“The RIN-JISC event at the Wellcome Collection on 17 November sought to answer this question by exploring some of the issues raised by the recent, jointly-published report, ‘Data centres: their use, value and impact’. A panel of ﬁve speakers gave short presentations, reﬂecting on their own perspectives and experiences as researchers, funders, policy makers and data centre managers.”
An “important theme of the evening was about making the hidden more visible. Matthew Woolard, of the UK Data Archive, described the many activities, including selection and validation of data, which are never seen by data centre users but which are absolutely crucial to the centre’s ability to provide a productive service.”
“Two users of research data identiﬁed some other important ‘hidden’ values of data centres. Graham Stark of Virtual Worlds described the work that his company has done using ESDS data (provided by the UK Data Archive) to explore how the legal aid system could be improved. Similarly, Professor Matthew Collins, of the University of York, used Archaeology Data Service datasets to test a debated hypothesis about the relationship between collagen degradation and temperature in dinosaur bones.
“The case for research data centres must be just one part of a wider case for research data. Kevin Ashley, of the Digital Curation Centre, posed an important question when he asked why so many disciplines don’t have data centres.”
“Mark Thorley, of the Natural Environment Research Council, talked about the need to separate the storage function from what he called the ‘intellectual component’ of data centres.“
Read the report ‘Data Centres: their use, value and impact’ at: http://www.rin.ac.uk/system/files/attachments/Data_Centres_Report.pdf