The 2016 International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences

The 2016 International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences

Organised by IEDA and Elsevier

FINAL DEADLINE EXTENSION: submissions welcome until 16 October 2016

About the Award

The International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences was created to improve prospects for preservation and access of research data, particularly of dark data, and share the varied ways that these data are being processed, stored, and used. The contest invites members of the international geosciences and related communities to submit written descriptions of projects that are based on, or substantially involve, the recovery and re-use of scientific data that were not initially accessible for research. An important consideration is that these datasets are placed into recognized, preferably certified, data repositories and are readily accessible to other researchers for easy re-use. Applications are due by 16 October 2016.

Lack of access may be due to the nature of the formatting (e.g., analogue data, magnetic tapes that lack format description) or the nature of the data curation and/or organization (e.g., no formal database repository, no backup), such that those data cannot be shared. Consequently, the progress of research suffers unless extra steps are taken to recover the data or transform them to a dependable electronic media.

Submissions are specifically encouraged from groups or individuals who have developed and completed projects that:

  • digitized content that was formerly available only in an analogue or an obsolete electronic format, possibly including the addition of rich metadata to make the content more easily accessible and re-usable in recognized repositories, or/and
  • developed data standards, tools and processes that facilitate and improve the ingestion of research data into sustainable, recognized open access databases and repositories.

What are we trying to accomplish with the Award?

The International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences was created to raise awareness of the importance of securing access to science's older research data, particularly those with poor preservation outlook or fragile storage conditions, and to urge efforts towards creating robust electronic datasets that can be shared globally via recognized repositories. Sharing stories about the successful recovery of such datasets will demonstrate the unquestionable value which the older data represent as complements to more modern ones, and will encourage the wider pursuit of rescue efforts.

The 2016 International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences aims to…

  • draw attention to the high importance which research attaches to its legacy data, particularly in the field of geosciences where physical conditions change,
  • showcase the breadth, depth and diversity of initiatives that can be adopted for recovering and re-using those older research data.
  • promote recognition of specific efforts, and encourages inter-disciplinary discussions, about tools and methods that can assist in the rescue of all such data from oblivion.
  • stimulate the sharing of knowledge, tools and standards for making research data accessible and re-usable across various science domains, including the best practice of placing data in certified repositories.

The 2015 Competition

The second Award, presented at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna, Austria, in April 2015, featured thirty-three diverse data rescues undertaken at a variety of scales across the whole spectrum of the Geosciences.

British Macrofossils Online, developed by the British Geological Survey, created a fully electronic catalogue of all the fossil collections in UK museums and similar repositories. The project team consisted of Mike Howe, Caroline Buttler, Dan Pemberton, Eliza Howlett, Tim McCormick, Simon Harris and Michela Contessi working alongside a number of other contributors.Next to the main award, three projects were singled out for honorary mention:

Find out more

Further information and to make your submission, please visit the following pages:

The award will consist of the Data Rescue trophy and a prize of $ 5000 and will be presented during the AGU Fall Meeting to be held in San Francisco in December 2016.
Need more information? Please contact one of the two organisers:
Dan Lovegrove
Publisher, Earth Sciences, Elsevier
Kerstin Lehnert
Director, Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance