New Report From Ithaka S+R: “Sustaining Scientific Data Sharing Communities Findings from an Incubation Workshop”
The sharing of research data is essential to open science, and major funders have made significant investments in building an infrastructure of domain and generalist data repositories to support data sharing. While barriers to data sharing remain a challenge, many communities of researchers actively and voluntarily share and reuse data to advance science in areas of mutual interest. Understanding the successes and challenges these “data communities” face is important to providing support for their evolving needs as they grow, and provides insights into the critical role of cultural and social infrastructures in broader efforts to encourage widespread data sharing.
With generous funding from the National Science Foundation, Ithaka S+R and the Data Curation Network organized “Leveraging Data Communities to Advance Open Science,” a multi-day incubation workshop to explore and advance voluntary data sharing in STEM fields. Today, we publish our findings from that workshop, which brought together 40 researchers from 14 cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional research teams, and 14 information professionals for conversation about challenges associated with the building and sustaining an active community of users.
Three key findings from the workshop will be of interest to funders, publishers, researchers, and institutions advocating for open sharing of scientific data:
- Data communities have distinct support needs at different points in their life cycle, but all data communities will benefit from treating their social infrastructure as a vital ingredient in successful data sharing efforts.
- Bringing together researchers from radically different disciplines and dedicated information professionals for conversations about data sharing challenges can provide opportunities to discern strategies for data sharing that cut across disciplines and fields.
- Domain repositories offer unique advantages for promoting social and cultural aspects of data sharing. However, both domain and generalist repositories will benefit from greater connections across platforms that will advance discoverability.
Our report emphasizes the value that data communities provide to their users and as engines for promoting the growth of data sharing across disciplines, and highlights the importance of domain repositories within the data infrastructure. The report concludes with actionable recommendations for researchers, information professionals, universities, funders, and generalist repositories.
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by Dylan Ruediger, Ruby MacDougall, Danielle Cooper, Jake Carlson, Joel Herndon, Lisa Johnston
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.