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'Climategate' university to open up data

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The University of East Anglia is to receive JISC funding for a project to open up its research on global warming to scrutiny and re-use.

The university, which was at the centre of a scandal revealed by leaked emails from its Climatic Research Unit, will examine how best to expose climate data for re-use, make it easier for researchers to find the data and to understand its validity.

The results will be used by the British Atmospheric Data Centre, which already provides access to a significant proportion of the climate data output of the UK research community.

Dr Simon Hodson, programme manager at JISC, said: "Climate scientists have been under the spotlight recently: there have been technical and cultural challenges to making data and methods openly available, and a perception of failure to do so has been taken by critics of mainstream climate science as an indication of unsound science.

"Clearly, confidence in research findings – among scientists and the general public – depends upon the underpinning data and methods being open, reusable and verifiable.

"What is more, researchers aren't just producers of data, they are also consumers. By funding projects which will improve practice and will give climate scientists and others better guidance on research data management, Jisc aims to help them make that data more usable and valuable."

The UEA project is one of six to receive a total of £600,000 from JISC to explore ways of making data and the code used for computer assisted analysis more openly available, in some cases by linking them to publications.

King's College London is working on data relating to the classical world. The project will make existing datasets about inscriptions and documents from the early Roman Empire more accessible and reusable for analysis by providing mechanisms for linking concepts and terms.

It will also create reviews of so-called 'linked data' tools and a set of online tutorials to help researchers use the same approach with other datasets.

The other universities involved in the research are Bath, Cambridge, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford and Southampton. The areas covered include materials science, freshwater biology, epidemiology and data intensive modelling to predict disease.

The projects will run from August 2010 for a year.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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