On the role of research data centres in the management of publication-related research data
This paper summarizes the findings of an analysis of scientific infrastructure service providers (mainly from Germany but also from other European countries). These service providers are evaluated with regard to their potential services for the management of publication-related research data in the field of social sciences, especially economics. For this purpose we conducted both desk research and an online survey of 46 research data centres (RDCs), library networks and public archives; almost 48% responded to our survey. We find that almost three-quarters of all respondents generally store externally generated research data – which also applies to publication-related data. Almost 75% of all respondents also store and host the code of computation or the syntax of statistical analyses. If self-compiled software components are used to generate research outputs, only 40% of all respondents accept these software components for storing and hosting. Eight out of ten institutions also take specific action to ensure long-term data preservation. With regard to the documentation of stored and hosted research data, almost 70% of respondents claim to use the metadata schema of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI); Dublin Core is used by 30 percent (multiple answers were permitted). Almost two-thirds also use persistent identifiers to facilitate citation of these datasets. Three in four also support researchers in creating metadata for their data. Application programming interfaces (APIs) for uploading or searching datasets currently are not yet implemented by any of the respondents. Least common is the use of semantic technologies like RDF.
Concluding, the paper discusses the outcome of our survey in relation to Research Data Centres (RDCs) and the roles and responsibilities of publication-related data archives for journals in the fields of social sciences.
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