Building Digital Libraries for Scientific Data: An Exploratory Study of Data Practices in Habitat Ecology

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Abstract

As data become scientific capital, digital libraries of data become more valuable. To build good tools and services, it is necessary to understand scientists’ data practices. We report on an exploratory study of habitat ecologists and other participants in the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. These scientists are more willing to share data already published than data that they plan to publish, and are more willing to share data from instruments than hand-collected data. Policy issues include responsibility to provide clean and reliable data, concerns for liability and misappropriation of data, ways to handle sensitive data about human subjects arising from technical studies, control of data, and rights of authorship. We address the implications of these findings for tools and architecture in support of digital data libraries.