The Data Conservancy, IEEE, and Portico announced today their partnership to design and prototype a data curation infrastructure that connects published research and associated data sets for the long-term benefit of researchers worldwide. This two-year project, which is supported by a $602,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will result in the development of a service that will build, store, update, and retrieve the connections among publications and data, and preserve those connections over the long-term.

Scholarly digital publications increasingly consist of distinct building blocks, including text, graphics, and data, which often reside in different repositories and are maintained by different institutions, employing different technologies. These components have many, and evolving, relationships that must be preserved over time. This project will make it possible to preserve not just these publications and their underlying data, but the complex relationships among them, thereby supporting the continual development of scholarly communication and digital publishing. A publisher who wants to know if there are reference links to data for a publication, for example, submits article metadata and identifiers to the service, which returns any relationships it finds, thus making it possible to track and preserve these connections through the scholarly communications cycle.

Sayeed Choudhury, associate dean for research data management and Hodson director of the Digital Research and Curation Center at the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University, noted, “We believe that the models developed as a result of this project will enable new forms of scholarly communication, and thus help to set the stage for the future of research and digital publishing. Our partnership represents broad perspectives and multifaceted experience, which we believe will result in more meaningful solutions that can be generalized for the entire community.”

“The research community has an immediate and pressing need to make the most effective use of the relationship between publications and their corresponding data,” commented Kate Wittenberg, managing director of Portico. “As scholars continue to explore the possibilities presented by these relationships, it is incumbent on us, their colleagues, to develop a creative vision and infrastructure to support their work.”

The Data Conservancy, a data curation organization; IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization and publisher of nearly a third of the world’s technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics; and Portico, a digital preservation service, bring together years of experience in digital scholarship, publishing, and preservation. The research work will build on the existing infrastructure, expertise, and relationships they have developed over time. In the initial phase, project leaders will gather requirements from members of the publishing and scholarly communities engaged in research across the physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

“Our aim is not only to preserve publications and data—either separately or together—but to preserve the relationships among them,” commented Gerry Grenier, senior director of publishing technologies at IEEE. “This project represents a big step forward in greater discovery, access, and preservation.”

About The Data Conservancy
The Data Conservancy is a growing community dedicated to promoting data preservation and re-use across disciplines with tools and services. One of the original two award recipients from the National Science Foundation’s DataNet program, the Data Conservancy is preparing to release beta software that will feature preservation and user interface updates. Both the Johns Hopkins University Data Management Services and the National Snow and Ice Data Center ELOKA project will use the beta version of the software for sustainable, comprehensive data management.

About IEEE
IEEE is a large, global professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is a trusted voice on a wide variety of areas, ranging from aerospace systems, computers, and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power, and consumer electronics.