Category Archives: Data tools

Featured Project: Digital Rocks Portal

Digital Rocks is a data portal for fast storage and retrieval, sharing, organization and analysis of images of varied porous micro-structures. It has the purpose of enhancing research resources for modeling/prediction of porous material properties in the fields of Petroleum, Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as Geology.

This platform allows managing,  preserving, visualization and basic analysis of available images of porous materials and experiments performed on them, and any accompanying measurements (porosity, capillary pressure, permeability, electrical, NMR and elastic properties, etc.) required for both validation on modeling approaches and the upscaling and building of larger (hydro)geological models.

Read more about the project: 

Open Data Button is here!

The Open Data Button has been launched in a beta release. This browser-based* application helps people find, request, and share research data with the click of a button. Following on from the Open Access Button, this experimental tool makes it easy to get at the data behind published research (even if it’s behind a paywall). If the data can’t be found online, the Button contacts the author and invites them to make it available via the Open Science Framework. Every request is tracked and the status made available, allowing researchers to see–and tell stories about–how their research is making an impact.

Read more and download here:

*Currently available only for Chrome; Firefox will be supported soon.

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:

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:

Brown Dog – data searching

A research team at the National Center for Supercomputing Application (NCSA) is working on an NSF-funded project to allow researchers to search the vast amounts of data that exist online in outdated formats or lacking sufficient metadata.

One service developed during this project is Data Access Proxy (DAP), which transforms unreadable files into readable ones. A second service, Data Tilling Service (DTS), allows users to search a collection of data using an existing file to find similar files.

For more information about this project:

Most raw data from old scientific studies is gone

A recent study from Current Biology found that 90% of data from papers published more than 20 years ago was inaccessible. In this study, the researchers tried to contact authors of 516 biological studies (published between 1991 and 2011) and asked them for their raw data. Some data was on obsolete technology (like three and a half inch floppy disks), some couldn’t be located, some email addresses were no longer active, and some authors just didn’t respond. In total, the researchers were only able to track down data for 23% of the published studies.

The results from this study underscore how important it is for researchers to create data management plans, and for funding agencies, journals, and universities to provide resources to help preserve data and provide access to it.