ISA 10 years: An Open Science journey from publications to data | Affair(e)s in Science

“Part of reimagining of the research ecosystem means the publication is not the only important output of research. What about the datasets unpinning the publications, the software and other outputs? What about getting credit for producing and sharing those outputs? A research data management policy was in its early stages of development at the CRG and my time with publications had come to an end. I said goodbye to ISA with a heavy heart and travelled deeper into the depths of the open infrastructure supporting data sharing.

I have now been working with DataCite for 2 years. I am the support manager, which means I spend time helping librarians with metadata problems and reporting bugs, as well as organizing meetings and writing documentation. I work with the community engagement team, the data community being the backbone of our organization.

DataCite is a DOI registration agency. I didn’t know much about DOIs when I started working for them, now maybe I know too much. A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a type of persistent identifier (PID). They are used to uniquely identify “stuff” for example: publications (Crossref DOIs), datasets (DataCite DOIs), researchers (ORCIDs) and research institutions (RoR). We sometimes joke, in a very nerdy way, about other types of things that could have identifiers. There is already a move to have them for conferences, samples and instruments. DOIs are always accompanied by metadata. Some basic examples of metadata would be the “title”, “publisher” and “date” of the content being shared.

We work primarily with repositories (some well known generalist repositories are Zenodo and Figshare) to assign DOIs to research outputs. Assigning a DOI and the accompanying metadata means that the research outputs in these repositories can be discovered, cited and tracked. It makes data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). There is no doubt that data sharing and citation are an essential part of moving towards a better research ecosystem. But getting this to happen takes time and effort. It involves changing practices – like actually citing the underlying data in research articles – and much more work lies ahead. DataCite works primarily with nonprofit organizations, but partnerships with for-profits open up new possibilities. There is no good and evil in this church. We must strive for openness, trust and transparency, there is no time to waste….”