National SHaRED system to protect lifetime of research

Environmental scientists right across Australia will have access to a ground breaking system for storing and publishing all-important data collected in the field thanks to a new online tool being developed by University of Adelaide scientists.

“This project is aimed at safeguarding many lifetimes of vital information collected about Australian ecosystems,” says Professor Andrew Lowe from the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute, who is associate science director of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) at the University.

“In the course of their careers, ecologists produce huge volumes of data for research, and after publishing their work they often store the data on their own personal computers for many years.

“There are many risks associated with this that could lead to the data being lost forever. This includes the rapid turnover of computer technology, data corruption, or computer damage or theft.

“A national system that allows scientists across Australia to store their work safely and securely and to receive acknowledgement when it’s used by other scientists will be of great benefit to ecological research,” Professor Lowe says.

The $800,000 project is the first of its kind in the ecology world and will result in a new eResearch tool called Submission, Harmonisation and Retrieval of Ecological Data (SHaRED). The tool will encourage scientists to store – and share – their data in a common and secure repository.

SHaRED is being developed by scientists from TERN’s Eco-informatics Facility, based at the University of Adelaide.

“SHaRED will benefit ecosystem scientists and revolutionise the way they manage and share their research data,” Professor Lowe says.

Professor Tim Clancy, Director of TERN, says: “SHaRED will be a major step forward, ultimately delivering huge amounts of previously unavailable scientific data to support ecosystem science, education and management.

“It will help to strengthen research networks and scientific collaborations by providing information about other researchers and their scientific endeavours, stimulating increased communication and partnerships,” Professor Clancy says.

TERN Eco-informatics Facility is proud to be in partnership with the NeCTAR project to create a unique opportunity to develop ecological e-research tools to create new science and build diverse research collaborations. The project is funded through a partnership with the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR), an Australian Government project conducted as part of the Super Science initiative and funded by the Educational Investment Fund.

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