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September 08, 2009

NAS committee on data preservation

A committee organized by the National Academy of Sciences recently published a book entitled "Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age." The UM's Provost Teresa Sullivan was a member of the committee.

The grist of the (free) Executive Summary is that the preservation of data and documentation behind peer-reviewed literature is the responsibility of the authors and the affiliated institutions. Many of the challenges the Summary broaches are faced by the Biological Station and it brings up the question of how far-reaching our data management practices should be.

For example, the Flathead Lake Biological Station archives everything behind the research process (data, field notebooks, computer code, paper drafts, etc) whereas the current UMBS modus operandi is to archive the underlying data and the methods behind the data. In other words, our responsibilities extend to the data collected at the Biological Station, not to the analysis and interpretation of data that rounds out a peer-reviewed publication.

Do we have a responsibility to go further? Do researchers have a responsibility to pursue data preservation just as they pursue funding to conduct studies? Or, is it the responsibility of peer-reviewed journals to implement much of this process?

Posted by kkwaiser at September 8, 2009 11:33 AM

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