arrowCIRSS Home arrow Publications arrow Publication Detail

Advancing Site-Based Data Curation for Geobiology: The Yellowstone Exemplar

Full APA Reference

Palmer, C. L., Fouke, B. W., Rodman, A., & Choudhury, G. S. (2013, December). Advancing Site-Based Data Curation for Geobiology: The Yellowstone Exemplar. Presentation at the 46th annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA.

Publication Abstract

While advances in the management and archiving of scientific digital data are proceeding apace, there is an urgent need for data curation services to collect and provide access to high-value data fit for reuse. The Site-Based Data Curation (SBDC) project is establishing a framework of guidelines and processes for the curation of research data generated at scientifically significant sites. The project is a collaboration among information scientists, geobiologists, data archiving experts, and resource managers at Yellowstone National Park (YNP). Based on our previous work with the Data Conservancy on indicators of value for research data, several factors made YNP an optimal site for developing the SBDC framework, including unique environmental conditions, a permitting process for data collection, and opportunities for geo-located longitudinal data and multiple data sources for triangulation and context. Stakeholder analysis is informing the SBDC requirements, through engagement with geologists, geochemists, and microbiologists conducting research at YNP and personnel from the Yellowstone Center for Resources and other YNP units. To date, results include data value indicators specific to site-based research, minimum and optimal parameters for data description and metadata, and a strategy for organizing data around sampling events. New value indicators identified by the scientists include ease of access to park locations for verification and correction of data, and stable environmental conditions important for controlling variables. Researchers see high potential for data aggregated from the many individual investigators conducting permitted research at YNP, however reuse is clearly contingent on detailed and consistent sampling records. Major applications of SBDC include identifying connections in dynamic systems, spatial temporal synthesis, analyzing variability within and across geological features, tracking site evolution, assessing anomalies, and greater awareness of complementary research and opportunities for collaboration. Moreover, making evident the range of available YNP data will inform what should be explored next, even beyond YNP.Like funding agencies and policy makers, YNP researchers and resource managers are invested in data curation for strategic purposes related to the big picture and efficiency of science. For the scientists, YNP represents an ideal, protected natural system that can serve as an indicator of world events, and SBDC provides the ability to ask and answer broader research questions and leverage an extensive store of highly applicable data. SBDC affords YNP improved coordination and transparency of data collection activities, and easier identification of trends and connections across projects. SBDC capabilities that support broader inquiry and better coordination of scientific effort have clear implications for data curation at other research intensive sites, and may also inform how data systems can provide strategic assistance to science more generally.