Thursday, 3 December 2009

IDCC 09: Panel Discussion - UK/US Perspectives

To contrast and conclude the morning plenary sessions, the four speakers formed a panel to accept questions from the audience.

Q: Anne Trefethen was asked to explain more about Blog3.
A: Anne's colleagues have been using it and it will be launched next week at the All Hands meeting.

Q: How is user-centric design being used in other areas? (aside from Neuro Hub)
A: Carole Palmer explained that their work does involve requirements based work, whilst William Michener explained that DataONE engaged users from the beginning from different research centers, each of which also does its own work in their centers to establish the needs of their users. Mark Birkin explained how they have identified three different types of users – emphasising how diverse the groups of users can be – and highlighted the use of social networking tools to harvest user views directly.

Q: What perspectives do the panel have as to whether data curation is still a pioneering activity and what level of maturity is there among researchers?
A: Trefethen noted that whilst some researchers are mature in their understanding of data management, but there are groups who are surprised by the requirement for curation commitments in the funding bids. She explained that an understanding needs to be nurtured across disciplines, not just individual disciplines. Palmer explained that in terms of preservation, they see people lining up at the door, whilst the data sharing side is not so practiced (although there are people very keen philosophically). Bad experiences have fed into this. Michener noted that there has been a dis-service done by failing to educate young scientists with good data practice as part of doing science, so there is a lot of re-educating to be done. Birkin has a different perspective, as he is doing secondary analysis of well preserved primary data sources. However, there is not the same level of practice about the secondary analysis of data in his field, which can led to researchers having to reinvent methods.

Q: Are there plans to be able to cite the data that's being used?
A: Michener is looking at a data citation model that will rely on digital object identifiers to give scientists as much credit as possible for not just their publications, but also their data. It is key to cite the data as a specific object, as the data can lead to multiple publications. The other three panellists agreed that this is part of their projects, at different levels of priority.


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