11 November 2012

Data Citation: Stories from the Trenches


A panel session at last week's eResearch Australasia conference provided an overview of where data citation is at currently within Australian institutions and where things will be heading in the next 6-12 months.

Cynthia Love, Director, Public Sector Data and National Collections at the Australian National Data Service, kicked off the session by highlighting why data citation was worthy of our attention (verifiability, visibility and rewards). Cynthia emphasised the growing number of high profile institutions world-wide that have become members of the DataCite consortium.

As a DataCite member, ANDS is well-placed to ensure that developments in Australia are aligned with global initiatives, and is working closely with a number of organisations that have an interest in data citation, including the Australian Antarctic Division and CSIRO.

Dave Connell, the Scientific Data Coordinator of the AAD's Data Centre noted that data citation activities at AAD were very much user-driven. Dave said that researchers are asking for data to be made more citable (preferably with a DOI) for a range of reasons: journals are asking for publication details on acceptance of papers; scientists have a need to reference their own data (which in the case of Antarctic data is expensive to collect and irreplaceable); and increasingly, they see the benefit of having data re-used by other scientists. Dave was encouraged by the international and national support coming from DataCite and ANDS.

Ann Stevenson is an Information Specialist in CSIRO's Data Access Portal team. As CSIRO have been minting DOIs for datasets and talking to researchers about citation for some time, Ann was able to give some timely practical advice about embedding data citation within a large research organisation. Of particular interest to me was the extent to which CSIRO have clarified a number of policy issues, such as when a DOI will be minted and how to maintain DOIs over time as collections are updated and superseded. They have also done great work on outreach, with strategies including phone calls to authors with recently approved but yet-to-be-published papers, tapping into professional writing sessions held within CSIRO, and distributing a leaflet to staff.

Karen Visser, Program Leader for Skills, Resources & Policy wrapped up the session with an overview of ANDS's work in this area. ANDS hopes to make data citation metrics easier by working with Thomson Reuters to ensure Australian content is included in the Data Citation Index; they will also work with Elsevier on similar developments in the Scopus citation product suite as opportunity arises. ANDS hope to increase impact by enabling Research Data Australia records to be shared via social media, and they are continuing to provide advice and to facilitate webinars, events and discussions.

Overall I found the session very useful and will look forward to replaying it when the recording is available. In the meantime, slideshows are available on the eResearch Australia website.