Monkey Forest Tales: What to do with old data? Collaborate

Sometimes when we collect data, we not always published immediately, it not necessarily is data we will use in the current project. In today’s post we will talk a bit about what to do with all that extra and most of the time old data you have.

Most of my professional life, I had been in the field following monkeys and collecting different types of data. Mostly detailed behavioral and ecological data. This means over the years my databases had grown a lot and some of that data is from a long time ago. So, what to do with that data? How can I publish data from several years, or even decades ago? One option is collaborating with other researchers.

You can compare old data with recent data from the same area or compare old data with data from multiple sites and compare that data with more recent data. If you have spatial data, share that spatial data in repositories, so other researcher looking at historical data can use your old data in multiple year comparisons.

We had been taught that most of the data we collected needs to be published immediately, otherwise it lost its value, but the publishing process is not always easy of fast enough, so we finish with a lot of old data and not always know what to do with it. Sharing data is an important part of doing science that can make science more open, it will depend on all of us to make easier to share raw data, just remember to give credit to the people who collect it, they are as important as the people who analyzed and publish it.

For those of my generation, we all experience at some time unethical practices that makes us guard our data even more carefully than people from new generations, but that shouldn’t stop us to share data collected a few decades ago that can be used to save the animals we study and love. It has been a long and sometimes not so nice process for me, but I still believe there is a lot of opportunities in sharing data, new and old with researcher from different disciplines if we do it based on respect for each other.

So, if you think some of the data of Zocay Project can be used to your project, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’m sure we can arrange for you to use some of this project data…you just have to ask.

© Copyright Disclaimer. All pictures used on this web page are protected with copyrights to Xyomara Carretero-Pinzón. If you want to use any of these pictures, please leave a message on the website. Thank you.

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