June 29, 2020

Using Data Repositories to Enrich Research Understanding

Data repositories have the superficial definition of a location where data is stored, but when the repository is well-curated, it can do so much more. For data to be curated, it has to be accessible to users who have the right credentials, and then that data must be able to be reused. For this to occur, there is a particular set of specific requirements that must be met in order for the repository to be a location of enrichment for researchers.
Source: Pixabay

All information, even that which becomes outdated at some point, must be archived safely to be accessible to those who wish to use it and have the appropriate credentials to retrieve it. For this to occur in academics, data repositories are set up that contain any article published by a scholar.

Well-curated data repositories are different than a superficial repository. This label is achieved when a specific set of requirements are met that determine the location to be enriching and collectively accessible to its users.

What Defines a Well-Curated Repository

Data repositories are monitored by the Digital Curation Center, or DCC. According to the DCC, data curation itself is a means to ensure that specific data is accessible once it is published online. Users who are able to obtain the correct credentials to access that data should be able to retrieve it then as many times as they need to.

However, for this to happen, the data repository must be well-curated in multiple aspects. The repository has to thoroughly maintain all of the records through secure processes that prevent the data from being hacked and changed or maliciously approached in any way. The repository also must preserve the data through regular archiving and continue to add new research data as it occurs. This process enables users to always have access to old and new information to be able to use and share as necessary to promote further research findings as much as possible.

Part of the upkeep of the data includes:

●      Attaching an annotated description for users to preview as they search for relevant files

●      Cleaning the files to ensure nothing malicious is attached before it is archived in the repository

●      Converting data formats as new and enhanced software practices become regular standards of expectation

●      Ensuring confidentiality is always met

●      Assigning metadata information and other digital object identifiers to allow web crawlers to find the data for researchers to access

It’s a thorough, crucial process, and only well-curated data repositories do so regularly and in a transparent, trustworthy manner.

Challenges of Data Repositories

Aside from the above-mentioned difficulties in ensuring data is well-curated as it is stored and kept up with, data repositories face other challenges.

Existing content quickly ends up in the repository because it has to be made accessible to users. But that content isn’t always relevant or credible, and the repository has to mine for that and measure its quality.

One of the ways they do so is to check for verity and accuracy, ensuring that the data represent true facts and observations through metadata mining. Another way is to check for degrees of openness, which reviews both the technical and content, making sure the data is high-quality, appropriate for the task in which it is being attributed to, is explained clearly, and is easily accessible through the repository to the user. Part of these measures check for timeliness to ensure the data is accurate, but that can be difficult to do when some topics change regularly and others are constant and still relevant decades or centuries later.

How to Use a Data Repository to Enrich Research Understanding

There are multiple well-curated data repositories available online, with the demand increasing for more as those currently in circulation limit their availability or are unable to keep up with the level of publication that is becoming easier to access regularly.

Some repositories allow the researcher to publish any and every aspect of their work, including all documents, posters, or presentations that they created in conjunction with the final work. This, of course, becomes time-consuming to crawl through and takes up room in the repository. But if you’re looking for more of these types of materials, you’ll want to find a repository that hosts them.

Other repositories only allow specific types of data from articles already published, while more options are available for collections from individual organizations that maintain the repository themselves.

More detailed information would be available from these individual repositories, but if you’re looking for generalized research to enrich your understanding of a topic, a regular well-curated data repository should be sufficient.

Start With Impactio Before Publishing to a Data Repository or Anywhere

The data repositories that allow scholars to submit any work make it simple for anyone to upload their findings, but true researchers know the importance of a professional document when their work is published. That’s why so many experts around the world use Impactio to get from start to publication for their research.

Impactio is an all-in-one platform that lets the user create professional profiles easily and get comprehensive impact analytics reports. When you’re ready to put your work together in its finished format, turn to the program used globally by and designed for scholars - Impactio.

Tags Data Repository Research
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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