Open Thoughts

Data repositories

Posted by Cheng Soon Ong on June 12, 2008

I read an interesting blog at Science in the open about the problems he has about institutional repositories.

"But the key thing is that all of this should be done automatically and must not require intervention by the author. Nothing drives me up the wall more than having to put the same set of data into two subtly different systems more than once."

I think this is not limited to institutional repositories. This is in general true for all repositories. While web forms are nice, it is extremely irritating for a researcher to manually upload data and manually fill out information more than once. The question is how to automate the distribution of data and metadata once it has been manually included somewhere?

Maybe this is all a pipedream, but would it not be possible to have some way of reconstructing metadata by the way the data is used and accessed (say based on web links)? Of course, if we are trawling the web and slurping up data, how do we know what is open access and what is not? One of the comments in the blog above mentioned Romeo which is a list of open access journals. Would this also work for open data? From the same people (eprints, which incidentally powers pascal networks' eprints), we get some examples of how other repositories can be built, for example data repositories.


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