Geospatial Data-sharing in UK Higher Education: informal repositories and users’ perspectives
Smith, Robin S.
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This report outlines research into the sharing of geospatial datasets by researchers based in UK universities as part of the GRADE project, a scoping exercise for the creation of a geospatial data repository for UK Higher Education. The report contains an informal assessment of technologies used to typically share geographical information and contrasted these through an experiment with novel, informal peer-to-peer data-sharing technologies and the GRADE project’s demonstrator repository. The study adopts a qualitative research approach to help explicate the issues that representatives from the GI community experienced in the context of the experiment and concerns and opportunities presented as a result. The analysis includes a discussion of materials presented at a one day workshop that brought participants together and a SWOT analysis of both the informal sharing methods and the GRADE demonstrator repository. A list of ten recommendations is given towards the end of the report, highlighting a need to consider the wider context of a research data repository in terms of educating its user base in data policy and licensing considerations relating to GI; the need to continue and develop such repositories in relation to wider research and (national) geospatial data infrastructures; to adopt better practice with regard to metadata handling and creation for both the resource and the community using it; and to recognise the opportunities such a resource presents for both the development of technical tools to support research and a environment to support qualitative research into such activities, as part of a wider information society.