Natural Scientists at the University of Tartu Registered Nearly Half a Million Research Data Objects
The research data stored in the PlutoF cloud database was assigned with 486 912 DOI (Digital Object Identifier) numbers in the course of a few days. The registration of permanent identifiers is done by using the DataCite Eesti Consortium which helps to ensure that the high–quality scientific resources created by the network of member organisations can be easily identified and used.
According to Urmas Kõljalg, director of the UT Natural History Museum, the DOI system enables researchers to make their data more easily accessible and citable. The dataset with nearly half a million DOIs comes from a global information system for the DNA based fungal species and it enables to automatically identify species from any sample (incl. soil, water, plant diseases, medical samples etc.). The species data bases are developed by the UNITE international consortium which is led by researchers from the University of Tartu and they are stored in the PlutoF cloud which is developed by the Estonian research infrastructures roadmap NATARC.
The development of the module for publishing research data in the PlutoF platform began in 2014 as part of the DataCite Eesti project. Preparatory works for publishing nearly 487 435 UNITE species hypotheses were done at the beginning of 2015 and this included the creation of automatized solutions for compiling datasets, adding metadata and registering in the DataCite system. A special SH DOI view was created for a better visualisation of the dataset (e.g. https://plutof.ut.ee/#/datacite/10.15156/BIO/SH005435.07FU).
According to Allan Zirk, senior specialist in the Research Group for Biodiversity Informatics and Digital Archives, it took months to work out a complex solution and about a week to complete the final stage. The further activity level of indexation depends on the activity of the users who store ecological, phylogenetical and taxonomical data bases in the PlutoF cloud. Researchers can add their data to the PlutoF cloud in any format and request a DOI identifier. It is possible to register DOIs automatically for a data base or a selected section of it stored in the same system, this solutions saves time for researchers because data moves from the data base directly to the DOI system.
“As the citation and international recognition of research data is gaining momentum, the use of the DataCite system has become very important. Therefore, funders of research projects are paying more attention to how the datasets created in the course of research are published,” explained Kõljalg. The monograph which publishes research data with DOIs will be published in the near future in collaboration with the online publishing company Pensoft.
At the initiation of the UT Library and the UT Natural History Museum and with financing from the Estonian Research Council, the University of Tartu joined the international organisation DataCite (www.datacite.org) in 2014 and acquired the right to assign unique DOI identifiers to research data from all over Estonia. Currently, the members of the DataCite Eesti Consortium are the University of Tartu, Tallinn University, Tallinn University of Technology, and the Estonian University of Life Sciences and other research organisations are welcome to apply. More information is available at the Data Cite Eesti website.
Additional information: Urmas Kõljalg, director of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum, phone 737 6235, urmas.koljalg [ät] ut.ee (.)