PAGES announces a new annual stipend/scholarship for data stewardship, available to PAGES working groups to help collate and safely store valuable research data.
Data stewardship is a central objective of PAGES. These activities are part of the entire lifecycle of research, from the conception to the archiving of data, with the goal of providing future data users with high quality and easily accessible data.
Since the beginning of PAGES, data have been valued as a resource that must be managed in order to make them FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable; Wilkinson et al. 2016). Over time, huge amounts of data have been collected from a variety of sources to reconstruct past changes. Moreover, teams of scientists have built community-sourced databases amassing large numbers of records from different archive types to reconstruct past global changes.
PAGES recognizes that such activities are essential, in particular in addressing big questions that cannot be answered by a single research team but rather only through broader collaboration of scientists in the form of working groups (WGs). PAGES has always strongly encouraged its WGs to deposit all data produced within the framework of or used in PAGES activities in a long-term repository, in an archive of the World Data System (WDS) such as NOAA-NCEI (World Data Service for Paleoclimatology), Neotoma Paleoecology Database, or PANGAEA.
PAGES has also issued data guidelines and procedures for making data available. Moreover, all PAGES WGs are required to identify a data liaison officer responsible for data stewardship and archiving, to ensure that data and metadata conform to the standards of the WG's chosen data repository.
However, up to now, no direct financial support has been allocated to the planning, creation, curation, and updating of databases, nor to their transfer to a long-term public repository, and we acknowledge that this is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the output by PAGES WGs.
Purpose of funding
The stipend is for a data steward to work on data compilation and curation, with the goal of generating a data product for publication in a data-oriented journal or similar. Updating existing databases and database maintenance are also eligible for support.
The Data Stewardship Scholarship can be awarded to anyone who you think would be appropriate for the required task, for example, but not limited to:
- IT specialist
- Scientist from less-favored countries
The support can be requested on an annual basis. Only current PAGES WGs and those that have recently sunsetted can apply for this stipend.
Projects should aim to make the collected data FAIR. Thereby a clear plan for long-term archiving in a trusted repository must be outlined. WDS, as well as some journals (for example, Earth System Science Data Discussions (ESSDD) and Scientific Data) list recommended and trusted repositories.
Call for proposals
Proposals must be submitted online. A reminder again that this is only for current PAGES WGs and those that have recently sunsetted.
The call for proposals will be announced once per year and only one proposal per working group will be funded.
You must contact your PAGES Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) liaison to discuss your plans at least two weeks before submitting the proposal.
The call will have the same deadline as the call for workshop financial support and new working groups in the first part of the year, and will be advertised on the PAGES website, in the e-news, and on social media.
The proposal should describe the current state of the WG and the data product. Please consider the following questions when preparing your proposal:
- How is the creation/maintenance/curation of a database in line with the objectives of the WG?
- What is the current status of the data? Explain how the status will be improved over the course of the project.
- What are the short-term (during the lifetime of the WG) objectives for the data?
- What is the long-term sustainability plan (after the WG sunsets) for the data?
- What does the WG need to make these data FAIR, and how could the PAGES financial support help?
- What will the deliverable be at each of the intermediate stages and at the end of the project?
- Have you already identified someone to do this work? If so, would this person be interested in learning about training opportunities?
Annual support of US $5000 to US $15,000 could be allocated to each working group.
WGs receiving this funding are required to publish the final data product in an appropriate journal. In addition, the WG annual report must include a detailed update on the data stewardship activity.
PAGES will set up a private file-storage platform for the WGs that may be used as a temporary repository for datasets.
PAGES is working with its partners (LiPD, PANGAEA, WDS-Paleo, Neotoma) to offer data stewardship training, such as workshops and tutorials. This training enables data stewards to not only develop and curate data, but also to use other available data together with emerging new software tools to address their WG's scientific questions.
Frequently asked questions
1. Who is responsible for reporting? Who should fill in the dossier?
The awardee who submitted the proposal signs the terms of agreement and is responsible for filling in the dossier and reporting. The responsibility can be forwarded to a third party (e.g. the data steward). In that case, the third party signs the terms of agreement and becomes responsible for filling in the dossier and reporting.
2. When should the various sections of the dossier be completed by?
There are several steps when completing the dossier. These are listed in the DSS dossier. There is no specific time frame for completing step 1 (terms of agreement), step 2 (scholar/expenses), or step 3 (mode of payment).
The awardee can decide when the procedure starts. The support is available for one year, starting with the date of the decision letter.
An annual financial report is due one month after the project’s first year (the start of the project is defined by the date of the decision letter).
An annual technical report for PAGES scientific steering committee (SSC) is due at the same time as the working group annual reports, usually during the first quarter of the calendar year. The DSS awardees will be required to send an annual technical report regardless of the stage of the project. PAGES international project office (IPO) will send a reminder before the due date.
Example for one year award:
Project start date (decision letter sent): 23 May 2021
Project end date: 23 May 2022
Money claim: 23 May 2021 – 23 May 2022
Annual financial report: 23 June 2022
Annual technical report: approx. 31 March 2022
A project can run over multiple years. However, financial support must be reapplied for every year. For a multi-year project, the final financial report (see step 4 of the dossier) is due one month after the project ends (one year after the last decision letter was sent).
At the end of a project (one-year or multi-year), a final scientific report, in the form of a PAGES Magazine article, is due one month after the project ends (one year after the last decision letter was sent).
3. What if there is an award balance by the end of the project?
For a multi-year project, the award balance can be forwarded to the following year. The balance must be returned by the end of the project (one-year or multi-year).