December 2, 2020

Geoscience Data Group Urges All Scientific Disciplines to Make Data Open and Accessible

From the American Geophysical Union:

Institutions, science funders, data repositories, publishers, researchers and scientific societies from all scientific disciplines must work together to ensure all scientific data are easy to find, access and use, according to a new commentary in Nature by members of the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee.

The Enabling FAIR Data project, convened by AGU and funded by Arnold Ventures, brought together hundreds of partners from across the geoscience community to make geoscience data more open and accessible. The scientific data underlying published studies is often difficult to find and access, potentially hindering new scientific research, according to Shelley Stall, senior director of data leadership at AGU and program manager for the project.

The Enabling FAIR Data project worked over 18 months to adopt a set of principles to ensure data connected to scholarly publications are FAIR — findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. More than 100 repositories, communities, societies, institutions, infrastructures, individuals and publishers in the Earth, space and environmental sciences have already signed onto the Enabling FAIR Data Commitment Statement for handling data based on these principles.

In the new commentary in the journal Nature, the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee is calling on the entire scientific community across all scientific disciplines to sign onto this commitment statement. The group also lays out a set of changes necessary to shift research culture more broadly.

“This paper lays out three primary areas where we need help to change the culture around research data – making depositing data in repositories a priority, recognizing and incentivizing open data practices, and funding global infrastructure to support open data.” said Stall, lead author of the new commentary. “We are saying to every single science community out there, let’s work together to coordinate efforts.”

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Supporting data for only about 20 percent of published papers are available in scientific repositories where they can be easily accessed and used. The rest of these data are scattered with varying levels of management, curation and openness. Data are often left sitting on a researcher’s computer or stored on old disks or on paper. Limited funding and support for support for sharing and curating data have added to the challenges.

Direct to Complete Announcement

Direct to Full Text Article: “Make Scientific Data FAIR” (via Nature)
Approx 1400 words.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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