First, an assignment for all readers: Fill out a survey sponsored by NESCent (National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and the UNC Chapel Hill Metadata Research Center, who are aiming to establish a data repository for data underlying published work in evolutionary biology and related fields. The deadline is April 16, so act fast!
This is your chance to offer input on how you use and distribute original research data. Every researcher should have a stake in this. The survey took me about 10 minutes to fill out, and the questions were pretty basic (how often do you get requests to share data? What format are your original data in? What happens to your data after you publish?).
Why is this important? I'm going to cover this in more detail in a future post (hopefully in the next day or two). In brief, transparency is at the heart of reproducibility and testability, which are the basis of science. With more journals pushing research data to "supplementary information," and more scientists working in the digital realm, we have opportunities and problems to confront.
More to come. . .