Climate and Environmental Researchers See the Value of Sharing Data

Published: 2020-02-17

Vignette. A domain specialist in their own wordsOne of the SND domain specialists is Ida Taberman, specialist in climate and environmental data. We talked to Ida and asked her about what she does as a domain specialist, her view on open data in her field, and the road ahead for open science.

The SND domain specialists are national resources who are tasked with supporting the SND main office, the local research data management support units in the SND network (the DAU), and individual researchers in matters of research data. The domain specialists are employed by one of the nine universities that constitute the SND Consortium. Ida Taberman works in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), where she and fellow domain specialist Ylva Toljander are part of the SLU Data Curation Unit (DCU).

Ida Taberman has a background in natural science and geoecology. As a former database administrator and coordinator in the national infrastructure SITES (Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science), she has extensive experience from data management. Her role as domain specialist is relatively new, so a good deal of that work is to establish collaborations.

—At the moment, it’s mainly a matter of creating a network and spreading knowledge about what the domain specialists do. I have, for instance, introduced our mission internally in SLU. Umeå University recently held a workshop about data management plans; for that, we used the cooperation between us domain specialists, and I could take part in planning the contents of the workshop. Just now, some of us from the DCU have been to the IDCC conference in Dublin, where we presented a poster about the collaboration between SLU and SND, and what we contribute with in SND. 

Portrait Ida Taberman

Environmental and climate researchers positive to sharing data

The view on open data can be hugely different in various scientific domains. In the climate and environmental field, Ida Taberman says that researchers generally seem to realise the value in sharing data.

—Climate and environmental data is an enormous field, but I would say that there is generally a positive attitude. Of course, people have different opinions, but I don’t experience much of a resistance. On the whole, researchers see the higher value in sharing data. In climate research, data are often the basis for future scenarios, which means that there is a good reason to be open with your measurements and methods.

As a domain specialist, Ida Taberman and the rest of the SLU DCU team are able to contribute to researchers making more of their data accessible.

—I can help researchers by pointing out opportunities for data sharing, such as in the SND research data catalogue or on other relevant sites. I can also showcase good examples and try to demonstrate the benefits of preserving data for the future.

Wishes for clear top-level decisions

If Ida Taberman could make a wish for the future in open science, she would ask for a clearer political stance and top-level decision making.

—It needs to be decided what, how, who, and how much. I think that somewhere someone needs to lead the way and say “This is what we’ll do”. It’s great that there is a national initiative regarding data management plans, but I believe that it gets watered down when it is a requirement from funders, but the universities’ obligation to comply with it. The interest in making research data accessible has never been greater or more urgent. There is so much we could do, but not if it keeps being juggled between different parties.


You can find all of the SND domain specialists here.