The Stanford Digital Repository Self-Deposit service has only been in use for a handful of weeks, and we already see a number of deposits that underscore the needs of Stanford researchers for a central, longterm home where they can archive and share the results of their work. Take this dataset in the Folding@home collection, submitted last week by T.J. Lane.
Lane and his colleagues in the Pande Lab published a 2011 article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society about one of the exciting outcomes of the Folding@home project. While the article is accessible online via the journal web site, the same cannot be said for the data upon which the published findings are based.
Many scholarly journals do not offer supplemental data hosting services for their authors. This gap creates an awkward situation for both researchers and the readers of their publications. How can other scientists investigate the reproducibility of the research without access to the underlying data? How can others explore the data to build on it, to uncover new discoveries? How can research groups effectively manage their collective work over time as team members, and their desktop computers, come and go?
Enter the SDR. As Lane explained in an unsolicited promotion to his peers, "The primary benefit of [depositing in the SDR] is to ensure that your data live on forever (even after graduation!) and are easily available to whomever. For anyone who's had to go digging for data when someone asks for it, or had to ask another group for their data …, the benefits should be clear. Hope you'll join me as an adopter of SDR!"
The SDR team is particularly pleased to be involved in sustaining the Folding@home research, which has pioneered methods for studying protein structural dynamics in disease research. "Since its launch on October 1, 2000, the Pande lab has produced [over] 109 scientific research papers as a direct result of Folding@home", according to Wikipedia. We expect the Folding@home collection in the SDR will grow as this vital research continues. We also are confident that it will lead to deposits by other research projects: word-of-mouth is clearly a primary way of spreading news about the SDR self-deposit service to researchers around campus.
The Lane data deposit is one of several that came to the SDR as a result of a data archiving pilot now underway in an important collaboration between the SDR team, Data Management Services and the Social Science Data Service. We have three other research data deposits like this one already completed or nearly so.
This post is the first in a series featuring notable SDR deposits as the data pilot continues and as the Self-Deposit service rolls out.