Research funders are increasingly requiring that the data used in research articles are made available so that they can be shared and reused. There may also be a requirement to have a Data Management Plan outlining how the data will be handled during and after the research project to ensure its sustainability and usability in the future.
So how will this affect librarians? Their knowledge of taxonomies, citing data and intellectual property places them in an ideal place to advise and support researchers in selecting a proper medium to fit their findings which can also be stored and published in databases. Data curation and collaboration with researchers and IT personnel provides a basis for new and important roles for librarians.
On the whole librarians have the knowledge necessary for this new field of endeavour, but there are some issues of a practical nature which will require a deeper knowledge. Data curation is an emerging field – the skills needed are still under discussion. One of the main requirements is an knowledge of how software tools transform data – no need to be an expert statistician or graphic designer just a basic understanding of statistical tests and effective presentation. Interestingly, coding is also recommended to enable repetitive tasks to be undertaken more quickly.
Several websites on data awareness and training for librarians available from this issue of the EAHIL Journal
Based on an article by and with thanks to: A. Barbaro (2016) On the importance of being a data-savvy librarian. Journal of EAHIL 12(1):24-27. http://eahil.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/journal-1-2016-leggero.pdf