Researchers in the UW—Madison American Family Insurance Data Science Institute (DSI) and Department of Geography were recently awarded grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to advance good data management and open-science practices. These grants will foster the adoption of data stewardship and curation practices, combined with data science and cyberinfrastructure tools, to preserve and reuse scholarly data.
These grants are part of 10 inaugural NSF projects promoting the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles for data stewardship through Open Science (OS) Research Coordination Networks (RCNs). The FAIROS RCN grants will bring together networks of investigators to standardize research practices for finding and reusing data. These practices advance scientific discovery through new analyses of archived data, and they add value to this data through the integration of multiple data sets for meta-analyses.
Research coordination networks are a form of award that NSF makes to advance scientific practices and standards broadly across disciplinary boundaries. Increasingly, research funders and publishers are requiring that investigators store their data so it can be accessed and reused by others. The FAIROS RCNs will aid the scientific community in preserving results and powering a next generation of integrative, open and ethical science.
Kyle Cranmer, David R. Anderson Director of the DSI, is the UW-Madison lead on the FAIROS-HEP RCN, which will foster the adoption of practices and cyberinfrastructure to enable reuse and reinterpretation of high energy physics (HEP) datasets. This project seeks to cultivate “living publications” where the description of scientific results, the data on which they are based, and the computational procedures used to generate them are all available for examination and reuse. FAIROS-HEP will develop tools that can be applied across scientific domains. The University of Notre Dame and Princeton University are key collaborators.
“High energy physics has long been at the forefront of digital scholarship and open science,” says Cranmer. “The first web server in the world was developed at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, in part to permit sharing of preprints of papers. The first web server in the U.S. was at SLAC, a particle physics lab. This funding from the NSF will support continued innovation in this space and will provide an example that can be followed by many scientific disciplines.”
Increasingly, research funders and publishers are requiring that investigators store their data so it can be accessed and reused by others. These grants will aid the scientific community in preserving results and powering a next generation of integrative, open and ethical science.
Jack Williams, Chair of the Geography Department, is the UW-Madison lead on an RCN to improve shared practices for community-curated data resources in the paleoecological, contemporary ecological, paleoclimatic and archeological disciplines. This project will support equity and improve access to science by promoting the implementation of both the FAIR data principles and the CARE (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility and Ethics) principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Collaborators include the University of California at Merced, the University of Florida, the University of Michigan, the Battelle Memorial Institute and the Alexandria Archive Institute.
“Our data are essential to understanding how species, societies and ecosystems respond to global environmental change,” says Williams. “We use these insights from the past to help guide planning for our rapidly changing future. Wisconsin is a quiet leader in building open data resources in the environmental sciences, and we are excited to keep advancing the mission of open environmental data and science.”
The need for new NSF solicitations focused on the open sharing of data and information grew out of a 2018 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which observed that openness is “fundamental to the progress of science and to the effective functioning of the research enterprise.”
FAIROS RCN represents over $12.5 million in open-science investment from NSF. The two projects with UW—Madison involvement were awarded just under $1.5 million each.