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Data rescue: saving environmental data from extinction

COINAtlantic is highlighting a new open-access article, Data rescue: saving environmental data from extinction, published by the Royal Society: Biological Science.

Bledsoe et al. outline seven key guidelines for the effective rescue of historically collected and unmanaged datasets. The article discusses prioritization of datasets to rescue, forming effective data rescue teams, preparing the data and associated metadata, and archiving and sharing the rescued materials. Data can be found nearly everywhere (e.g. non-profit organizations, conservation councils, academic institutions and government agencies). Although data are plentiful, discoverability is challenged by the very fact that most have not been archived.

Guidelines for Data Rescue

  1. Data prioritization: Given potentially limited time (and money), some data often need to be prioritized for rescue over others.

  2. Team creation: Data rescue takes a team, with different roles needed at different points in the rescue process.

  3. Metadata creation: Metadata describe the data collection process, variables in the dataset, units of measurement and other relevant information necessary to understanding how the data were generated and how to (re)use them.

  4. Data transfer and compilation: For effective collaboration, all team members should have access to the data and metadata files.

  5. Data cleaning and validation: In addition to correcting typographical or entry errors, data cleaning includes checking for data completeness and uniformity.

  6. Data archiving: Archiving data in open-access formats is imperative for longevity and future accessibility.

  7. Data sharing: Open science principles include transparency, participation and accessibility.

Read the full article here.

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