We spoke with Joe Walker, Director of Publications at ASABE, who describes the importance of
long-term data availability, how ASABE makes data more discoverable, and why both he and his authors are very pleased with the results of their Figshare Portal.
ASABE’s Figshare Portal is available at https://asabe.figshare.com
Over the years, ASABE has been asked by authors about a place to put their “extra” supplementary information and data associated with their research studies. Since launching their Figshare Portal, they have made sure to promote it to their authors and their members via newsletters, meeting minutes, and social media. They also promote Figshare in emails to their members for every new issue of a journal.
ASABE also thoroughly describes supplemental information guidelines and best practices to authors in their submission workflow to ease the process. Additionally, they are encouraging the adaptation of supplemental data to their authors: “In our author guidance, we’ve described how the authors need to start with the idea in mind that they’re going to publish their data with their article,” says Joe.
Joe explains the importance of sustainable data availability for the purpose of future validation and re-analysis: “It would be difficult to go back and validate an equation or discover where it came from without the data which is why a long term archive is great. People also leave institutions and leave their data behind. If you want to look at it later yourself, you may or may not have a copy of that data.”
In addition, he recognizes that the requirements placed on researchers by funders to make their data available will continue to grow.
And finally, as an instructor, Joe sees easily available supplementary data as a teaching tool and “as a resource for getting real world data or research about a topic.”
Joe views their Figshare Portal as an additional route of discovery to ASABE articles. “Because the data is indexed in Figshare, Google, and other search engines, it seems to me that would be another way to lead people to our publications as well as to make a connection with other people having similar interests.” Regarding those connections, Joe explains that “having a repository might also help you find collaborators that can make your research more broadly applicable.”
ASABE is taking measures to maximize content discoverability via their Figshare Portal. “I may add keywords to the description that are equivalent words but they didn’t use them in their description. I think about words that someone might use when searching for that content. I also try to standardize the title,” says Joe. The organization also includes notes on their journal instructions to encourage authors to utilize supplementary data as a way to increase citations, even if the data is not a mandate for them.
Joe cites ease of use as one of the invaluable benefits he saw with Figshare. He also explains ASABE’s decision over open source options: “I know there are others that are open source. Sometimes, open source projects may lose energy or direction. I like the Digital Science products in general and I simply had more confidence in Figshare that it would go in the right direction and be around in the long run.”
Joe believes having their Figshare Portal metrics public (views and downloads) provides additional value, especially to authors. “I believe they’re pleased with the results from what I can tell; I certainly am.”
Director of Publications at ASABE
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