The Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) is a community-based organization with a mission to support collaborations around data topics in Earth sciences. ESS-DIVE became an ESIP member in 2019, and seeks to represent perspectives of the Environmental Systems Science community as we engage in discussions on best practices for managing, preserving, and reusing data.
Rob Crystal-Ornelas and Joan Damerow represented ESS-DIVE in the 2020 ESIP Summer meeting from July 14-24. This was the first virtual ESIP meeting, which allowed more people to attend and creative approaches for group breakouts, interactive demos, and collaborative documents. During sessions and plenaries, the interdisciplinary nature of the meeting was clear as earth scientists, data managers, digital librarians, computer programmers and more shared perspectives on this year’s theme: “putting data to work.”
To recap some highlights from the conference, we compiled a short list of takeaways and helpful links, and provide a more in-depth session spotlight below.
- Plenary by Dr. Julia Lowndes on how the openscapes project is providing long-term support for researchers looking to adopt and normalize open science practices.
- Research showcase poster by Dr. Kathe Todd-Brown who synthesized a list of 1,000 unique terms commonly used in soil science research.
- Sessions and Plenary talks on vocabularies in Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences highlighted goals, current resources, and problems with shared vocabularies. ESIP clusters are working towards, harmonizing terms across vocabularies, integrating earth science terms with other disciplines (e.g. biological ontologies) to support interoperability and multi-disciplinary science, and guidelines to make it easier to choose and use relevant vocabularies.
- Tutorial by ESIP Fellow Yuhan Rao who walked attendees through an openly available tutorial on Machine Learning techniques using R and Python.
- The ESIP Research Object Citation cluster has made considerable contributions to progress in data citation practices, but more work is needed to support credit for data and other research objects (e.g. Make Data Count: https://makedatacount.org/).
- Joan Damerow presented outcomes from our ESS-DIVE community pilot test on registering interdisciplinary samples for International Geo/General Sample Numbers (IGSNs) and standardizing sample metadata.
- In a session on physical samples, we developed a plan for a new ESIP cluster to work together on a variety of topics to support sample data curation, discovery, and reuse. One goal of the proposed Physical Samples Cluster will be to compile and/or develop recommendations and tools to support improvements in sample management (e.g. Middleware for Assisting the Registration of Samples (MARS): http://cirdles.org/projects/mars/) and reuse.
Session spotlight: “What we wished we’d learned in grad school: A workshop to develop a mini data management training”.
This session, led by Dr. Yuan Rao, and PhD candidates Ellie Davis and Ben Roberts-Pierel invited participants to co-create documents that can be used to introduce researchers to key steps in data management. In small zoom breakout rooms, attendees worked with 4 other people to help identify why and when we should introduce graduate students to the concept of documenting their research using meta-data. We determined that an overarching why is because scientists want their research used by others in the future. Our group also thought that data documentation lessons and seminars should be integrated throughout graduate education from the very start. Data management could be taught formally as part of a graduate level Research Methods course or informally through workshops or lab groups meetings.
The outcome of this session is a draft set of teaching materials that can be used to introduce graduate students to the data management lifecycle.