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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Linguistics society debates data sharing

Jeff Good, LSA Data Sharing Resolution, Cyberling Blog, January 11, 2010.

At the recently concluded Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) in Baltimore, the following resolution on Data Sharing was passed by those at the Business Meeting. It will soon be sent along to the whole membership of the Society for their vote. The resolution was put forth by the LSA's Technology Advisory Committee.

Whereas modern computing technology has the potential of advancing linguistic science by enabling linguists to work with datasets at a scale previously unimaginable; and

Whereas this will only be possible if such data are made available and standards ensuring interoperability are followed; and

Whereas data collected, curated, and annotated by linguists forms the empirical base of our field; ...

Therefore, be it resolved at the annual business meeting on 8 January 2010 that the Linguistic Society of America encourages members and other working linguists to:

  • make the full data sets behind publications available, subject to all relevant ethical and legal concerns; ...
  • work towards assigning academic credit for the creation and maintenance of linguistic databases and computational tools; and
  • when serving as reviewers, expect full data sets to be published (again subject to legal and ethical considerations) and expect claims to be tested against relevant publicly available datasets.

The resolution passed in the Business Meeting by a comfortable enough margin that no vote count was required. ...

After the resolution was presented at the Business Meeting, the LSA Ethics Committee decided it would discuss the resolution on its Ethics Discussion Blog in the near future, specifically to address what ethical issues it raises.