How to make data open? Stop overlooking librarians

Article by Jessica Farrell: “The ‘Year of Open Science’, as declared by the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is now wrapping up. This followed an August 2022 memo from OSTP acting director Alondra Nelson, which mandated that data and peer-reviewed publications from federally funded research should be made freely accessible by the end of 2025. Federal agencies are required to publish full plans for the switch by the end of 2024.

But the specifics of how data will be preserved and made publicly available are far from being nailed down. I worked in archives for ten years and now facilitate two digital-archiving communities, the Software Preservation Network and BitCurator Consortium, at Educopia in Atlanta, Georgia. The expertise of people such as myself is often overlooked. More open-science projects need to integrate digital archivists and librarians, to capitalize on the tools and approaches that we have already created to make knowledge accessible and open to the public.How to make your scientific data accessible, discoverable and useful

Making data open and ‘FAIR’ — findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable — poses technical, legal, organizational and financial questions. How can organizations best coordinate to ensure universal access to disparate data? Who will do that work? How can we ensure that the data remain open long after grant funding runs dry?

Many archivists agree that technical questions are the most solvable, given enough funding to cover the labour involved. But they are nonetheless complex. Ideally, any open research should be testable for reproducibility, but re-running scripts or procedures might not be possible unless all of the required coding libraries and environments used to analyse the data have also been preserved. Besides the contents of spreadsheets and databases, scientific-research data can include 2D or 3D images, audio, video, websites and other digital media, all in a variety of formats. Some of these might be accessible only with proprietary or outdated software…(More)”.

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