Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

Making More Data Findable

October 22nd, 2020

By: Sandi Caldrone, Data Repository Outreach Specialist

Photo Courtesy of Sandi Caldrone

The Purdue University Research Repository (PURR) has published over 1,100 open access datasets from Purdue researchers – no small feat – but we want to do more. How can we make more of Purdue’s cutting-edge research data FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable? We’re starting at the beginning with Findable.

PURR’s published datasets are already very easy to find. They are all freely available on our website, indexed by search engines like Google Dataset Search, and identified with unique and persistent Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). This works great for digital datasets that are small enough to download quickly over the web, but what about other types of datasets? What about datasets big enough to be measured in terabytes, or sensitive datasets that can only be shared upon request? PURR has a plan for them.

PURR is developing new functionality that will expand our repository to also include a data registry. What does that mean? Researchers will be able to register datasets that, for whatever reason, cannot be downloaded through the PURR website – big data, sensitive datasets that require sharing agreements, and even physical specimens. Registered datasets will receive a DOI, and will be indexed by PURR and every other search engine that catalogs PURR’s datasets. Each registered dataset will come with an accessibility statement explaining how to access the data and who to contact with questions.

So much research data is available for reuse if only you knew where to find it. With the new registry, PURR is hoping to bridge the gap between data user and data author – making more freely available datasets truly accessible. Registry functionality should be up and running later this academic year. Stay tuned to Purdue Libraries for more details.