Incentives for Data Producers to Create "Archive-Ready" Data: Implications for Archives and Records Management

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We have completed a three-year project called “Incentives for Data Producers to Create ‘Archive-Ready’ Data. “Archive-ready data” are data that meet the minimum requirements for data quality, metadata, and documentation of the repository or archives where they will be preserved. We will report on the results from two research projects: 1) a survey of researchers who are required to deposit data in a data archives and 2) from an experiment with users to assess the differences between processed and unprocessed data files. We found that researchers often are unaware of data deposit requirements, but that they would be more willing to deposit “archive-ready” data if they knew it would be used and have a broader public benefit. Our research has identified barriers that data producers face when preparing data for deposit in an archives and quantified the value that archivists add to the data when they process data files and compile adequate documentation. In addition to presenting the results of these two studies, we will discuss implications of the findings for data producers and archivists in a variety of different settings and suggest ways the archivists and records managers might use incentives to encourage data producers to create “archive-ready” data.

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Presented at the SAA Research Forum on August 26, 2008 in San Francisco, CA.