Paper No. 308-6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM
THE VALUE OF OLD DATA: TRENDS IN GSA DATA REPOSITORY USAGE
The GSA Data Repository (DR) was established in 1974 as an open file in which authors of articles in GSA journals and books could place information that supplements and expands on their original papers. While not intended as a true data repository, meaning the data in the DR cannot be searched or manipulated on the online site, its usage provides a glimpse of the value of older data. The online version began in 1996, but only included data back to 1992. By 2004 the online version had expanded to include the complete archive, but analysis of DR usage did not become possible until April 2011, when GSA installed Google Analytics. Today, these analytics provide information about the location of DR users and how their usage has changed over time. For example, U.S.-based usage dropped 5% from 2011 to 2013, while China-based usage increased 37% in that same time frame. In addition, GSA can also determine what years of content people are viewing and how this usage may compare to the archive usage of the original papers. While GSA has no plans to stop providing access to older data, my research suggests that the scientific community remains divided on how long organizations should maintain data, with some suggesting indefinitely and others as little as three years. The GSA DR usage shows that 37% of views occur for data five years old or older, suggesting that data should be kept for more than five years. In comparison, usage for older papers remains higher. Sixty-nine and 55 percent of the usage for GSA Bulletin and Geology occurs with content more than 5 years old.