Ecology Lab and UW Library team up for environmental data sharing

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

two students in a river using some equipmentEnvironment students collect data for numerous course labs and projects. Often that data sits on personal computers, unavailable to others, or disappears once the course is over. Thanks to a partnership between the Faculty of Environment Ecology Lab and the UW library, data sharing is now a possibility.

Data collected along Laurel Creek by numerous UW students as a part of their Field Ecology course is now available on Scholars Portal Dataverse, an online repository for research data. Laurel Creek runs the entire length of our campus and water analysis is ongoing. Over the course of a few years, the Ecology Lab staff have worked with the library to find a way to make available the data that is collected by students through course labs and projects.

Further discussion with Library personnel, Marian Davies and Sandra Keys, resulted in a MLIS co-op student, Kailee Hilt, working with the Ecology Lab to create a Best Practices Manual and a Data Management Plan. Additional steps included formatting the data, quality assurance, creating files with related information and overall ensuring that documents were accurate and ready for publication.

Map of laurel creekDataverse is an open-source data platform available to anyone and provided to Ontario Universities by the Ontario Council of University Libraries through Scholars Portal. The Ecology Lab has initially focused on publishing data collected from Laurel Creek by Field Ecology students since 2009. Moving forward, data from other courses and groups projects will also be published on dataverse. Published files can be accessed here.

The Ecology lab is the Faculty of Environment’s teaching facility and resource centre. It supports lab and field activities, courses, projects, and outreach initiatives.

For more information, please contact the Ecology Lab, env.ecology@uwaterloo.ca

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