It’s not a new thing – it’s an ongoing thing – you typically get credit in science for publishing scientific results (assertions of new knowledge) in peer reviewed journal articles. With big science, though, you’ve got scientists who work more on the infrastructure – which is also creating new knowledge, but sometimes encoded in artifacts – but are not doing (as much) science with the output of the infrastructure. With big data and data curation, you’ve also got data scientists.
Telescopes are a great example of this because you’ve got the organization building and running the “facility” and then scientists elsewhere using the data and getting grants to do things with the data.
So all of this is floating around in my mind when those of us on PAMnet were alerted (by CE) to a new article on arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.5261 and similar effort by ESO http://www.eso.org/sci/libraries/telbib+FUSE.html. Librarians at “facilities” spend a lot of time collecting articles written using the data produced. This collection of articles is critical for securing and maintaining funding but also to help determine what other instruments are needed and as inputs for virtual observatories (See Uta & Jill’s presentation in pdf). But why is it so hard? To a certain extent the links back and forth still aren’t working. How many times have you seen something like “if this R package is helpful cite this completely unrelated paper.”
I’m also catching up on Science magazine podcasts, and on the April 23,2010 edition (pdf transcript), there was a discussion of the National Ecological Observatory Network, a $400M NSF effort. This level of effort may be more common in other areas of science, but is somewhat rare in ecology. Apparently there’s some chafing because the same data will be taken at multiple sites and there is little local control over what data will be taken. We know from research by Zimmerman* and others that ecologists use measures like trust in the data taker to determine if they will use the data. This way of taking data is apparently quite different and it will require new ways of giving credit to the data takers [**] as well as new ways of searching for information and determining relevance for the consumers of the data.
Answer? No. Just ponderings – better be off to work on the proposal. This is also a test of my blogging software so fingers crossed.
[*] Zimmerman, A. S. (2008). New knowledge from old data - The role of standards in the sharing and reuse of ecological data. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 33(5), 631-652.
[**] Like how the people who do flora do not get credit