2015-07-06

Q&A: ICPSR's partnership with SEAD



In case you missed the announcement in the most recent ICPSR Bulletin newsletter, the Sustainable Environment Actionable Data (SEAD) Project, directed by Margaret Hedstrom, moved to ICPSR earlier this year. Hedstrom is the Robert M. Warner Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information and faculty associate at ICPSR.

What is SEAD?
SEAD is a National Science Foundation-funded project to create data services for sustainability science research.  SEAD provides project spaces in which scientists manage, find, and share data, and connects them to repositories (including ICPSR) that will provide long-term access and preservation of data.

What makes SEAD and ICPSR good partners?
“There is this notion of the data life cycle in SEAD, and a strong focus on curating data, which resonates with the work of ICPSR,” said SEAD Program manager Sandy Payette. ICPSR Director George Alter adds, “ICPSR has been a partner in SEAD from the beginning, and Margaret and I believe that moving SEAD to ICPSR will have many benefits. It’s a wonderful fit because they’re really doing complementary work.”

How does SEAD impact the data life cycle?
SEAD’s technology supports Project Spaces for researcher teams that allow for collaboration and sharing of data and testing of interactions with applications and computational environments; a Virtual Archive; and a Research Network that includes profiles, citations and publication links. Payette describes a process in which SEAD directs researchers through each step of the data life cycle. “SEAD provides the ability for scientists and project groups to collaborate, submit data, and curate data in an active Project Space. Then, the data can move to the next state of existence, which is a published state, where the data itself can become a publication. Within the SEAD environment, when that happens there’s a component known as ‘The Matchmaker,’ associated with the Virtual Archive. That’s the point where rule-based action can occur, which is, ‘where is the best place for this data to go?’ ICPSR is one of the target areas,” Payette said.

Who does SEAD typically serve?
Researchers who produce and analyze heterogeneous data that is unique and at a fine resolution and granularity
Researchers who need to collaborate with others to make scientific advances
Researchers who lack access to reliable cyberinfrastracture for managing, sharing, analyzing, publishing and archiving data “This is a notion of a national, emerging, data infrastructure,” Payette said.

Next steps?
“As research in the social sciences becomes increasingly complex, SEAD provides a new set of tools to manage collaboration and data sharing,” Alter said.