Call for interest in a DOIs for Datasets workshop.
Overshadowed by the subsequent trading of blows over the colour of Open Access, RCUK’s policy toward open data became more explicit in their announcement on July 16.
“and a statement on how the underlying research materials such as data, samples or models can be accessed”
Not if. How. At University of Hertfordshire we had already decided, in the context of our EPSRC roadmap, to extend our institutional repository to support datasets. A major aspect of making this work is the provision of Digital Object Identifiers for our data.
As a newcomer to the JISCMRD programme a year ago in 2011, I hope I would have been forgiven for thinking that the DOI piece of the MRD jigsaw was firmly in place; a given. I had grounds for this casual assumption. Witness: DOI was well established and seemingly uncontentious in the JISCMRD lexicon; UHRA, our own institutional repository was littered with DOIs; they have been around since before the millenium; and well – it is easy – Digital Object Identifier, a widely used citation mechanism, a persistent, unique ID for a digital thing. This complacency was compounded by later experience: exposure to Data Drayd‘s use of DOIs for datasets (tick) and then Louise Corti’s excellent presentations about the data citation and versioning. Job done.
Right up until the point at which you begin to need one, DOIs look straightforward. However, as we approach the moment at which we will be asking our researchers to begin publishing datasets in our repository, the hard questioning begins. At the first of the British Library DataCite workshop series, (reported by Kaptur and data.bris), I began to see less clearly. Or at least, feel like hyperopia had set in. The goal was still in sight but the details in the foreground were not clear.
The questions began to pile up. How do we get DOIs for our datasets? Is there an api to a Datacite/BL service? Could/should University of Hertfordshire mint DOI’s? Would local minting consortia be more appropriate? What about the B-word – where is the benefit over an equivalent handle system already built into our repository and shared by umpteen thousand other DSpace installations? Panic in the detail.
Before this blog turns into bleat it is time to calm down and visualise the problem, this always helps:
In all seriousness, I think that most JISCMRD projects will have to answer the questions and flesh out most of the lines on this mind map eventually, particularly in the detail over on the right hand side. In all probability, these issues are tractable, and it is just a matter of enough effort. But it seems sensible to share the problem if many of us are to be occupied by it. We have had some early discussions with the British Library and with their encouragement I would like to propose a DOIs for Datasets workshop, over and above the continuing BL/DataCite series, specially focused on how to acquire or mint DOIs for our datasets. The University of Hertfordshire would be pleased to arrange such an event if there is interest from enough programme members. The agenda would be dictated by demand, but we foresee some sessions already: role of consortia vs national minting services; service level agreement /obligations of a minting body; overview of existing services, apis, scripts and other magic. The workshop would be in held in London or Hatfield in early winter 2012/2013.
To register an interest in DOIs for Datasets please use the comment form below. If you feel moved to discuss the proposed workshop or any of the issues arising on twitter please use the #dois4datasets tag.