GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 4-7
Presentation Time: 9:35 AM


ADAMS, Elizabeth and ARPIN, Sarah, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, 504 Rose St, Lexington, KY 40506

Data management best practices are becoming key factors to consider when working in the research community. Funding agencies require data management plans and data products that adhere to FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable); however, few researchers have the tools or knowledge to implement these ideas effectively. The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) formed a digital data working group in 2019 to create an organized approach for staff participation in the data curation and management processes. Over the course of two years, the working group has identified tangible objectives and produced several tools designed to increase staff buy-in and improve KGS data management practices. Working group members reviewed and created policies regarding data curation and management, with an end goal of ensuring KGS data complies with national/international data standards and the organization stayed on par with current research trends.

Continued support from the administrative level, including key action items in the KGS strategic plan, has encouraged staff to engage in discussions about proper data management and has been vitally important for creating a shift in the organization’s culture and thinking around data management. Likewise, the buy-in from staff has been equally important to the working group’s success. Staff’s willingness to use the tools and resources developed by the working group has increased their knowledge base and comfort level with data management concepts, resulting in a shift in their project implementation and archiving practices. The working group gained a collective voice to advocate for change at the policy and workflow level and a comprehensive perspective of the organization’s data framework, as well as a community to lean on when addressing individual data challenges. These successes have not come without challenges. Legacy data, working at cross purposes with other internal groups, ensuring staff workloads are not too great, and a shift in thinking about data management all had to be address by the working group.

Implementing good practices in research data management at both an organizational and individual level is difficult. The KGS digital data working group provides a good model for other agencies and organizations to learn from.