The Data Curation Network is, at its core, a robust community of practice; a key benefit of this community of practice is the ability to have open and candid conversations about our current practices and challenges, as well as future goals. This is important for our organization– for building trust in one another and advancing the data curation profession– and is a key component of our Strategic Framework as a key objective for the 2022-2025 period.

To that end, the DCN has launched an internal “Peer Compare” discussion series on topics of interest and concern to DCN members, which leverages the internal expertise of the network and allow for us to advance and learn from each other. Topics include, for instance, human participant data curation and campus outreach activities. These informal discussions allow members to reflect on real practice: to ask questions of one another, share resources, and identify opportunities for future collaborative efforts, all within a safe space where candid conversation is encouraged.

A recent peer comparison focused on preservation – during January and February of 2022, DCN representatives sat down with DCN Director, Mikala Narlock, to discuss their preservation practices specific to research data. This work and these discussions are summarized in a newly released benchmarking report, which details current practices and opportunities for future collaborative preservation activities for research data and code.

An open discussion followed, in which members were invited to react to the report, and use the key themes for discussion topics. Topics discussed included that in some ways best practices specifically for the preservation of research data and associated code/software are still being developed, that preservation is not an “all or nothing thing”, and there is a tension between prioritizing current access and a TBD state of future reuse. 

We look forward to continuing these “Peer Compare” conversations as opportunities to engage in conversations around current and recommended practices. As a community focused on collaboration, we are also excited to learn from others in the community engaged in similar conversations around preservation specifically.

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