[Esip-preserve] FYI: The Vast Majority of Raw Data From Old Scientific Studies May Now Be Missing

Ramdeen, Sarah ramdeen at email.unc.edu
Sat Jan 11 18:22:06 EST 2014

Hi Jennifer,

You may want to look in to BitCurator - a project here at UNC, http://www.bitcurator.net/.  They have equipment for pulling old media off of old hardware and maybe able to help.  They have boxes they loan out with converters for different equipment and they might be interested in helping you find methods for hardware not currently covered by their methods.

I think your mention of EarthCube is a good one, they currently have solicitations for building blocks... perhaps this might be a project you could suggest?


Sarah Ramdeen PhD Student
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina
ramdeen at email.unc.edu<mailto:ramdeen at email.unc.edu>

From: esip-preserve-bounces at lists.esipfed.org [mailto:esip-preserve-bounces at lists.esipfed.org] On Behalf Of Wei, Jennifer C. (GSFC-610.2)[ADNET SYSTEMS INC]
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2013 10:42 AM
To: Tilmes, Curt (GSFC-6190); ESIP Data Stewardship Committee
Subject: Re: [Esip-preserve] FYI: The Vast Majority of Raw Data From Old Scientific Studies May Now Be Missing

Hi Curt,

We (GES DISC) are currently undergoing satellite data preservation, especially for those decommissioned satellites, such as UARS, TOMS, HIRDLS, etc.  I am recently get involved with the task.  What we have encountered are not only the data were saved on the old magnetic tapes or even on floppy discs, but those old data were written in the old machine-based binary form, which we don't have the machine to read them so we can transform them into the modern language.

Maybe one of the data preservation is to come up a way to add metadat (xml, or ancillary information) for the old observation data, so they can be machine-readable for future use.  I have seen this need not only  in the binary raw data, but also in the current in-situ measurements saved in the simple text files.  Another is what is the "supporting documentation" for future people use?

Earlier this year at one of NSF EarthCube workshops, a lot of earth scientists had also addressed this issue/concern.  I think it would be nice to see ESIP take lead on this.

Dr. Jennifer Wei
ADNET Systems, Inc.

GES DISC Code 610.2
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD. 20771

Phone: (301) 614-6558
Email: jennifer.c.wei at nasa.gov

Tilmes, Curt (GSFC-6190) On 12/20/13, 9:20 AM, "Tilmes, Curt (GSFC-6190)" <curt.tilmes at nasa.gov> wrote:
Shocking News!

The Vast Majority of Raw Data From Old Scientific Studies May Now Be Missing

"One of the foundations of the scientific method is the reproducibility of results. In a lab anywhere around the world, a researcher should be able to study the same subject as another scientist and reproduce the same data, or analyze the same data and notice the same patterns.

This is why the findings of a study published today in Current Biology are so concerning. When a group of researchers tried to email the authors of 516 biological studies published between 1991 and 2011 and ask for the raw data, they were dismayed to find that more 90 percent of the oldest data (from papers written more than 20 years ago) were inaccessible. In total, even including papers published as recently as 2011, they were only able to track down the data for 23 percent."


We've talked about doing such a study for the Earth Sciences -- I think such a study would shine a light on our problems..  Who's up for it?

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