Coordinator of Data Management Services University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Background: Do you need a compelling reason to initiate a conversation about data with a busy researcher, but don’t know how to start? As data services librarians at a large academic health sciences library, we continually seek novel ways to make connections with biomedical researchers. An easy and straightforward approach we successfully use begins with setting up journal alerts in order to review data availability statements in articles authored by our institution’s researchers.
Description: Review of institutional author’s data availability statements provides sufficient discussion points for outreach efforts. However, we also found that these statements, many with a canned response of “will share upon request,” offer insight into how our community views data sharing, thereby introducing potential areas for patron education. In addition, we unexpectedly discovered that some data availability statements contain inaccuracies, such as broken links and misinformation for data access, that require timely rectification. Whether these inaccuracies are due to publisher error or as a result of author misunderstanding, they emphasize the role librarians can have in ensuring accessibility of data from our own institutions.
Conclusion: This lightning talk presents the alerts we created, highlights a sampling of reviewed data availability statements and any subsequent corrections, and shares how we tactfully approach researchers when there is concern of misinformation. This simple approach not only improves upon the usability of purportedly available data but also paves the way for continued mutually beneficial interactions between biomedical researchers and librarians.