Open Access Week: Data Management and Sharing

OA Week Today I’m blogging from UMass Amherst, where I came to attend three events being held as part of Open Access Week. I just came from the second event, which was a focus group with grad students on their data management needs. Data management is of increasing interest on university campuses — researchers are generating more data than ever before, and while we’re able to store more information in smaller physical spaces, it still seems like a challenge to keep up with the demand for more space. What I learned from the students at this session is that different disciplines have their own ways of managing data, and methods for doing so might differ between grad students and their advisors within a single lab or research group. They want their data to be accessible from anywhere in the world, and many find their current arrangements for managing and sharing data to be unsatisfactory. (E-mailing data to themselves or each other or transferring data on USB sticks is common.) And yes — they want more! space! One grad student estimated that his lab produces multiple terabytes of data on a weekly basis. Students are also concerned about the NSF’s new requirement that a data management plan be included in grant applications. And they would love someone to come and consult with their departments on data management. Many of them would be happy to share their raw data with other researchers. Does any of this sound familiar? Do you have other, different concerns about your data? At Snell, we are very interested in talking with you and your research colleagues, whether you are students or faculty. Attending this focus group really emphasized to me that we need to begin reaching out to researchers on campus to learn what your needs are. Feel free to get in touch with me about your data management concerns!