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A new tool, Databib, has been developed to help researchers identify and locate repositories of research data on the Internet. Its development was led by the Purdue University Libraries with collaborators from Penn State University and the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Many funding agencies like the National Science Foundation require researchers to submit data management plans with their grant proposals and have encouraged researchers to share their data in repositories. Sharing data improves the ability of researchers to validate each other’s work as well as to avoid duplicating effort by reusing existing data. Sharing data in repositories also helps make the results of federally-funded research available to the public.

But the lack of a catalog or directory of data repositories presented a barrier to data-sharing and left many researchers wondering where they could find and deposit datasets.

“Databib answered many questions that researchers were left with when funding agencies gave the data mandate. What repositories are appropriate for us to submit our datasets to?  How do I find appropriate data repositories and discover datasets?” asked Xiaolin Zhang, Executive Director at the National Science Library of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “Researchers now have a resource that spans the global community.”

Over 200 data repositories have been cataloged in Databib, which is guided by an international board of advisors from Australia, China, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It is expected that 500 repositories will be cataloged before the end of the year.

Librarians and other information professionals from around the world are using Databib to catalog and curate information about data repositories that users can browse and search.

“Librarians have expanded our role in e-Science and data curation,” said James L. Mullins, Dean of Purdue University Libraries. “By presenting, linking and integrating information about data repositories in innovative ways, Databib adapts library practice to help organize and describe where research datasets are located.”

For more information about Databib, or to locate data repositories in your area of research or learning, visit http://databib.org.

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