Mar 3, 2015

data stories - beginning

This blog was created in response to discussions on the Research Data Management mailing list hosted by Jisc a UK organization that promotes the use of digital technologies, and to discussions at the Fourth Research Data Alliance Plenary in Amsterdam. Several participants mentioned that they already had some examples of good and bad data management or data sharing, and that it’d be useful to have a place to collect and share them.

While developing a framework for stories, we found several similar efforts. The data stories collected by the DataONE project in the US are reconstructed from the interviews and focus groups with researchers (Hespanha, Menz, and Bragg, 2013). The narratives are posted online and story contributors were offered the option to be credited. The Data Curation Profiles are structured descriptions of research, data types, and curation needs. The profiles were created using interviews, worksheets, and policy documents (Witt, Carlson, Brandt, and Cragin, 2009). There are also collections such as “Evidence Promoting Good Data Management”  or D. Salo’s horror & success stories on pinboard. As we continue our exploration and collection of data stories, we’ll post these and similar sources on our blogroll.

Our work is similar and yet somewhat different from others. We believe that stories have more power, when they have more details about who, what, where, when, and why. Our approach is a combination of journalistic and scholarly work, therefore we will be collecting both anonymous and published stories. We hope that stories with real names and references to existing data sets will encourage openness and transparency. We will also build our collection for better search and re-use and categorize the stories by their type, source, discipline, outcome and other categories.

Stay tuned for the stories and feel free to send us yours. While we reserve the right to edit and fact-check the stories, we will fully credit your contributions.


Hespanha, S.R., Menz, S.M., Bragg, J. (2013). “In Their Own Words: Researchers’ Stories of Challenges and Triumphs in Data Management and Sharing”. Poster presented at the 2013 American Geophysical Union Meeting. Retrieved from

Witt, M., Carlson, J., Brandt, D. S., & Cragin, M. H. (2009). Constructing Data Curation Profiles. International Journal of Digital Curation, 4(3), 93-103. doi:10.2218/ijdc.v4i3.117

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