September 21st, 2011
Long hidden behind journal articles and under thousands of lines of processing code, data have finally been getting their day in the sun. Long recognized as an important resource to centralize in the social sciences (Happy 50th Birthday ICPSR!), discussions about the new roles and possibilities for data in modern research have been going on at high levels for years. However, it has been only recently that data issues have been recognized by individual researchers and even the broader public.
The holders of the research funding purse strings have been showing more and more interest in the bits and bytes of data as well. Since the NSF announced the requirement of a Data Management Plan submission with every proposal to the agency on January 18, 2011, funders have been quickly re-writing policies and upping the ante on researchers. Soon after the NSF policy was implemented, the directorates themselves added more specific requirements on to the general guidelines. For instance the Ocean Sciences division of GEO states that, data must be submitted to an approved repository “no later than 2 years after the data are collected.” Rumors are swirling that NOAA will soon be trumping even this tight timeline by requiring “all environmental data created using NOAA grant funding must be shared no later than 90 days after the end date of the project (at the same time the final project report is due).”
The trend at this point seems clear - labs will be under more and more pressure to share and preserve their data, and standardize their documentation. The Stanford University Libraries are in the early stages of growing a Data Services program on campus….How can we help you?