Good data management essential

Gepubliceerd op
30 maart 2014

In the report ‘Embedded data scientist’, Frits van Evert and Hugo Besemer, both from Wageningen UR (University and Research centre), argue in favour of a standard format for describing datasets. A consistent policy regarding the choice of location and storage media is required in order to prevent a situation where only the researchers themselves know where the data is stored and how it should be interpreted.

Research completed. Report disseminated or publication accepted. The data is subsequently stored in a folder on the computer or network drive, or on a DVD. Only the author knows where, and only the author knows how to read and weigh the data.

Organisation of and access to research data

This might, or perhaps must, be changed. This was the motive for Wageningen UR Library to examine what prevents researchers from managing data in a durable fashion that also makes it accessible to third parties. Frits van Evert, researcher at Plant Research International and ‘data cruncher’, has spent much time examining existing and new possibilities for organising data and making it accessible. The library asked him to approach his colleagues as an ‘embedded scientist’ and to question them about the opportunities and obstacles involved in data management.

Recommendations and tools for datasets

In the ‘Embedded data scientist’ report, Frits van Evert, together with Hugo Besemer from Wageningen UR Library, describe their findings and come up with several recommendations. They argue in favour of such things as a standard format for describing the datasets, for example using ‘Linked Open Data technology’, and providing researchers with the necessary training and tools for this. With regard to datasets, it is also necessary to make a clear distinction between storage during use (storing), archiving and the conditions for archive storage (depositing), for which suitable agreements must be made and measures taken.

Consistent policy on data management

The authors conclude that a consistent policy must be made with regard to choosing a location for data storage and for the referral system (quotation system) for the data sets for publications. A method must also be established for respecting or guaranteeing intellectual property rights and for placing data sets under embargo.