Criteria for DataSharers

I am defining DataSharers as an ecology of places to make digital stuff available for sharing. I am still searching for a good term. Digisharer? Digital Sharer? I originally explored this list for repositories so the criteria are slightly different. Interestingly some of the criteria here are now almost trivially obvious, reflecting the innovative and community-based approach of science rather than the unclear world of repositories. So maybe some of the criteria below will dissolve away.

  • A dataSharer should have a clear purpose.
  • People should want to make stuff available through dataSharers.
  • People should want to get stuff via dataSharers.
  • The Community running any dataSharer should be clear and their motivation transparent.
  • Most successful dataSharers are started by one or more identifiable people.
  • The DataSharer should generate a wider community that has a sense of ownership. Encourage it to innovate in searching and displaying the contents of the DataSharer.
  • The DataSharers and their ecology should be a dynamic organism. Build for evolution, not stasis.
  • Make the DataSharer successful rapidly. Plan for the “now”, not for future generations.
  • Make everything associated with the DataSharer OPEN and make this explicit.
  • Build DataSharers for machines and humans.
  • Make it clear what the extent of the DataSharer is, and make it iterable.
  • A DataSharer should be cloneable/forkable.
  • Do not rely on traditional metadata strategy.
  • Give depositors massive feedback.
  • Give everything unique IDs.

I’m promoting the idea of domain-specific Sharers, because this is much more likely to create a community. It’s also interesting to see them coupled to journals and traditional publishers. However this requires very careful scrutiny. There are excellent publishers (IUCr, BMC, EGU…) and there are others. Some publishers, both commercial and non-commercial want to own our data. A DataSharer run by a traditional “owner and controller and reseller” of academic content is likely to need very careful scrutiny. Is the licence really Open? Is the data completely available? Is there a guarantee that it won’t get closed sometime in the future? I find it impossible to see an Open DataSharer coupled to a closed access journal.


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