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An Inside Look at the DataONE NSF Project

Dr. Suzie Allard

A recent International Innovation article featured the achievements of the DataONE research project.   Excerpts from the article, for which CCI Associate Dean for Research and SIS Professor Suzie Allard (SA), Chancellor’s Professor and CCI Board of Visitors Professor Carol Tenopir (CT), and Mike Frame (MF), chief of computational science for US Geological Survey and SIS Adjunct Professor, were interviewed, are provided below. To read the full article, see   

From International Innovation issue 148 - “An accessible infrastructure”

Can you begin by outlining the objectives of Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE)?

CT, SA & MF: DataONE is a data infrastructure that provides open, persistent, robust and secure access to Earth observational data.  Supported by the US National Science Foundation as one of the initial DataNets, DataONE ensures the preservation, access and use of multi-scale, multidiscipline and multinational science data through three primary cyberinfrastructure elements, and a broad education and outreach programme.  

What is the role of the Usability and Assessment (U&A) Working Group?

CT, SA, & MF: The U&A Working Group conducts assessments of data sharing practices, perceptions, and barriers.  These include formal surveys with DataONE stakeholders and user experience tests of the DataONE system and toolkit. 

How important is data sharing in the modern research environment and why is there a necessity for understanding current scientific practice regarding data sharing in research?

CT, SA & MF: Research data access, sharing, reuse and preservation are driven by the growing interdisciplinary nature of scientific problems, mandates from funders and publishers for data deposition and the increasing availability of subject-based data repositories.  Scientists need to understand the systems and tools available to them throughout the research data lifecycle, while DataONE seeks to understand their attitudes, and needs regarding data access, sharing and reuse. Understanding current practices, needs, incentives and barriers to data sharing and reuse by scientists is vital for those who are building a culture of data sharing.


“Several of our DataONE alumni are now working in strategic positions in the scientific data community as a result of their unique graduate study work on this grant project,” said Allard. “Our DataONE students are a part of important, ground-breaking work that provides them with experiences few others entering the job market have.”

For more information about DataONE, see