A Conceptual Approach To Data Stewardship and Software Sustainability: Scientists in charge, with a little help from their friends

P.K. Doorn, Patrick Aerts

Research output: Working paper/discussion paperWorking paper/Discussion paperProfessional

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Around the turn of the Millennium the term Big Data got introduced1 in the
science domain while independently also the construction of the Large Hadron
Collider was initiated by CERN. From that moment on data started to become a
significant element in the equations of science, impacting the research processes
and questions, as well as the ICT-industry and all other business onwards.
Software has been around for 65 years now, but it is not ready for
retirement. Influenced by the data stewardship discussions these days also
attention is getting raised for software maintenance policies2. But data
stewardship is also yet in its infancy. Available are many tools, secure storage,
ideas and much drive to do something about data stewardship and software
sustainability. What is needed now is improved coherence. So we present a
conceptual approach to the issues at stake, from which not only the
responsibilities and acting parties can be deducted, but also a practical
implementation of most aspects of data management and software sustainability
can be derived. The goal is user involvement and awareness in order to
accelerate science by making it more transparent (“open”).
The scope of this document is threefold:
• Stress the intrinsic coherence of software and data and thus of
software sustainability and data stewardship;
• Design a macro framework to address the responsibilities regarding
software sustainability and data stewardship for different stakeholders;
• Explicitly denote Software and Data sets as VALUE OBJECTS, allowing
their positioning in the economy.
An important goal of the approach is to make scholars and scientists aware and
involve them in the issue. The awareness can be gained by addressing the
scientific communities (disciplines) and to ask them to write their own scenarios
and protocols for data management and software sustainability through official
publications, for instance in scholarly journals for later reference. Once well-established, these procedures will hardly put any extra burden on the science process workflow, but need to be spelled, documented and shared at least once.
The “Open” and “FAIR” movements are more concerned with data than with
software. The approach proposed here involves making scientists aware that
their data and software are value objects that deserve a certain minimum level
of care.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherData Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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