For the next five days, Feb. 13-17, the University of Oregon Libraries joins more than 60 other institutions in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia celebrating Love Your Data Week, an international event to help researchers take better care of their data.
Check out the Research Data Management Blog every day this week; UO librarians will share tips, resources and stories. UO students and faculty members are encouraged to join the conversation on Twitter — #LYD #loveyourdata — and share insights on Instagram or Facebook.
#LYD WEEK 2017 (February 13-17)
UO Libraries Research Data Management Blog (Go here for daily content)Monday
Defining data quality – Know your data quality
What is data quality and how can we distinguish between good and bad data? How are the issues of data quality being addressed in various disciplines?Tuesday
Documenting, describing and defining data
How will people know they can trust your data and reuse it? The secret is good documentation.Wednesday
Good data examples
What makes data good? Good data are FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable.Thursday
Finding the right data
Need to find the right data? Better have a clear question and know about quality data sources.Friday
Rescuing unloved data
Has any of your data been recorded by hand (field notes, lab notebooks, handwritten transcripts, measurements or ledgers) or using outdated technology or proprietary formats? If so, it is at risk.
Now in its second year, Love Your Data Week is an annual social media event coordinated by research data specialists from academic libraries, research libraries, and data archives and centers worldwide. “We believe research data are the foundation of the scholarly record and crucial for advancing our knowledge of the world around us,” the group states on its website.
“Data management is growing in importance as research in nearly every field becomes increasingly reliant on data,” said Brian Westra, the Lorry I. Lokey Science Data Services Librarian with UO Libraries. “Good practices for managing, describing and sharing that data help speed the progress of research and enable collaboration. Data management also plays a role in providing the public with access to the outcomes and products of publicly funded projects.”
For many researchers, engagement with data issues increased substantially in 2011, when the National Science Foundation began requiring data management plans for nearly all research funding. However, librarians report that awareness of data management remains inconsistent across the various disciplines, and research data practices have continued to evolve so rapidly that many in the academic community struggle to keep up.
Librarian for Data Initiatives Jonathan Cain notes that even those with professional expertise in this area still have much to learn.
“Librarians have hundreds of years of experience dealing with paper," he said. "So we know that materials on paper are going to be safe if we follow well-established procedures. But working with data in an electronic environment, we’re not always so sure.”
Cain also believes that information technology, while creating an exceptionally data-rich environment, may also play a role in promoting unmindful attitudes in regard to that data.
“Frankly,” he said, “the amount of labor involved in producing work digitally makes people think of digital material as both infinite and ephemeral, so it’s easy to think that we don’t have to worry about preserving it. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the Love Your Data campaign is designed to address these issues.”
Love Your Data Week will provide valuable, practical information about research data management and library-based research data services. Each day will have a message to drive the conversation, and the libraries will share resources, tips, examples and stories — of both success and horror — to help people share, preserve, reuse and protect data.
“Many of the steps that researchers can take to improve data management are not overly complex,” Westra said. “Our research data services team at the UO Libraries is happy to offer in-person consultations on data management plans for students and faculty in any discipline. We want to connect researchers to the data services and infrastructure that are available on campus and beyond.”