Report: NISO Conference on Scientific Data Management

By Allan Barclay, Information Architecture Librarian at Ebling Library

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) held a virtual conference, “Scientific Data Management: Caring for Your Institution and its Intellectual Wealth” on February 18. A variety of data management projects and academic organizations were represented, including the US Department of Energy, Emory University, Tufts University, Oregon State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Force 11, the Center for Open Science and the RMap project. The web page for the event (including slide decks) is still available at the NISO website. Some highlights include:

The DART Project

A research project using data management plans (DMPs) from successful grant applications, the end product is a rubric for the review of future DMPs prior to submission. It can also help a institution identify gaps in research data management services. The rubric should be available for release later this year.

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Force 11

Force 11 is “a grass roots community that developed out of beyond-the-PDF conferences.” They address issues such as data access and reuse, transparency in research, data citation, and attribution for the different roles and outputs in the research process. They host at least a dozen different forums for the discussion or creation of better standards and practices in research communications and e-scholarship.

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Center for Open Science

The Center for Open Science is a non-profit technology start-up company working on a free, open source application called the Open Science Framework – a set of tools focused on transparency and reproducibility in the research workflow. Features include file sharing, provenance tracking, persistent URLs, automated versioning and API connections to common data storage providers including Figshare, GitHub, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Dataverse.

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RMap Project

RMap is a two year project that started with discussions between the Data Conservancy community at Johns Hopkins, Portico and the IEEE. The idea behind the project is that the “atomic unit” of scholarly research is a complex distributed object with building blocks of text, graphics, data, and more which resides in different locations at different institutions using different technologies. Not only do the different artifacts themselves need to be preserved, the links between them also need to be preserved. The RMap project hopes to create a framework and tools to facilitate this process, sort of like an operating system for a repository of scholarly research activities.

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DoE Proposes First Plan for Expanded Public Access of Research

DOE Seal graphic
For University of Wisconsin researchers who rely on Department of Energy federal grants, the other shoe has dropped. To be precise, the DoE’s “shoe” or plan to increase access to the works and data of its federally-funded investigators is one of approximately thirteen plans many federal agencies will likely be announcing in the next several weeks. In February 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo (known as the OSTP memo) that required all agencies that fund over $100 million in research annually to create a plan to allow greater public access to its’ researchers’ work and data after a 12 month embargo period. The Washington Post’s recent article on the announcement indicates that this particular plan is not without its detractors.

RDS will be covering the release of all OSTP Memo plans as they are announced.

WordCAKE Tool Workshop Friday 4/25


Please join us tomorrow, Friday, April 25, 1:00 in Memorial Library Commons (4th floor) for a workshop covering the collaborative development and features/use of the WordCAKE tool (link for download will be distributed to participants).  WordCAKE offers an interactive 3D experience for exploring how word frequencies change over sequential texts.

We encourage participants to bring laptops and try out the tool following the introductory presentation.

WordCAKE is a plugin for a free 3D modeling application, SketchUp, so please begin by downloading the latest version here:

The WordCAKE plugin can be downloaded here:

In SketchUp, click “Preferences” then select “Extensions” click the button to “Install Extensions” and select the WordCAKE plugin

A link to the manual with more detailed install instructions:

A sample files folder (note file naming conventions):

Word selection tool overview video:

University College London Offers Free Digital Curation MOOC


Starting on May 5, the University College London will be offering a free 8-week, online course on digital curation. The introductory class will cover the development of digital curation along with the main models currently being utilized, as well as a review of the skills and competencies needed to succeed in the field. For more information on the course or to register:

Genetics Data in the Classroom Roundtable Today


The Institute for Biology Education will be hosting a roundtable on working with students and their data as part of the Biology Instruction Series. The session is expected to discuss how students use genetics data in the classroom and explore ways that instructors can incorporate disciplinary uses of data in their courses. The session is scheduled for:

Monday, April 14, 2014
4:00-5:00 PM
1360 Genetics/Biotechnology Center
Refreshments will be served

For more information, contact Alan Wolf at alanwolf(AT)

Scientific Data Lost to Poor Archiving

A recent article from Library Journal highlights a critical problem in research data management:

“Hundreds of new pieces of scientific research are published every month, in fields from physics to biology. While the studies themselves are assiduously archived by publishers, the underlying data researchers analyze to come to their published conclusions can be another story. A recent study in the journal Current Biology found that the data that forms the backbone of those studies becomes less and less accessible to researchers over the years. That lack of archiving, says University of British Columbia zoologist Tim Vines, represents a missed opportunity for the scientific community as a whole.”

The article referenced is The Availability of Research Data Declines Rapidly with Article Age.