NSF Points to Open Context for Publishing Project Data

The National Science Foundation’s Archaeology Program links to Open Context (http://opencontext.org) as an option for grant seekers to archive and disseminate archaeological research data. See here for an example. The NSF also links to Digital Antiquity’s tDAR (http://tdar.org) project, a related effort with greater emphasis on North American archaeology.

Earlier this year, the NSF announced new data sharing requirements for grantees. Grant-seekers now need to supply a plan for providing wide access and long-term preservation of data and documents created as part of NSF-funded research.

This new requirement has the potential for improving transparency in research and also opens the door to new research directions that integrate results from multiple projects. It also demonstrates how data sharing is becoming an expected outcome of the research process. This is something that many other fields have been practicing for a few years now, but archaeology and other “small-team sciences” are a few steps behind (largely because the small-scale, localized nature of archaeological data production makes it hard to come up with common solutions for sharing and archiving these data).

The downside of this development is that grant seekers have additional work in creating a data access and management plan. Many grant seekers will probably lack expertise and technical support in making data accessible.

At the upcoming ASOR meeting in Atlanta, the creators of Open Context are offering a workshop called “Publishing Archaeological Data from the Field to the Web.” This workshop will address the new NSF requirements and discuss how to prepare datasets for dissemination and archiving. It will also discuss related data sharing initiatives relevant to Near Eastern archaeology.

All ASOR meeting attendees are welcome to attend this workshop, which will take place on Thursday November 18 at 2pm.

For more information, contact Sarah Witcher Kansa.

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