Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Public Comment on Access to Federally Supported Research and Development Data and Publications

In response to both the recent OSTP memorandum and the proposed bill (FASTR) that call for increased public access to data and publications resulting from federally funded research, a group of cooperating agencies and the National Research Council have organized two planning meetings held May 14-17 to gather stakeholder input (also included are "brief introductory addresses by a select few experts and summarizing commentary by equally few rapporteurs").

Two meetings will be held, one focused on publications (May 14-15) and the other on data (May 16-17). The public is invited to attend in person (at the National Academy of Sciences in DC) or via webcast, but registration is required. Attendees may also request time to present a verbal or written statement.

Sponsoring Agencies:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Technical Information Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Department of Defense
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of the Interior
United States Geological Survey
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
Institute of Museum and Library Services
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Science Foundation
Smithsonian Institution

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thomson Reuters' Web of Science Presents: The Data Citation Index!

Last October, Web of Science (WoS) launched a new service known as the Data Citation Index (DCI). It allows users to track and discover data from tons of research projects. The DCI covers info for datasets from multidisciplinary and international repositories, and is housed within the WoS we already know and love. Researchers comfortable looking up papers in WoS can find related datasets, or vice versa. Collocating research data and papers is great step toward making datasets more discoverable.

Data discoverability through the DCI is good for researchers and librarians. Tracking citations of datasets gives researchers better and more consistent context of work relevant to their own. That enlarges their scope of understanding, reach of influence, and reduces the chances of performing redundant research. By tossing tons of data citations in together, the DCI also creates a context of metadata and attribution facets used for datasets. That helps data librarians create better data management plans for their repositories.

Citation tracking is a great thing for data management, but some crinkles still need to be smoothed out. An evaluative report by the University of Minnesota on their trial of the DCI highlighted some pros and cons. The metadata for different but apparently similar datasets contained equally ambiguous terms, for example. That musses up the sense of proper context and standardization the DCI intends to provide. Datasets themselves, however, are eminently discoverable thanks to WoS’s preexisting search and results refinement functions.

The DCI is notable step for data management and exposes some of its major challenges, such as: reining in variation between metadata, aggregating interdisciplinary repositories, and discoverability.

Guest Bloggers

You will see a few new names attached to the blog posts in the near future.  Jenny and I have opened up blog posts to interested bloggers from the University of Washington iSchool.  The first such post will be by Tal Noznisky posting a review on the Data Citation Index by Thomson Reuters.  Welcome, Tal!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Global Health Data Exchange Updates

The Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) has announced a relaunch with enhanced navigation and additional features, including improved navigation, background information on countries, data series, and organizations. The advanced search allows users to search specific queries by geography, time, data type, keyword, and data source. Data can also be sorted on whether the actual research data is publicly and freely available. An announcement about the new features in version 2 is available online.

In addition, search results can now be sorted by the year that data collection started, and can be easily exported. Geographies now have a time component to reflect historical changes to country names or boundaries over (e.g., the Soviet Union).

Launched in March 2011 by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the GHDx is the world’s largest catalog and repository of health-related data. It currently contains more than 8000 records with carefully researched information about data, including a standardized English title, local-language title, geography and time covered by the data, a suggested citation and information about current data providers. In addition, detailed keywords provide information about the topics that are covered by the data. Many datasets can be downloaded directly from the GHDx.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Library "Reboot" in Nature

The current issue of Nature (Volume 495 Number 7442) is focused on changes in publishing; one article in particular highlights some of the current challenges to academic libraries, and what some organizations are doing to both remain at the University's core of research, as well as transform the way they deliver and store information.

"Publishing Frontiers: The Library Reboot" shares examples from some US, Australian and UK libraries. It covers how some libraries are focused on offering non-traditional ways to use and visualize the data and information housed by the library. It also discusses research data management, and how many libraries around the world either have or are planning to offer RDM to their campuses, in part as an extension of the information storage and retrieval that libraries have always been doing, and in part to stay central to the academic research mission. “I see us moving up the food chain and being co-contributors to the creation of new knowledge,” says Sarah Thomas, the head of libraries at the University of Oxford, UK.