Climate Indicators and Data Provenance

How does a scientist know whether an available data set can support their work? This study examines how researchers from different disciplines and practical contexts (e.g., graduate students, faculty researchers, federal research scientists) use information about the sources and analysis of data, also known as provenance, when presented with indicators in an online system, addressing the research question: Can coupling climate-related indicators with data provenance support scientific innovation and science translation? This study draws on web credibility research as well as boundary object theory, which focuses on the role of artifacts (such as images) in translation and communication across the boundaries of social groups, as a theoretical lens to inform and direct our inquiry. In this pilot study, we are examining the way that such artifacts can support innovation and translation in the National Climate Indicator System (NCIS). Through a multi-stage research design, we hope to discover principles for optimizing the presentation of data for scientific advancements and translation. Packaging an integrated data product (indicators) with its provenance seems a valuable strategy for improving the ability of researchers to creatively consider the utility of data and information from other domains for use in their own work. This research is a collaboration with Dr. Melissa Kenney of the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, supported by a seed grant from the UMD ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence (NSF award HRD...

Open Collaboration Data Factories

The Open Collaboration Data Factories (OCDF) initiative focuses on actively prototyping open knowledge infrastructures as solutions to gaps in research approaches and methods in the study of knowledge creation in open online communities, such as those that create Wikipedia, open source software, and citizen science. We are building a community of scholars who address differences in research aims, data, and methods to enable a new, interdisciplinary knowledge production. The Open Knowledge Lab has leveraged¬† student course assignments to develop a prototype research data directory with detailed documentation of openly available data for the study of online communities. Information Management graduate students in Dr. Wiggins’ INFM 600 (Information Environments) course learn valuable professional skills by searching, evaluating, interrogating, documenting, licensing, and citing open data while creating value-added resources for scientific research on open...

Citizen Science Data Usage

    To understand the potential value and applications of freely available, carefully curated open citizen science data, our research team is working with partners from the University of Michigan and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on a small study of eBird data users’ practices and outcomes. Survey responses are currently under analysis; respondents documented a broad range of uses for eBird data across distinct contexts, including numerous conservation applications, academic research studies, educational uses at every level, and leisure-related uses, such as record-keeping in the birding community. The inclusion of effort information—documentation of the time and place that observations were made—was considered critical for most uses of the...