The challenge of research data

The curation of research data poses an interesting question for those contemplating the future of research libraries. It is another of these areas where a local response will co-evolve with developing systemwide responses, where the ‘system’ in qestion may be the parent institution, a disciplinary focus, a national research infrastructure, or a large scale multi-institutional research collaboration. Here are links to some recent document relevant to this issue:

  • Long-lived data collections: enabling research and education in the 21st Century [pdf]. This report from the National Science Board discusses issues arising from the need to better manage research data collections.
  • In a note to the Amercican-scientist-open-access-forum, Peter Murray-Rust discussed the importance of Open Data, and pointed to some documents of interest. One of these, a presentation to the JISC [Abstract and details, ppt], is a useful summary overvew. In it he argues for the research benefits of havng machine-understandable data available for others to use. He suggests that some open access advocates have not appreciated the benefits of having data openly available also.
  • Liz Lyon presented From research data to new knowledge: a lifecycle approach [ppt] at the CNI-JISC-SURF Conference, Amsterdam, May 2005. In this presentation she examines some of the characteristics of data collections, and some of the issues involved in curation and active use in different contexts.
  • The CISTI Strategic Plan 2005-2010 provides some high-level analysis of the changing nature of research and sholarly communication, noting in passing the need to manage research data. In discussion about the strategic directions of the British Library, another national institution facing some of the same issues as CISTI, Lynne Brindley mentions the importance of data sets for research [ppt].

Note: thanks to Richard Akerman for the link to the CISTI plan.