Thoughts on Data Sharing in Geosciences

Presented at the Data Mine Workshop, The Spatial Intelligence & Learning Center, Philadelphia, PA, 8 February 2014

The Spatial Intelligence & Learning Center convened a small, focused workshop to contemplate the benefits and challenges of establishing a national data archive and data sharing infrastructure for spatial cognition data and associated education data. Participants included top researchers in spatial cognition as related to STEM education, as well as scientists and technologists who have established data archives for other behavioral and cognitive data types.

Part of the inspiration for the workshop was the success of data archives and data sharing in geoscience, so Kastens was invited to speak on this topic. She emphasized that the transition from a culture of data-hoarding to data-sharing took a long time, and was time transgressive (geo-speak for it happened in different places at different times). The transition happened earliest and most completely in subfields where aggregated data were more scientifically insight-yielding than individual’s data. Key enabling factors included high end technical talent, a system of rewards and recognitions for data contributors, and financial and policy support from an influential organization such as NSF. A well functioning data sharing system can help to build a sense of community, and can open up bigger question to early career investigators than they could otherwise tackle.

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Author: Kim Kastens
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