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Data Management Practices for Early Career Scientists

Data Management Practices for Early Career Scientists Workshop
NACP All Investigators Meeting
Albuquerque, NM - February 3, 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, you can share your well-designed data products readily with close colleagues 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 Viv Hutchison, USGS 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 Viv Hutchison, USGS 2:10 - 2:30
Preparing Spatial Data to Archive Suresh K.S. Vannan and Yaxing Wei, ORNL     2:30 - 3:00
Organizing data sets Workshop Team 3:15 - 3:45
NACP Project Office Data Management Peter Griffith, NASA 3:45 - 4:15
Workshop Closing Bob Cook, ORNL 4:15 - 4:30

Additional Information

For additional information, please see ORNL DAAC Best Practices (Hook et al. 2010)

Workshop Team

Suresh K.S. Vannan, ORNL DAAC
Yaxing Wei, ORNL DAAC
Bill Michener, DataONE, University of New Mexico
Viv Hutchison, DataONE, USGS

Team Members:
Deb Argawal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Bai Yang, ORNL