Image-data need special handling in DMPs

Requiring data-management plans (DMPs) in grant proposals is a new attempt to protect the integrity of the scientific record.   The National Science Foundation (NSF), for example, now requires a data plan in every grant application, and various organizations are working to design materials and tools to help researchers create and document their DMPs.   Organizations such as DataOne, a service of the University of California Curation Center of the California Digital Library, are developing strategies to bring greater awareness of data organization during project planning.  For example, a consortium of 6 universities—led by the University of California  and including the University of Virginia, is developing DMPTOOL, a service to help researchers meet requirements for data management plans.    Like other leading research universities, the University of Virginia, has created the Science Data Consulting group (SCiDaC)  to formulate institutional templates for researchers who seek NSF funding. But the NSF requirements and new tools such a DMPTOOL do not take into account the special nature of data-images, which require their own dedicated plan  to address entrenched routines.    DataOne recognizes that data-images are a special category of data because of the challenges they present to indexing for later retrieval:  “Multimedia metadata is particularly important for retrieval,  as the objects do not contain text that can be indexed.”  Because all data management relies on indexing systems, this is a substantial obstacle to managing data-images well, and there are no clear guidelines for addressing data-images. We believe that any DMP that covers data-images should contain guidelines and requirements that address the unique properties of digital data images.

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