datalibs

Librarians practicing what we preach: Making our Library Research Discoverable through the Pitt Data Catalog

Academic and hospital libraries that offer data services often provide guidance and training on data sharing and reuse, covering topics such as:

  • funder/journal requirements for sharing

  • the benefits of data sharing such as enhanced transparency and reproducibility and the potential to find new collaborators

  • proper documentation to accompany a dataset

  • how to identify appropriate data repositories and evaluate them to determine the most suitable

  • locating existing datasets for reuse

In 2017, we at the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System, decided it was time that we “practice what we preach” and over the next two years deposited four datasets from our own research into the repository figshare. Our initial goals were to:

  • understand and document the data deposit workflow in order to assist researchers

  • facilitate requests from colleagues to share our data and survey instruments

  • make unpublished results discoverable

  • track the usage of our data

  • model best practices to researchers and librarian colleagues

Given the new data sharing policy for the Journal of the Medical Library Association that will go into effect October 2019, we believe this last goal is of particular importance.

As the University of Pittsburgh is one of the nine partners of the Data Catalog Collaboration Project (DCCP), in addition to depositing our datasets we also included a metadata record to each dataset within the Pitt Data Catalog. Available datasets to date:

These records increase the visibility of our data (one of the mission statements of the DCCP) and provide an additional access point.

This blog post is adapted from the MLA presentation: Ratajeski, M.A. and Iwema, C.L. (2019, May). Practicing What We Preach: Making Our Own Research Data Open Access. Lightning Talk presented at Medical Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.

Data Catalog Collaboration Project receives CTSA Great Team Science Contest Award for Top Importance

what is team science?

Team science is a collaborative effort to address scientific challenges that leverage the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields. One of the overarching goals of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) given to select institutions is to promote team science through establishing mechanisms by which biomedical researchers can collaborate, be trained in why team science is important, and develop evaluation measures to assess teamwork in biomedical research contexts.

about the award

Last week, the Data Catalog Collaboration Project (DCCP) found out that they had received an award from the CTSA Great Team Science Contest, which asked CTSA-funded hubs to submit examples of team science successes to be evaluated by a review panel and presented at the fall meeting. Each application was scored based on a number of categories: overall score, top importance, top innovation, top impact, among others. 170 applications were submitted, and the DCCP received the highest score for the Top Importance category. I was able to present the topic at the Fall CTSA Program Meeting where I could discuss the value of the data catalog approach to leaders in biomedical translational research. The people I spoke to were most interested in how the data catalog can help them make disparate, hard to find research datasets that are spread out and stored in various places across their institution more discoverable using a single system.

Expanding our reach beyond libraries

From our perspective, the most exciting part about receiving this award was that our approach of having libraries implement local data catalogs, establishing collaborations between librarians and developers to improve data discovery, fostering partnerships with our local institutional research initiatives, and making concerted efforts to reduce the barrier on the research community to share was seen as the most important project by a community that expands well beyond the realm of libraries. This is a considerable achievement because the other projects that were submitted were very strong in addressing a diverse range of team science initiatives. The DCCP has long been an advocate of ensuring that institutional research data is discoverable, available and usable regardless of where it is stored, and this award is an acknowledgement that the broader biomedical research community agrees.

The DCCP has grown to 8 libraries in total working to improve institutional data discovery, and this award can serve as evidence of its value to libraries or broader institutions interested in improving their data discovery needs. The DCCP members all provide a great service to their institution, and to the other libraries participating in this effort. If you are interested in being a part of this effort, please reach out to us.