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Make Data Count: Building a System to Support Recognition of Data as a First Class Research Output

Thursday, May 18, 2017



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The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has made a 2-year, $747K award to DataONE, the California Digital Library and DataCite to support collection of usage and citation metrics for data objects. Building on pilot work funded by the National Science Foundation, this award will result in the launch of a new service that will collate and expose data level metrics.

The impact of research has traditionally been measured by citations to journal publications: journal articles are the currency of scholarly research. However, scholarly research is made up of a much larger and richer set of outputs beyond traditional publications, including research data. In order to track and report the reach of research data, methods for collecting metrics on complex research data are needed. In this way, data can receive the same credit and recognition that is assigned to journal articles.

“Recognition of data as valuable output from the research process is increasing and this project will greatly enhance awareness around the value of data and enable researchers to gain credit for the creation and publication of data” - Ed Pentz, Crossref.

This project will work with the community to create a clear set of guidelines on how to define data usage. In addition, the project will develop a central hub for the collection of data level metrics. These metrics will include data views, downloads, citations, saves, social media mentions, and will be exposed through customized user interfaces deployed at partner organizations. Working in an open source environment, and including extensive user experience testing and community engagement, the products of this project will be available to data repositories, libraries and other organizations to deploy within their own environment, serving their communities of data authors.

“The ability to highlight data metrics across a range of different use cases will be a significant enhancement and a great benefit to the user community” says Dr Amber Budden, Director for Community Engagement and Outreach at DataONE and co-investigator on the award. “Data authors will be able to track metrics for reporting to funders and institutions and data repositories will have more comprehensive information on community use of their holdings.”

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Example client display showing data level metrics from the MDC service within a DataONE profile page.

Are you working in the data metrics space? Let’s collaborate.
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About the Partners
DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth) is an NSF DataNet project which is developing a distributed framework and sustainable cyberinfrastructure that meets the needs of science and society for open, persistent, robust, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data.

California Digital Library was founded by the University of California in 1997 to take advantage of emerging technologies that were transforming the way digital information was being published and accessed. University of California Curation Center (UC3), one of four main programs within the CDL, helps researchers and the UC libraries manage, preserve, and provide access to their important digital assets as well as developing tools and services that serve the community throughout the research and data life cycles.

DataCite is a leading global non-profit organization that provides persistent identifiers (DOIs) for research data. Our goal is to help the research community locate, identify, and cite research data with confidence. Through collaboration, DataCite supports researchers by helping them to find, identify, and cite research data; data centres by providing persistent identifiers, workflows and standards; and journal publishers by enabling research articles to be linked to the underlying data/objects.