The ESIP Physical Samples Curation Cluster has been working on resources for scientists to publish open research with physical samples. The cluster, co-led by Joan Damerow, recently published “A Scientific Author Guide for Publishing Open Research Using Physical Samples” (Damerow et al., 2024), which is a checklist to help authors make their sample-based studies Open, and Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). The guide outlines four main steps to enable sample discovery and tracking over time, as well as data integration, reuse, and credit. These four steps were also published as a flyer (Raia et al., 2024), which was distributed at the AGU Fall Meeting 2023 “Open Data Help Desk”.
Step 1: Describe Samples with Rich Metadata
Step 2: Assign and/or Use Identifiers for Samples
Step 3: Publish and Cite Samples in Datasets|
Step 4: Reference Sample Identifiers in Paper
ESIP’s Physical Samples Curation Cluster held a session on “Community and Technical Needs to Facilitate Sample Citation” at the ESIP January 2024 Meeting. Participants provided and discussed components of their dream “pie-in-the-sky” system for sample discovery, tracking, reuse, and credit. The “wish-list” Jamboard and recording are now available. Attendees emphasized the importance of:
- Automating as much as possible, including sample identifier generation, cross-linking when samples are referenced, metadata exchange, and more – to make it easy and useful for researchers.
- Field-based systems that enable easier generation of sample identifiers and standard metadata at the point of collection.
- Incentivizing use of sample identifiers throughout research workflows.
Ways to become involved? The ESIP Physical Samples Curation Cluster is still looking for feedback on author guidelines as they work on publishing new versions and go through the ESIP Endorsement process. Contact JoanDamerow@lbl.gov if you are interested in contributing to these guidelines, and an associated paper where we also discuss community and technical needs to make publishing sample-based research easier and more useful.
Also join the ESIP Physical Samples Curation Cluster mailing list for information on the cluster’s next meeting and updates on cluster activities!