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Data Management Practices for Early Career Scientists

Data Management Practices for Early Career Scientists Workshop
NASA Terrestrial Ecology Science Team Meeting
Scripps Seaside Forum, La Jolla, CA - May 2, 2013


Scientists spend considerable time conducting field studies and experiments, analyzing the data, and writing research papers, but an often overlooked activity is managing the resulting data. Researchers with good data management skills will be able to maximize the productivity of their own research program. In addition, researchers can share their well-designed data products readily with close colleagues as well as with the broader scientific community to address questions that were not necessarily part of the original study (e.g., meta-analysis). Sponsors recognize the importance of data products and some are requiring data management plans to maximize the effectiveness of research funding beyond the lifetime of individual projects and many journals are now requiring that data that serve as the basis for published articles be made readily accessible.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide guidance on fundamental data management practices that investigators should perform during the course of data collection to improve the usability of their data sets. The target audience is early career scientists (graduate students, post-docs), but is open to any researchers who would benefit from developing better data management skills. Faculty members who would like to include exercises on best practices for preparing data as part of their curricula are encouraged to attend. Topics covered will include data structure, quality control, and data documentation. We will also discuss the elements of an effective data management plan for use in grant proposals and project planning. Workshop participants must bring their own laptop to participate in hands-on activities and are encouraged to bring their own data sets, which instructors will assist in organizing. By following the practices taught in this workshop, your data will be less prone to error, more efficiently structured for analysis, and more readily understandable for any future questions that they might help address.

Workshop Agenda

Workshop Introduction Bob Cook, ORNL 1:00 - 1:10
An Introduction to Metadata Tammy Beaty, ORNL 1:10 - 1:20
Elements of a Data Management Plan Bill Michener, UNM 1:20 - 1:40
Fundamental Practices for Preparing Data Sets     Bob Cook, ORNL 1:40 - 2:10
Preparing Metadata Records Suresh Vannan, ORNL     2:10 - 2:30
Preparing Spatial Data to Archive Yaxing Wei, ORNL 3:00 - 3:30
Organizing data sets Workshop Team 3:30 - 4:15
Workshop Closing Bob Cook, ORNL 4:15 - 4:30


Yaxing Wei, ORNL DAAC
Suresh Santhana Vannan, ORNL DAAC