Early last year, I interviewed six individuals involved with MEDIN as part of a PhD case study. The interview participants had specialist knowledge from data science to legal expertise. My research considers the use and reuse of academic research data by research users in a digital age. It addresses the paradox between the copy, cut and paste nature of the Web and the greater requirement for digital, definitive data versions. It evaluates existing best practices for maintaining definitive data versions by guarantors, such as MEDIN. It sets an agenda for academic research data reuse in a digital age.
My thesis is produced for an interdisciplinary audience. It tests the robustness of a model of provenance and licensing, as a new ethical, moral, legal, technical and social guarantor for research users and producers within the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
The methodology encompasses a literature review, semi-structured interviews and three representative case studies within the sciences, social sciences and humanities to assess current practices. Focus on three illustrative case studies has permitted direct access to multi-disciplinary experts (through semi-structured interviews), and unpublished material.
MEDIN was selected as one of these representative case studies, because it is an existing data platform that is designed to maintain definitive versions. It encourages the marine environmental community to discuss, develop and deploy standards of best practice. It aims to improve not only the access to data but its quality.
My research abstract – ‘How the Law Supports Existing Models of Environmental Data Reuse: The ‘Marine Environmental Data and Information Network’ (MEDIN) Case Study’ – was accepted for presentation by the ‘Information and Communications Technology for Environmental Regulation: Developing a Research Agenda Workshop’. This workshop takes place at the National University of Ireland, Galway, on the 20th – 21st June 2013. This paper focuses on MEDIN as an illustrative case study. It aims to showcase MEDIN as an important, existing model for marine environmental data and information re-usage.
This paper examines:
1) legislation that mandates the reuse and/or access of certain types of environmental data, such as the INSPIRE Directive, Environmental Information Regulations, and the Freedom of Information Act; and,
2) the control over reuse of data and products, such as copyright and data licensing.
This paper presents key findings from semi-structured interviews with six individuals directly involved with MEDIN. It determines how these two strands of law support (and potentially hinder) the reuse of marine environmental data at MEDIN. This research has been selected as one of the best student abstracts submitted to the workshop.
I would like to express my gratitude to MEDIN and all the interview participants that are involved with this case study.