Dash: Data Sharing Made Easy at the University of California
Scholars at the ten campuses of the University of California system, like their academic peers elsewhere, increasingly are being asked to ensure that data resulting from their research and teaching activities are subject to effective long-term management, public discovery, and retrieval. The new academic imperative for research data management (RDM) stems from mandates from public and private funding agencies, pre-publication requirements, institutional policies, and evolving norms of scholarly discourse. In order to meet these new obligations, scholars need access to appropriate disciplinary and institutional tools, services, and guidance. When providing help in these areas, it is important that service providers recognize the disparity in scholarly familiarity with data curation concepts and practices. While the UC Curation Center (UC3) at the California Digital Library supports a growing roster of innovative curation services for University use, most were intended originally to meet the needs of institutional information professionals, such as librarians, archivists, and curators. In order to address the new curation concerns of individual scholars, UC3 realized that it needed to deploy new systems and services optimized for stakeholders with widely divergent experiences, expertise, and expectations. This led to the development of Dash, an online data publication service making campus data sharing easy. While Dash gives the appearance of being a full-fledged repository, in actuality it is only a lightweight overlay layer that sits on top of standards-compliant repositories, such as UC3’s existing Merritt curation repository. The Dash service offers intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces for dataset submission, description, publication, and discovery. By imposing minimal prescriptive eligibility and submission requirements; automating and hiding the mechanical details of DOI assignment, data packaging, and repository deposit; and featuring a streamlined, self-service user experience that can be integrated easily into scholarly workflows, Dash is an important new service offering with which UC scholars can meet their RDM obligations.
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