All posts by colleenlyon

Open Data and Open Access Week

As part of our OA Week 2017 celebrations, we want to talk about how open data contributes to the open agenda. Open data are freely available to use, repurpose, and republish. Open Definition defines it as “data that can be freely used, re-used, and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike”.

Many calls to increase the amount of open data have been based on a desire to improve the transparency and reproducibility of research. In those cases, access to the data isn’t enough. There needs to be associated documentation that provide the user with enough information to be able to reproduce the original experiment or data processing.

The White House issued a memo in 2013 to expand public access to federally funded research. This directed all funding agencies that spend more than $100 million on R&D to develop a plan for how the results of that research would be shared. Many of these agencies now have information available online advising researchers on how to comply with the requirements and make their work more usable.

Journals are also starting to come up with data sharing policies for the articles they publish. Authors submitting articles to those journals should be prepared to also share the data that the article is based on. The Open Access Directory has a list of journal data policies:

In order to facilitate data sharing, the Linux Foundation recently announced the launch of Community Data License Agreements. These licenses are designed to enable sharing in the same way that open source software licenses have enabled sharing. Right now there are two available licenses: a CDLA-Sharing license and a CDLA_permissive license.

Universities and libraries have contributed to open data efforts by providing technology infrastructure, expert consultants, handouts and templates to make the process of sharing data easier. The UT Libraries have teamed up with the Texas Advanced Computing Center, Information Technology at UT, and Office of the Vice Provost for Research to provide Research Data Services to the UT campus community. In conjunction with the Texas Digital Library, we also offer the Texas Data Repository as a data archiving and sharing option for our researchers. The Texas Data Repository is just one of many data repositories that exist to help researchers share their data. re3data offers a fairly comprehensive list of possible data repositories:

Open data has the potential to move science forward, to improve the integrity of scientific research by allowing for the verification of research results, to improve the return on investment by reducing duplication of effort, and to enhance the visibility of research efforts by making data easier to find, use, and cite.

If you are interested in learning more about open data, here are a few helpful resources:

Austin Open Data:
Federal Government Data:
Open Data Handbook:
The State of Open Data Report 2017:

Welcome Jessica Trelogan!

I’m pleased to announce that the UT Libraries now has a Data Management Coordinator, Jessica Trelogan, on staff. Jessica comes to us with a strong background in managing very large archaeological data sets and has extensive experience with GIS. Jessica will be working with faculty, staff, and students on data management best practices, compliance with funder mandates, and education and outreach on UT Austin data management resources.

PHOIBOS2 Workshop – call for applications

Practical Hacking On Identifiers at BiOSphere 2 (PHOIBOS2), Feb. 17-19, 2015, Oracle, Arizona, USA – call for applications.

In the era of big data and informatics, there is growing awareness among scientists and scientific data managers of the need for permanent, globally unique identifiers for both physical specimens and digital data, leading to the development of new systems for minting, tracking, resolving, and querying identifiers. However, existing identifier systems have not yet been put to the test with the types of very large, multidisciplinary datasets that loom on the horizon, and developing an identifier infrastructure for really big data (pre- and post-publication) is crucial next step.

During the three day PHOIBOS2 workshop at the world-renowned Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, identifier practitioners and data generators will come together to summarize the current state of the field, identify and elucidate the technical issues, and develop solutions. PHOIBOS2 will incorporate elements of a hackathon, but outputs may also include non-technical products like a draft proposal, a survey, or educational materials. During the workshop, groups of participants will be asked to identify a problem and articulate what a system that solved the problem would look like, including technologies, support material, and a business model. We aim to develop a vision of an identifier infrastructure that spans the entire data lifecycle in the context of very large, complex, multi-disciplinary, research-oriented datasets.

If you are a scientist, or user or developer of identifier systems, and would like to take part in this innovative experience, please complete the online application available here by November 30, 2015.  The meeting is open to all, with room and board covered for up to 30 participants, and limited funding available to support travel costs, particularly for early career or under-represented participants. Funding requests will be considered in early December, after all applications are received.

This workshop is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, with logistical support provided by the iPlant Collaborative.

UT Austin researchers receive NSF grant

UT PGE Assistant Professor Maša Prodanović and a team of leading UT Austin scientists are looking to change the way researchers distribute data.

On Sept. 1, 2015, Prodanović, Dr. Maria Esteva (Texas Advanced Computing Center) and Dr. Richard Ketcham (Jackson School of Geological Sciences) received a two-year, $600,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to build a Digital Rocks Portal utilizing the latest technologies in data storage.

Full article:

DataQ is live

DataQ, a collaborative way to ask and answer questions about research data support in libraries, is now live. Library staff at universities and colleges may submit questions to the site. Those questions are reviewed by an editorial team and by project volunteers. Answers to the questions are then posted to the site so that everyone may benefit.

For more information, please visit the DataQ site:

TACC using algorithms to assess video quality

Maria Esteva, data curator at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), is working with Alan Bovik, director of the Laboratory for Image and Video Engineering (LIVE) at UT,  Todd Goodall, also from LIVE, and Zach Abel from the College of Natural Sciences at UT, to use algorithms to assess the quality of video archives. That assessment can help inform decisions about what to keep long-term. For more information about this project:

Travel Scholarship Available

Are you interested in creating better access to research and educational materials? Do you want to help make that a reality on the UT Austin campus? If so, please consider applying for a travel scholarship to attend OpenCon 2015. OpenCon is an academic conference for students and early career researchers about open access, open education, and open data. It takes place November 14th-16th in Brussels, Belgium.

The chosen applicant will receive a $2500 scholarship to attend the conference. Conference planners have designed the conference so that $2500 will cover all expenses. This conference is an excellent opportunity to learn more about open access, open education, and open data, and to learn how to advocate for these issues. The program includes keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops, and hackathons. Last year there was an opportunity to lobby at the US Congress and conference planners are trying to plan something similar this year with the international organizations in Brussels. It truly is an international conference – last year’s conference included attendees from 5 continents!

The UT Austin applicant chosen to attend OpenCon 2015 will be expected to share what they’ve learned once they return to Austin. The attendee may choose to host a presentation and/or panel discussion in either fall 2015 or in spring 2016. Library staff will be available to help coordinate the event, but the attendee is expected to do most of the content planning. The attendee will also be expected to give reports on the conference to both Student Government and to Graduate Student Assembly.


UT Austin graduate student or postdoc. Attendee must be able to travel internationally. Attendee agrees to coordinate a presentation and updates to undergraduate and graduate student government upon their return.

To apply:

Please send a 500 word essay detailing why you would be a good candidate to attend OpenCon2015. You may include any experience you have with open access, open education, or open data, and any ideas you might have for an event upon your return. Submit your essay and resume/CV to by August 15th, 2015. Applicants will be notified with a decision by Monday, August 31st. If you have questions about the conference or about the application process, please contact Colleen Lyon, 512-495-4244, or

UT Austin now using EZID

UT Austin faculty, students, and staff can now request digital object identifiers (DOIs) and Archival Resource Keys (ARKs) for their research products  – articles, datasets, posters, etc. DOIs and ARKs are persistent identifiers that allow you to reliable point other people to your work – improving the research process and making it easier for others to cite you.

Requesting a persistent identifier is easy. Simply email and request your DOI or ARK. Not sure what you need? We can help with that too!

For more information about persistent identifiers and about EZID please see: