Tina knows she doesn’t know much about data management but always has more pressing priorities to handle and so hasn’t been able to make much time to learn. However, she is becoming worried that the project data may be lost if her ad hoc funding sources are not renewed or are compromised. She is also interested in data sharing with other organizations and researchers who can use the Weed Watchers data for larger studies, though she does not have contacts beyond Oregon State to use the data. She feels it’s very important to make sure the data are put to scientific use, as this is part of her commitment to the project participants, and also a way to fulfill MNC’s mission.
Tina is only vaguely aware of data repositories, and because academic publication is not a priority, there is little internal pressure to ensure data management standards are met. However, in meetings with her partners from Oregon State, she has realized that this is a point of concern for both project credibility and the potential of the data to be used for conservation research, part of MNC’s mission. She is not sure how to ensure that the data that are collected by her volunteers are interoperable with other data sources, whether her protocols align with those used by other groups, and never has time to seek out relationships for developing ongoing partnerships, although she knows this is an important aspect for long-term project sustainability.
Tina’s volunteers collect data which do get used by Oregon State researchers and local land managers. She does all of the data review herself using Excel spreadsheets. She has never tried to document the database with metadata, and in fact does not know what metadata means. While she is aware that there are data repositories for this type of data, she has no idea how to figure out where she could have her data archived and shared. Currently, the data is backed up weekly to an organizational backup drive, and she also stores it in Dropbox. She does not currently work on data discovery, integration, or analysis, but hopes to support others who can do so by providing quality data.