Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

Faculty Spotlight: Purdue Libraries Professor Recognized for International Research Data Initiative

March 31st, 2017

Purdue University Libraries Associate Professor Michael Witt has been recognized by the American Library Association (ALA) with the Oberly Award for Bibliography in the Agricultural or Natural Sciences. He shares the award with Frank Scholze, from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, for their collaboration on re3data, which is an online registry of research data repositories.

Michael Witt, Purdue University Libraries
Michael Witt

“Researchers are being required by funding agencies to share the data generated by grant-funded research,” Witt said. “They can search re3data to identify the best repository for them to deposit their datasets to satisfy these requirements and to increase the impact of their research by sharing their data.”

re3data has been widely adopted and is referenced in guidelines by such funders as the European Commission, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Transportation, as well as publishers, including Nature, PeerJ, Copernicus, and the Public Library of Science.

The registry also helps students, publishers, research administrators, and librarians find research data and track the impact of data-sharing. Users can browse and search for data repositories in re3data by subjects, keywords, policies, locations, and a variety of other features.

Repositories are identified and entered into the registry by an international editorial board of librarians working toward comprehensive coverage of every discipline from repositories around the world.

“All entries in are reviewed twice by the editorial board for accuracy. The search, browse, and filtering options make this registry quite useful, and the icons and other metadata indicating important repository characteristics, such as access restrictions and persistent identifiers, add considerable value,” said Sara Scheib, chair of the award committee.

Early work on re3data was supported in the United States by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in Germany, and it is currently managed in collaboration with DataCite, an international, nonprofit organization that promotes data citation.

Purdue University Libraries is a founding organizational member of DataCite, and re3data complements other campus services the Purdue Libraries offer, such as consulting on data management with researchers, teaching data literacy, and providing the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR).

Witt is also the director of PURR, a university core research facility, provided by the Libraries, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, and Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP).

The Oberly Award is given every other year by the Science and Technology Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), which is a division of ALA. It will be presented in June at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.