One of the challenges of this project has been scope. Should I be examining how we can measure the use of datasets from DataONE? Should I be looking at the broader impact of the DataONE website? Or should I be looking at the impact of data repositories in science? When I ask this question to my mentor, Dr. Allard, she smiles broadly, and says “yes”!
Following last week’s work on personas and data stories I’ve been trying to break down the data life cycle, looking first at data management plans (DMP). Reviewing the personas – the “people” DataONE has recognized as archetypical users – the information and tools provided on DMP’s is considered of importance for five of the six primary personas, and three of the five secondary personas. The use of the tools and information provided by DataONE are not project specific, but part of a change – and improvement – in these researcher normal workflow. This is impact in changing basic research practice, and measurable by the traffic observed on the DataONE website – -outside of dataset downloads, or citations.
But in discussion with Dr. Allard last week she suggested there’s the possibility to measure a broader impact here. One of the personas, Laura, is looking at the effect of climate change on marine food webs. Laura writes grants, and wants to share and use compatible data. Working on a funded research project, and helped by information through the DataONE website, her DMP should identify the datasets she is going to use. Can the DMP be used to measure impact? Looking at the DMP for data citations might show references to datasets ultimately lost in the provenance data of aggregate datasets. The same citations would show, early in the process, what datasets are being used. It might give some predictive metrics on new science, and interconnections. It is an idea that needs further development and I’ll be pursuing it in the next few weeks.