How open data can help the world better manage coral reefs
peter.suber's bookmarks 2018-10-30
"Climate change is a complex, worldwide problem that needs a global solution. One part of which is good monitoring systems, that operate at a large scale. Broad scale datasets from these systems are required to understand how vulnerable ecosystems like coral reefs are changing, and to separate that information from natural variation.
Often, however, scientists that collect coral reef monitoring data do so in isolation. They work on independent research projects, or for relatively small programmes with specific local agenda, and so don’t always make their data available to the scientific community. The pressure on academic researchers to be the first to publish their findings also disincentives data sharing. So there can be a conflict of interest between the motivations of an individual scientist and the larger advancement of science.
More practically, getting data ready to share is time consuming, particularly when there aren’t standardised monitoring procedures or a good data management infrastructure in place. In the absence of good management, data can simply be lost as people move on, taking lab books, data sheets and external hard drives with them.
But these barriers can be overcome. Through, for example, open access journals that publish scientifically valuable datasets. Peer-reviewed, citable datasets with standardised meta-data promotes sharing and reusability, while also recognising the researchers behind it...."