Archiving your marine research data can now be done online at VLIZ!
Added on 2008-05-28 10:06:52
The Marine Data Archive is an online system that offers scientists, research groups and project partners the possibility to archive and describe their data in an external archive.
Data are often gathered in the framework of short-running projects, or student projects in the framework of a thesis. During the planning of such projects, data management beyond the duration of the project is not always given due consideration; this often leads to data loss, for example when people move jobs and the knowledge about data collection and formats of the data files disappears with them. Saving data on inappropriate media (think about the old floppy-discs) and not rewrite them to the modern media can cause data loss, as modern computers are often not able anymore to read these media…
It is clear that there is a need for long-term activity, namely the protection of the physical integrity of datasets. Data files should be deposited in data repositories or archives, where taking care of these data becomes an institutional responsibility of the archive, rather than an individual responsibility of the data collector. Data – and their corresponding metadata (= data on the data) – are after all the foundation of good science. They can answer the five principle questions in science: what, where, when, who and how. The archiving, describing and safeguarding of datasets in a central system is thus of the utmost importance.
For this purpose, VLIZ has developed the Marine Data Archive (MDA). The Marine Data Archive is an online system specifically developed for scientists, research groups and project partners. It allows them to archive their data files in a fully documented way in an external archive. Each file in the Archive is saved together with its metadata, describing the content of the file. At least three copies of each file are saved on different locations outside the building. Access to data files can be shared with a certain group of people – for example all partners within a project – and the user rights are regulated by an account-based registration procedure. At the end of 2007, 13 organisations and 10 projects were making use of this online Archive. The system knows 63 registered users.