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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Range Management Research

Title: Recommendations for data accessibility

item Laney, Christine
item Baker, Karen
item Peters, Debra - Deb
item Ramsey, Ken

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2011
Publication Date: 11/20/2013
Citation: Laney, C.M., Baker, K.S., Peters, D.C., Ramsey, K.W. 2013. Recommendations for data accessibility. In: Peters, D.P.C., Laney, C.M., Lugo, A.E., et al., editors. Long-Term Trends in Ecological Systems: A Basis for Understanding Responses to Global Change. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Technical Bulletin Number 1931. p. 216-225.

Interpretive Summary: This chapter presents ten recommendations in ecological information management for synthesis studies that require long-term data from multiple sites. The recommendations related to data management and products are to 1) make data easily accessible online to researchers, 2) implement and develop metadata standards at the site and community levels, 3) use and develop standard data practices to create ‘clean’ data, and 4) provide well-documented derived data for use by local and remote researchers. The recommendations related to project design are to 5) plan for data heterogeneity and ‘complexities-of-scale’, 6) iteratively design and assess project processes and systems, and 7) involve advisors from fields that reflect the breadth of the project and are experienced with information management. The recommendations related to information environments to support synthesis projects are to 8) focus on development of both local and network information environments, 9) combine long-term data handling with short-term scientific products and data checking procedures, and 10) develop and maintain transparency by fostering communication and feedback.

Technical Abstract: The EcoTrends project has generated hundreds of standardized, documented datasets from many sites and scientific fields. During the process of generating data comparable between many sites and across several organizational networks, novel solutions to technical, organizational, and communication challenges have been created. This chapter presents ten recommendations for site-level information management and for future synthesis projects. The recommendations are related to three broad categories: (1) data management and products, (2) project design, and (3) information environments to support synthesis projects. For each recommendation, the chapter provides specific examples of the challenges that EcoTrends faced, the lessons learned, and then explains the recommendation that may help address the challenge in future projects.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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