Data Usage Metrics WG Case Statement

28 Dec 2017

Data Usage Metrics WG Case Statement

Data Usage Metrics WG Case Statement

Research data is increasingly recognized as an important output of scholarly research, however, there are not yet standardized or comprehensive metrics for research data as there are for articles. Data Citations are necessary for the advancement of research data recognition, and initiatives in the RDA and scholarly communications space (eg. RDA/WDS Scholarly Link Exchange WG) are working to gain community adoption. Complementary to citations are data usage metrics (views, downloads). Both usage metrics and data citations are currently not yet counted and aggregated into clear metrics, as it is done for articles.


The “Make Data Count” project hosted a Birds of a Feather at RDA Plenary 10 (attended by 60 people) and recognized that many other groups are impacted by this initiative and there is widespread interest in implementing a standardized set of data usage metrics. Lending expertise from various projects and research stakeholders, this WG, a part of the Publishing Data IG, aims to harness community in-put and buy-in of data usage metrics and drive widespread adoption.


The WG intends to be international by design. The WG recognizes that for data usage metrics to be adopted at a global scale, representatives from all global regions need to help shape the WG outcomes. Therefore, the WG will actively recruit participants from all regions globally, including international initiatives (e.g.,. ANDS) and will be directing outreach globally through webinars, related conferences, and consistent communication.


Value Proposition

Adoption of Data Usage metrics is necessary for the recognition of research data as a first-class research output. Researchers will benefit from data usage metrics by being able to see the value-add of opening up their work, funders will be able to track the impact of their funding, publishers will see the relation and usage of articles with the underlying data, and repositories will be able to better serve their research communities.


Engagement with existing work in the area

This WG has members from the Make Data Count project, a Sloan grant between the California Digital Library, DataCite, and DataONE to build the technical infrastructure for data-level-metrics. For data usage metrics to work, the WG will need to leverage existing initiatives (CrossRef Event Data, DataCite) and work closely with RDA/WDS Scholarly Link Exchange WG. As part of the Publishing Data IG, the WG will work closely with the repository, publisher, and library communities to ensure data usage metrics have widespread community input and buy-in.


Work Plan


Goals and Deliverables (18 months):

  1. Community consensus on use cases and priorities for data usage metrics

  2. Development of a standardized recommendation for counting research data usage metrics and citations

  3. Community feedback and testing of data usage metrics in repositories

  4. Global repository adoption of standardized data usage metrics

  5. Researcher education around utilizing data usage metrics

  6. Collection of needs from research stakeholders for future iterations of data metrics


Milestones & Timeline:

  • RDA Plenary 11, Spring 2018

    • Share goals and deliverables and receive community input

    • Conversation on Goal 1: community consensus on use cases and priorities for data usage metrics

    • Share out of Goal 2: standardized recommendation for counting research data usage metrics and citations

  • Summer, 2018

    • Goal 3: Community feedback and testing of data usage metrics in repositories

    • Milestone: Adoption in a couple of repositories

  • RDA Plenary 12,  Fall 2018

    • Goal 4: Global repository adoption

    • Goal 5: Development of materials and outreach for awareness of data usage metrics

    • Intermediate deliverable: Development of use cases and progress report on adoption in repositories

  • Winter, 2019

    • Goal 4: Global repository adoption

    • Intermediate deliverable: Share out to community of progress in adoption of data usage metrics

    • Intermediate deliverable: Iteration of recommendation around data usage metrics

  • RDA Plenary 13, Spring 2019

    • Goal 6: Collection of needs from research stakeholders for future of data usage metrics

    • Report out to community on next steps and needs for data usage metrics as well as progress in 18 months of developing standards and driving adoption of data usage metrics


The WG plans to meet at each RDA for the next 18 months as well as web meetings monthly (when there is not an RDA Plenary). The WG would have consistent communication (via email listserv) throughout the 18 months with updates on deliverables as well as ongoing work in the data metrics space.


While there may be disagreements or difficulty building consensus in an area that does not yet have standards, the WG would be keen to involve as many members from the various communities involved in research data as possible (to illustrate the full landscape) and would work methodically to ensure the community is in agreement about each piece of the deliverables. Standards would be developed with community input. WG Plenary sessions would not be a presentation but rather a working meeting to use the time as a consensus building and feedback session to ensure deliverables are in line with community needs.


The RDA community is large and diverse but this WG would look beyond the WG to ensure researchers (end users) are involved and supportive, and to to drive adoption to as many repositories and institutions as possible. Utilizing connections from WG members and displaying successful implementation in WG member repositories, the WG would be focused on mass adoption and community buy-in.


Adoption Plan

Data usage metrics would be implemented within repository organizations that are involved in the WG and further pushed out to the larger repository community. Initially, data usage metrics will be implemented on the Dash platform (California Digital Library), DataONE repositories, and Mendeley Data (Elsevier) for early adoption. Implementation in these three spaces will show the broad scope of ways to implement and documentation about each will aid with mass-adoption. Institutions in the WG will be able to implement data usage metrics for institutional repositories and publishers will be able to display data usage metrics in relation to the corresponding article-level-metrics. Funders involved in the WG will be able to utilize these data usage metrics and push for grantees to be depositing in repositories with these metrics (and reporting back on them).