[Esip-preserve] Next Telecon

Mark A. Parsons parsonsm at nsidc.org
Tue Nov 10 08:47:15 EST 2009

Good thoughts, Ken.

When I said we should encourage AGU journals to take the lead, I meant  
by requiring their authors to cite the data they use. Theoretically,  
they do, but in reality data are rarely cited in any formal way.

Nonetheless, you raise a good point about the responsibility of the  
data publishers. Which begs the question who is a data publisher? Or  
more importantly who is a trusted publisher? And how do they earn that  
trust? One way to earn trust is to provide a recommended citation and  
then by reliably providing the *exact* data that are cited. As you  
say, that is tricky for very dynamic data sets. For relatively static  
data sets, I think the citation problem is fairly straight forward and  
analogous to citing a book. We should urge that approach and AGU  
journals should require it. The data publisher is important here to  
make sure the data can be unambiguously retrieved by someone reading  
the paper, but I don't think data need to be held by a proper data  
center (or whatever) in order to be cited. Proper publishers should  
carry more weight (like a peer reviewed journal vs. grey lit.), but we  
don't want to discourage data citation just because the data don't  
live in some "approved" data center.

I think we should strongly encourage the book-style citation approach  
as an interim solution while we continue to discuss and pursue a more  
rigorous approach whereby individual data files or granules can be  
specifically identified in an unambiguous and permanent way--the  
concept of open, linked data you allude to with your WWW analogy.

Regarding DOIs, I probably don't understand them, but it seems to me  
that they provide no more than simple due diligence. They do nothing  
to keep track of the ephemeral website, if the registry is not  
updated, and they don't provide any more permanence or unambiguity  
than an organization that maintains its URLs well. For example, NSIDC  
data set URLs have been consistent and reliable since before DOIs were  
invented.  It's not a big deal really, but I just don't see what DOIs  
give us other than a false sense of security. I'm probably missing  

Anyway, much to discuss...


On 10 Nov 2009, at 4:50 AM, Kenneth Casey wrote:

> Mark,
> On Nov 9, 2009, at 10:49 PM, Mark A. Parsons wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> Some thoughts on the AGU Townhall for discussion tomorrow:
>> We are scheduled for an hour on Thursday 1930-2030 (see description  
>> below). We want to introduce the topic and get everyone thinking,  
>> but we also want to allow for discussion. I think we should allow  
>> at least 1/2 hour for discussion.
>> Our current plan is to have Bernard introduce the AGU position  
>> statement and then have Rob or Ruth speak on ESIP activities  
>> (including the work on identifiers). We also talked about  
>> introducing specific approaches to data citation. I mentioned the  
>> IPY guidelines. Bob Cook pointed out that ORNL has a similar  
>> approach. Indeed, about a decade ago NSIDC introduced the concept  
>> to all the DAACs who supposedly adopted it across the board. Other  
>> organizations, including GBIF, Pangea, and others also have  
>> approaches. All these approaches are similar but not identical. Do  
>> we want to achieve some sort of commonality?
> I would think the answer to that question is "yes".  It seems that  
> broad adoption of data citations will be hard enough and perhaps  
> nearly impossible if there is not a single, clear, and simple way to  
> do it - one that is closely analogous to the way we cite manuscripts  
> now.
>> I think we want AGU journals to take a lead on the issue. How can  
>> we do that? I'm happy to give a bit of an overview, but I'll need  
>> help. There are several issues  that none of the approaches have  
>> fully addressed, including making citations machine understandable  
>> and capturing specific versions or subsets of data in a citation.
> I am not sure about the journals taking the lead... I don't  
> necessarily disagree but it is also not entirely clear to me.  I  
> think what you are talking about is not so much the journals  
> themselves but rather their publishers.. in other words, the  
> question is, "When it comes to data set citations, who should be the  
> authoritative entity?"  Is that the question?  If so, I would tend  
> to think that the answer is somewhat similar to the answer you would  
> get to the question, "When it comes to manuscript citations, who is  
> the authoritative entity?" The short answer to that question is "the  
> publishers" but that alone is not enough since it leads to "who can  
> be a publisher?"  And I think the answer to that question is  
> something like, "Well, any organization that can demonstrate  
> sufficient reliability to be respected by the community and accepted  
> as a trusted entity."  In short, a sort of survival of the fittest  
> approach.  I haven't really thought about this very deeply, so I may  
> be missing important points, but natural candidates for such  
> community acceptance would be national data centers, perhaps some  
> universities, etc.  Coming from a national data center, I am sure my  
> perspective is influenced, but I do know that issues of trust,  
> reliability, and openness are very important to us (and that we  
> don't always have that trust and so must continually work to earn it  
> and be worthy of it).
> I think my gut-level reaction to the idea of journal publishers  
> taking the lead on data set citations stems from what I perceive as  
> a large difference in what it takes to steward a manuscript over  
> time (from submission, through verification/peer review,  
> publication, and long-term preservation) when compared to what it  
> takes to steward a data set over time.  Think about the World Wide  
> Web for a moment - hyper text transfer protocol (HTTP) took off with  
> amazing speed and blazed across the world because rendering text and  
> hyperlinks on a client is a relatively straightforward thing to do.  
> Please don't think I am diminishing the achievement in any way, but  
> in comparison finding, sending, and understanding data across the  
> internet is an ongoing challenge that continues to be addressed by  
> many, many people.    I think the same can be said when it comes to  
> publishing text vs. publishing data.  While by no means easy or  
> perfect, the process of peer-review, publication, and citation of  
> text seems very straightforward when compared to the same steps for  
> data.  For example, not too many journal articles I know are updated  
> every five minutes (like a data set from a moored tropical buoy) or  
> revised many times (like the way we reprocess many satellite data  
> sets over and over again).  The granularity of a manuscript seems so  
> simple when compared to selecting/defining the granularity of a  
> "data set".  Minor algorithm differences can have huge impacts on a  
> data set.  Imagine if the entire results and conclusions of a  
> manuscript could change dramatically if you altered the location of  
> a comma in the text.
>> Then there is the issue of data peer-review. There are specific  
>> peer-reviewed journals devoted to data publication, such as  _Earth  
>> Science Data_ and _Ecological Archives_.  Personally, I think this  
>> approach is limited and even  misguided, but I am probably unusual  
>> in that regard ( I don't like DOI's either).
> Can you summarize why you don't like DOIs?
>> Bottom line is that we have to determine what we want to accomplish  
>> out of this townhall , and the best way to get there. That's the  
>> topic for tomorrow.
> Unfortunately I can not make the telecon, but I will look forward to  
> the email discussions!
> Ken
>> Talk soon,
>> -m.
>> Peer-Reviewed Data Publication and Other Strategies to Sustain  
>> Verifiable Science
>> Moscone West, Room 2008
>> Cosponsored by EP, IN
>> Objective, verifiable science requires formal, reviewed publication  
>> of both data and research results. Data publication facilitates  
>> essential scientific processes including transparency,  
>> reproducibility, documentation of uncertainty, and preservation.  
>> The AGU Council reaffirmed this fundamental responsibility in a  
>> revised position statement. Nonetheless, data publication lacks  
>> established cultural practices and quality standards for modern,  
>> complex, digital data sets. This town hall meeting will present the  
>> AGU position statement and evolving international data publication  
>> mechanisms. We seek input from all disciplines on state-of-the-art  
>> approaches for data peer-review, peer-recognition, citation, and  
>> other verification practices. The Federation of Earth Science  
>> Information Partners will publish discussion results.
>> On 9 Nov 2009, at 11:09 AM, Ruth Duerr wrote:
>>> Well it is unanimous.  The next telecon is tomorrow at 11 am MST  
>>> (1 pm EST, 10 am PST).  Agenda (with leads indicated) includes:
>>> - EP-TOMS plans (John Moses)
>>> - Preparations for AGU town hall (Mark Parsons)
>>> - Draft ESIP statement on data (Ruth)
>>> - Planning for winter ESIP meeting (Ruth)
>>> - Others?
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Esip-preserve mailing list
>>> Esip-preserve at lists.esipfed.org
>>> http://www.lists.esipfed.org/mailman/listinfo/esip-preserve
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> [NOTE: The opinions expressed in this email are those of the author  
> alone and do not necessarily reflect official NOAA, Department of  
> Commerce, or US government policy.]
> Kenneth S. Casey, Ph.D.
> Technical Director
> NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center
> 1315 East-West Highway
> Silver Spring MD 20910
> 301-713-3272 ext 133
> http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/

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