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Data Throughout the Research Lifecycle

Academic research is increasingly collaborative, driven by teams made up of experts from multiple disciplines who work together to solve complex problems. The quality of this research depends on the quality of the data on which it is built. Good data must be accurate, reliable, and consistent— qualities that require both sophisticated methods and cutting-edge technology to achieve. As the hub of the research lifecycle, GW Libraries and Academic Innovation plays an integral role in the use and stewardship of research data.

From open workshops to classroom instruction and one-on-one consultations, the GW Libraries provide assistance with statistical analysis, geographic information systems, and programming, among many data services. If a researcher is searching for data, the Libraries provide access to datasets, some curated especially for undergrads to cut their teeth on in stats courses others containing fine-grained financial information on the stock market or hard-to-obtain socioeconomic data on China and India.

Mandy Gooch, the data services librarian at the GW Libraries, spends her days helping the GW research community understand and manage the research data it produces. In partnership with GW’s Division of IT and Office of the Vice President of Research, Mandy serves as the first point of contact for guidance on data management plans. Researchers work with her to ensure their data will be preserved and accessible to future scholars, a requirement of many government funders. Mandy also guides researchers through the necessary steps to gain access to government datasets via data use agreements.

Replicability is a fundamental tenant of the scientific process and can’t be achieved in today’s research climate without careful data stewardship and preservation. In partnership with several national organizations, the GW Libraries and Academic Innovation will host a National Digital Stewardship Resident (NDSR) in 2016–2017. Megan Potterbusch will work with a team of GW researchers to design a process to embed data management practices into the scholarly workflow using entirely open source tools and infrastructure, which can be reproduced by future research teams.

Throughout the research lifecycle, from collection to analysis, visualization, and preservation, GW Libraries and Academic Innovation is committed to wide collaboration to ensure that data, which is often complex, is available and properly managed.

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