DataONE: Protecting the future of environmental and ecological data



This interactive panel addresses the theme of the conference “Thriving on Diversity- Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World” by exploring the role of librarians and information scientists in DataONE (Observation Network for Earth), a cyberinfrastructure project that supports the full data lifecycle for scientists in the diverse domains that are embodied in environmental and ecological science. Collaborations like this between scientists and information professionals ((see Table 1 for full list of DataONE team members), are increasingly important, which is reflected by the “Science and Metadata Community” that is forming within the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative.

The research activities of environmental and ecological scientists produce diverse multi-scale, multi-discipline, and multi-national observational data. These data provide insights to address new environmental, social and technological challenges caused by climate variability, altered land use, population shifts, and changes in resource availability (e.g., food, water, and oil). Therefore scientists, educators, librarians, land managers, and the public need open, persistent, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data. These data are critical because they form the basis for good scientific decisions, wise management and use of resources, and informed decision-making.

Securing our global scientific knowledge base by preserving these documents and datasets requires active management of the resources and the supporting technology, as well as, an awareness of current research. DataONE is one of two National Science Foundation DataNet Partners. The DataNet Partners serve as exemplars for national and global data management and research infrastructure organizations, and also provide unique opportunities to communities of researchers to advance science and engineering research and learning. Eventually there will be five DataNet Partners.

DataONE focuses on multi-disciplinary observational data collected by biological (genome to ecosystem) and environmental (atmospheric, ecological, hydrological, and oceanographic) scientists, national and international research networks, and environmental observatories. However, the DataONE structure is designed to be domain-agnostic, so that it can be extended to serve a broader range of science domains both directly and through interoperability with other DataNet Partners.

This panel of DataONE investigators focuses on four areas related to the challenges of the preservation of digital scientific data in any setting, not just for DataONE. The panel will be facilitated to encourage the audience to provide feedback, exchange ideas, and ask questions related to the role of information science, libraries and librarians in the process of creation, discovery, access, and manipulation of electronic scientific data.