New study makes 52 million tree stories more accessible to science
peter.suber's bookmarks 2018-12-15
"The world's primary archive of tree ring data, which holds more than 52 million cost-free records spanning 8,000 years of history, has gotten a makeover by scientists from four countries committed to making science more accessible.
The co-authors report in the Journal of Biogeography that the International Tree Ring Data Bank, developed in 1974 and populated by hundreds of contributing scientists and agencies, had only been used for a handful of studies at a global scale due to inconsistent data accessibility and formatting. The team corrected thousands of formatting issues that prevented files from being read, requiring scientists to either manually correct errors or omit large portions of available data. "The data correction took weeks of intensive work," says Manzanedo. "In the sample records, any misplaced character or erroneous empty space would make a whole file unreadable. Finding those was sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. We kept a log with our decisions to ensure the future traceability of the process." ..."