Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Closing plenary @ #cni15s by Carole Palmer of @UW_iSchool, Realizing the Potential of Research Data

Realizing the Potential of Research Data

Carole L. Palmer
Associate Dean for Research
Information School
University of Washington

Efforts to harness and exploit digital research data have proliferated at a dizzying pace. We have an abundance of reports by federal agencies on data, cyberinfrastructure, and e-science, and are experiencing rampant growth in data repositories and archives. New professional groups and meetings regularly emerge and overlap, while some formal academic programs and continuing education options for data professionals become established. Informatics is becoming a familiar mode of inquiry in nearly all fields of study. As the discourse on big data and data science continues to get wider and louder, expectations for data sharing and cross-disciplinary access and use intensify. Yet, our base of fundamental knowledge on data is, at best, nascent and scattered. To achieve the envisioned potential of science with data, we need to invest in the science of data. Drawing on my experience with several research and education initiatives in data curation, I will discuss factors that make data valuable and sharable within and across research cultures, and the changing demands for data curation expertise and responsibility in research libraries, data centers, universities, and the corporate sector. With data as the object of study and focus of education, we can move toward coherent centers of excellence in data resources and services and gain a better return on our investment in the promise of abundant data.

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