Summer tapestry of data citation research

Posted on June 17, 2010 by

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Photo credit: Clearly Ambiguous on Flickr

Properly attributing the use and reuse of research data is important.  We know it is important.  We — scientists and social scientists and information scientists — have written editorials and blogs and policies and research papers calling for consistent and comprehensive data reuse attribution.  We’ve developed, and continue to develop, standards to make data citation easier and more useful.  We’ve taken a few small looks into behaviour within disciplines and small communities, but, to my knowledge, there has not yet been a broad, systematic snapshot of current data citation behaviour.

The data citation DataONE summer interns are doing some ground-breaking work to fill this void.

Nic, Sarah, and Valerie are off and running:

  • Sarah Walker Judson is identifying data reuse citation practices across time, within a few specific Ecology and Evolution journals.
  • Valerie Enriquez is identifying data reuse citation practice across a wide range of journals, for data stored within a few chosen data repositories.
  • Nic Weber is collecting and categorizing data sharing and citation policies for the journals, funders, and repositories that Sarah and Valerie are studying.

While they are at it, Sarah is also collecting dataset creation and data sharing information, Valerie is refining data citation search methods, and Nic is looking into how the journal, funder, and repository policies have changed over time.

This is exciting stuff.  Individually, each of the three projects will give us insights into patterns and associations.  Combined, we hope they will tell a story of data attribution behaviour across time, subdiscipline, journal, funder, datatype, and repository.

We anticipate a variety of useful results:

  • estimates of the extent of data sharing and reuse in the peer-reviewed literature in Ecology and Evolution.
  • identified areas of data citation best practice, as well as areas with practice that would benefit from best-practice initiatives
  • methods for identifying data reuse, today, without waiting for culture change and new practices to be established
  • a baseline of behaviour for measuring future change

So stay tuned.  Keep an eye/RSS-reader on the blog and the Open Wet Ware site where we are posting our research notes.  And, if you can, please pick up some yarn and share your thoughts and ideas (and related research!) to help us weave something that truly facilitates the adoption of more efficient, effective, and transparent research.

ps For some of the editorials and blogs and policies and practices alluded to in the first paragraph, see our data citation resources page.  Let us know what we’ve missed?

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