new theories using existing data. They also stressed the importance of establishing context for data, including how data are produced, how samples are prepared, units of measurement, and how temperatures are determined.

Data managers expressed reservations about reusing others’ data because they were not always sure if they could trust whether the people responsible for interpreting data did so correctly.

Data producers described concerns about their data being misused, competing with other users, and over-reliance on data producers to understand data. We present the Consumers Managers Producers (CMP) Model for understanding the interplay of each group regarding data sharing.

We conclude with policy and system recommendations and discuss directions for future research.

URL : Understanding Perspectives on Sharing Neutron Data at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-035

Research Data Management in Research Institutions in Zimbabwe

Authors : Josiline Chigwada, Blessing Chiparausha, Justice Kasiroori

The research was aimed at evaluating how research data are being managed in research institutions in Zimbabwe. The study also sought to assess the challenges that are faced in research data management by research institutions in Zimbabwe.

Twenty five institutions of higher learning and other organisations that deal with research were selected using purposive sampling to participate in the study.

An online questionnaire on SurveyMonkey was sent to the selected participants and telephone interviews were done to follow up on participants who failed to respond on time. Data that were collected using interviews were entered manually into SurveyMonkey for easy analysis.

It was found out that proper research data management is not being done. Researchers were managing their own research data. Most of the research data were in textual and spreadsheet format. Graphical, audio, video, database, structured text formats and software applications research data were also available.

Lack of guidelines on good practice, inadequate human resources, technological obsolescence, insecure infrastructure, use of different vocabulary between librarians and researchers, inadequate financial resources, absence of research data management policies and lack of support by institutional authorities and researchers negatively impacted on research data management.

Authors recommend the establishment of research data repositories and use of existing research data repositories that are registered with the Registry of Research Data Repositories to ensure that research data standards are adhered to when doing research.

URL : Research Data Management in Research Institutions in Zimbabwe

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-031

 

An Analysis of Federal Policy on Public Access to Scientific Research Data

Authors : Adam Kriesberg, Kerry Huller, Ricardo Punzalan, Cynthia Parr

The 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memo on federally-funded research directed agencies with research and development budgets above $100 million to develop and release plans to increase and broaden access to research results, both published literature and data.

The agency responses have generated discussion and interest but are yet to be analyzed and compared. In this paper, we examine how 19 federal agencies responded to the memo, written by John Holdren, on issues of scientific data and the extent of their compliance to the directives outlined in the memo.

We present a varied picture of the readiness of federal science agencies to comply with the memo through a comparative analysis and close reading of the contents of these responses.

While some agencies, particularly those with a long history of supporting and conducting science, scored well, other responses indicate that some agencies have only taken a few steps towards implementing policies that comply with the memo.

These results are of interest to the data curation community as they reveal how different agencies across the federal government approach their responsibilities for research data management, and how new policies and requirements might continue to affect scientists and research communities.

URL : An Analysis of Federal Policy on Public Access to Scientific Research Data

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-027