allows for greater exposure to data, longevity of data sets, more value for research investment,
generation of higher-level products and possibility for future research collaborations. There is
also evidence that sharing of data leads to increased citation and impact factors for the source
publications, which increases the rewards directly to the data collectors (Piwowar, 2007).
If your data product includes a gridded image, a map, or regional GIS coverages, your data are
likely candidates for incorporation into standards based geospatial data visualization and
download interface. The geospatial standards such as Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web
Map Service (WMS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) enable users to visualize and download
spatial data using a standard web browser or software such as ESRI-ArcGIS, Google Earth,
uDIG, etc., that support OGC standards. Interoperability allows users to visualize the data prior
to download and also allows data centers to store data in one format but distribute them in
multiple formats. For example, a data stored in TIFF format in Geographic coordinate system
can be distributed in Albers equal area projection or Mercator projection, and in img/png/jpeg/gif
formats. Also, users can access/interact with the data using tools such as ArcGIS prior to even
downloading the data. This allows users to focus their efforts on data analysis and spend less
time on data preparation.
The importance of precise spatial coordinates for the entire data set and also data files (granules)
cannot be overstated. Data integration and interoperability relies on accurate coordinates and
geographical representation of the data. Users should provide the coordinates, projection and
other geospatial information (including the datum basis for the coordinates) precisely and to the
best of their knowledge. Data sets compiled from literature values or value-added synthesis
products derived from numerous data sources with many sites that provide a regional or global
distribution for measured parameters are more likely to be included if the necessary spatial and
temporal parameters are available
While this may sound like a simple process, the effort required to ensure consistency of the
measured parameters and metadata that enable interoperability across data types, platforms, etc,
is considerable. However, the payback is big as interoperability facilitated by using standards
such as Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) allows users to find, access, combine, and subset
data from numerous sources. Data providers can facilitate the process and improve their data
visibility/usability by providing data products that meet the applicable geospatial standards.
1.4 Planning for and Implementing the Complete Data Life cycle.
Numerous educational institutions and governmental agencies across various scientific
disciplines are promoting and requiring the development of data management plans that support
the full data life cycle to accompany new data collection proposals. Data policies make it clear
that data sharing clearly benefits programmatic science objectives
UK Data Archive, 2010;
The life-cycle steps (diagrams) may differ some to
account for organizational or discipline specifics (Higgins, 2008; Karasti and Baker, 2008; UK
Data Archive, 2009; ANU, 2008), but the message is the same; data sharing advances science
and planning will make your preparations more efficient and cost effective.