DataShare: Empowering Researcher Data Curation

Stephen Abrams, Patricia Cruse, Carly Strasser, Perry Willet, Geoffrey Boushey, Julia Kochi, Megan Laurance, Angela Rizk-Jackson


Researchers are increasingly being asked to ensure that all products of research activity – not just traditional publications – are preserved and made widely available for study and reuse as a precondition for publication or grant funding, or to conform to disciplinary best practices. In order to conform to these requirements, scholars need effective, easy-to-use tools and services for the long-term curation of their research data. The DataShare service, developed at the University of California, is being used by researchers to: (1) prepare for curation by reviewing best practice recommendations for the acquisition or creation of digital research data; (2) select datasets using intuitive file browsing and drag-and-drop interfaces; (3) describe their data for enhanced discoverability in terms of the DataCite metadata schema; (4) preserve their data by uploading to a public access collection in the UC3 Merritt curation repository; (5) cite their data in terms of persistent and globally-resolvable DOI identifiers; (6) expose their data through registration with well-known abstracting and indexing services and major internet search engines; (7) control the dissemination of their data through enforceable data use agreements; and (8) discover and retrieve datasets of interest through a faceted search and browse environment. Since the widespread adoption of effective data management practices is highly dependent on ease of use and integration into existing individual, institutional, and disciplinary workflows, the emphasis throughout the design and implementation of DataShare is to provide the highest level of curation service with the lowest possible technical barriers to entry by individual researchers. By enabling intuitive, self-service access to data curation functions, DataShare helps to contribute to more widespread adoption of good data curation practices that are critical to open scientific inquiry, discourse, and advancement.

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The International Journal of Digital Curation. ISSN: 1746-8256
The IJDC is published by the University of Edinburgh
and is a publication of the Digital Curation Centre.