Paper No. 244-4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
WHO IS USING OUR DATASETS AND DATA PRODUCTS?
Who is using our datasets and data products? Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science (USGS EROS) Center ask this question often, not out of curiosity, but because they need to know. At the EROS Center, datasets and data products that reveal the Earth’s land cover, land use, and land change are compiled, created, and made available free-of-charge via the Web. Understanding how those data and products are used by stakeholders can shed light on the data strengths. Conversely, understanding how the data and products are used can also throw a spotlight on where they fall short, where there are data gaps and data weaknesses. Knowing who is using the data and products, how they are being used, and their strong and weak points can help determine what processes and products should be sustained as well as what can be improved in the data project. But, discovering who is using datasets and products, and how they are being used, is not always straightforward and easy. Citations to data and data products used in research and applications are inconsistent, sometimes nonexistent. Recent efforts to apply standards to data citation notwithstanding, citations to data and data products remain variable and unpredictable, making it difficult to track their usage. However, by leveraging a number of search tools and strategies, it is possible to discover usage of datasets and data products across the spectrum of user communities.