Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, March 24, 2008

Challenges and rewards of data sharing

Heather Piwowar, Eating my own dogfood, Research Remix, March 21, 2008.

... Sharing data is indeed hard. Specifically:

  • time consuming
  • decision-intensive (where to put it? what to share? what format to share it in?)
  • scary (what if someone finds a mistake?)
  • embarrassing (the data isnít nearly as X as I wish I had the time to make it )

I also get to experience some of the first-hand benefits:

  • it forces additional organization
  • it helps me find my own data again later, from any computer!
  • it makes me feel proud to have made my science transparent (albeit after the fact, rather than as open notebook science)

Iím a firm believer in continual improvement. That means that Iíve shared my data now, in the best way that I have time for, rather than waiting until I can share it the way that Iíd ideally like to. There are lots of things Iíd like to improve:

  • Put it somewhere central and permanent (not clear where, for the esoteric dataset types that I have, but there are some neat possibilities)
  • Put it in a semantic format (!!!)
  • Document it better
  • Tag it so people can find it
  • Ö.

Iíll keep exploring and implementing these things as I get a chance.

If you want to put your data up but have hesitations about it, I say do it to the best of your ability right now given your current constraints. It isnít perfect? I know, but perfect is the enemy of good enough. ...

See also this poster, Prevalence and Patterns of Microarray Data Sharing (Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing, Kohala, Hawaii, January 4-8, 2008), posted online March 20. .