Imagine this scenario:
You worked hard on your research project and are publishing your results in a well-respected journal. You even go so far as to carefully organize the supporting data so that you can share the details of your experiments with others by posting these data online on your web space at Stanford. And you publish that URL in your journal article so everyone will know where to go.
Time passes, and you move on to another institution and another research project. But your data no longer has a home. Once you leave Stanford your web space is no longer accessible. Other researchers find your paper and are interested in your data, but when they type in the URL, all they see is a big ugly notice that says, "Access Denied."
This scenario isn't just a figment of my imagination.
It's precisely what happened to marine ecologist Malin Pinsky, who was doing research at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. His results were published in Conservation Biology and linked to a page on Malin's Stanford AFS space where his databases and other research data were made available for anyone to download and use.
Time passed, as it always does, and Malin moved on. First to Princeton, and soon to Rutgers. In the meantime, others who read his paper and were interested in more details about his research on salmon catchments of the northern Pacific were stymied. When they checked the cited URL they found only an "Access Denied" message and no hints as to where else to look for the data.
Malin's data was orphaned and inaccessible, and it needed a new permanent home. This is where the SDR swoops in to the rescue.
After a brief e-mail exchange of information and files, Malin's data was ingested, nearly effortlessly, into the SDR using our Self-Deposit Interface. Now the data is accessible by all interested parties at its new home with Stanford University Libraries.
But what about the dead link?
We were keen to help close this loop and not only provide a permanent home for these data, but to make sure that other scientists who read Malin's paper and found the cited link would be redirected to the data's new home. It took a little digging around, but we finally hit on the solution and the old AFS link is now redirected straight to the data's new home.
This is a great example of how preservation of research data in the SDR can not only keep your data secure for the long term and provide a URL that will never change, but can save you and others a lot of headaches in the future!
This post is the second in a series featuring notable SDR deposits as the data pilot continues and as the Self-Deposit service rolls out.