This is a guest post from Jon Petters, Assistant Director of Data Management and Curation Services at Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech has been a part of the DCN for a couple of years now – and with two additional curators on our team (Padma Carstens and Brandie Pullen) we are excited to finally take advantage of the shared curation workflow service provided by the DCN. As we considered our procedures for submitting datasets to this shared service, we wondered: What factors are considered by repository staff and curators in deciding whether or not to send a dataset to the DCN for expert curation? Where/when in the data publication workflow are datasets sent to the DCN?
To answer this question, we sent a short survey to all DCN members inviting participation. This optional survey was filled out by 9 members representing 9 DCN member institutions. We found that, in general, the DCN is used by members to accommodate for filling gaps in disciplinary curation expertise. And that’s not super surprising, since addressing this issue was a primary initial motivation for establishing the DCN!
We also learned that a key motivator for a curator choosing to send a dataset to the DCN is the allowable turnaround time for the depositor. In other words, when the researcher does not have a time crunch, DCN members are more likely to submit a dataset to the DCN’s shared curation workflow.
We also surveyed DCN members about their communication of the DCN with depositors. How did they let researchers know, if at all, that their datasets would be curated by an expert outside of the institution? In this, members were more divided. Some directly communicate with their researchers about this external workflow, while others list the DCN in their online resources and leave it at that. The survey and its responses are available at https://hdl.handle.net/11299/254607.
These survey responses gave us the information we needed to better incorporate the Data Curation Network’s shared workflow into our local curation services. We’ve submitted a few datasets to the network already and look forward to scaling this up as time goes on.
As a non-charter member of the Data Curation Network, it has been incredibly useful for us curators at Virginia Tech to learn and benefit from those members who have been participating in this shared workflow service for many years! I’m sure we’ll do similar surveys in the future.