Human Error, the Ultimate Test

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As a graduate student, Christine had spent the last several weeks working on a statistical analysis exploring the links between air pollution and heart disease. The data set she was analyzing was quite large (the biggest Christine had ever worked with) and had been pulled from a much larger dataset, Continue reading Human Error, the Ultimate Test

The Patience of the Data Hunter

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Eileen had become an expert in datasets involving oil spills around the world. Horrified but equally fascinated by these man-made disasters, she had made a career out of tracking the oil spills and their ecological fallout. While she often felt sickened by witnessing such devastation, Eileen’s gloomy specialty had at Continue reading The Patience of the Data Hunter

To Be, or Not To Be (an Author)

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Ernst Gräfenberg via flickr

Collaborative datasets and their resulting publications can produce some truly spectacular insights. But as more voices find their way into the collective conversation, managing the social interplay between partners can result in confusion and lost time – the continual headaches that creep up all too often in collaborative work. Meredith, Continue reading To Be, or Not To Be (an Author)

Tallying Every Bug and Byte

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Nora was a PhD student when she attended a meeting that would change the course of her career. Until that point, Nora had thought of herself chiefly as an entomologist, with her primary work objective being (as she joked with her colleagues) counting bugs. Born and raised in the Midwest, Continue reading Tallying Every Bug and Byte

The Long and Winding Road to Public Data

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Dr. Watson was accustomed to seeing dead things. As a wildlife ecologist, he had made a career out of investigating animals and their untimely demise under the rumbling engines of motor vehicles. Animal road mortalities had a reputation for being difficult to track because the majority of incidents went unreported, Continue reading The Long and Winding Road to Public Data

If Trees Could Talk

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In the United States, the 1930s was far from a time of plenty. Through the Great Depression, Americans witnessed a razing of the financial system that, on the heels of the prosperous 1920s, seemed nearly incomprehensible. A time of hunger, homelessness, and desperation, the Great Depression sticks in our national Continue reading If Trees Could Talk

A First Foray into Data Sharing

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Acquiring and reusing data can seem intimidating for even the most experienced researchers. For graduate student Roger Dole, it was a new adventure altogether. Roger had spent the last two years of his studies specializing in global butterfly migration. With hopes of finding a paper topic that would really jumpstart Continue reading A First Foray into Data Sharing

The Best Laid Schemes of Backups and Redundancy…

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Data loss: while we can use the arsenal of technology at our command to guard against it, sometimes the fortresses we have built are not as failsafe as we believe them to be. Sometimes when data loss happens, we kick ourselves for not being prepared, not taking the extra time Continue reading The Best Laid Schemes of Backups and Redundancy…