Science blog

02 August 2013

Show me more data

Expanding on last week’s post on open data, today we look at our role in DataCite and how we are supporting the UK research data community.

The British Library is one of the founding members of DataCite, an international organisation bringing together the research data community to work collaboratively on the challenges of making research data visible, accessible and citable. DataCite is a registration agency for Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), and the British Library is an allocating agent on behalf of DataCite. We provide an infrastructure that supports simple and effective methods of discovery and access. We work with data centres and other organisations to enable them to assign to DOIs to data. 

Since 2011, the Library’s Science team has been developing DataCite services in the UK. In practical terms, this has involved working with a range of organisations that create, manage or archive data, setting them up on the system, so that they can assign DOIs (a process known as minting - we even have mints, pictured, to prove it!), Mints1working on the DataCite metadata schema and ensuring our community’s needs are represented within the global DataCite membership. To support this work, we have organised a series of workshops, exploring the various aspects of data citation, as well as the requirements for working with DataCite and DOIs.

We’ve covered a lot of topics in the last year. From the basics - such as what does minting a DOI actually mean and how do I do it? (you can find out how in our YouTube video) and what should I put a DOI on - to more complex subjects such as how do I deal with sensitive data or different versions? We’ve had lively discussions at all of the workshops, supported by excellent presentations from colleagues who are working with research data. You can see the full list of topics covered and presentations from the workshops on our webpages


In addition to running workshops, we’ve been out and about talking to colleagues in universities - discussing how they can use the service as well as hearing about the challenges they face in managing research data. These meetings and workshops have provided opportunities to explore how we can work together – across a range of institutions and disciplines. What is certain and, I think reassuring for everyone, is that no one has all the answers – processes and practices are evolving but it is encouraging that we can work on solutions together. If you’d like to talk to us or arrange a workshop for your organisation, then do get in touch ([email protected])

We’ll be coming back to issues in research data management and data citation in future posts but for now we’re looking forward to a week of discussion and debate at the Research Data Alliance meeting and DataCite Summer meeting in September.

Elizabeth Newbold


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