The National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) sits within the British Geological Survey (BGS) and collects and preserves geoscientific data and information, making them available for the long-term to a wide range of users and communities. The data it holds covers many geological disciplines dealing with the physical structure of the Earth and the processes that act on it, as measured from geological time to near-real-time sensor and data streams. It is the NGDC policy to preserve this data, which underpins the existing scientific record, and make it accessible and reusable.
Further to depositing data with the NGDC for curation, the Data Centre can also assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to deposited datasets. DOIs provide a permanent link to information about the data and allow it to be correctly cited in journals and other publications. This enables researchers to receive credit for their work while also allowing future users to easily refer to original data when conducting new research. Providing this service opens the door to new and innovative applications of the original data, while reuse adds value to the initial investment and effort used to create and collect the data.
An example of the power of data reuse comes from BGS geophysicist, Dr Ciaran Beggan who in 2018, conducted research on the magnetic field of the ionosphere using measurements from magnetometers at Eskdalemuir Observatory. His research utilised five years of high frequency magnetic field induction coil data recorded by these magnetometers between 2012-2017. The research involved processing a large amount of magnetic data and extracting key parameters of the magnetic vibrations at high frequency. Following the project end, a peer reviewed paper was published, and to comply with journal open access stipulations, the underlying datasets were deposited with the NGDC, who published them and assigned each a DOI (Beggan & Musur, 2018).
Through clicking the assigned DOI, readers of the journal paper were able to find and access the relevant data. This allowed the data to be reused and reapplied by a group of Hungarian researchers at Nagycenk Observatory who were investigating how global lightning is affected by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Eskdalemuir is coincidentally sited in a good position to sense lightning in locations which are responsive to El Niño variations. The Hungarian group showed that there is a strong pre-cursor increase in lightning detected at Eskdalemuir prior to a large ENSO, allowing predictions of future ENSO intensity to be made (Williams et al, 2021).
Depositing environmental data with the NERC Environmental Data Service (in one of its affiliated data centres such as the NGDC) helps researchers comply with UKRIs Open Access Policy requirement, as a journal data access statement including the citation of a dataset with a DOI ensures underlying research materials associated with a research paper are made available and readers are informed on how the materials can be accessed.
Dr Ciaran Beggan, a leading geophysicist at the British Geological Survey says
I found the process of depositing my data with the NGDC and receiving a DOI to be very straightforward. Having now realised the impact and personal recognition from doing this, I now ensure I deposit all my data to make it available to other researchers and encourage others to do the same.
By facilitating open access to this data, the NERC EDS has enabled the data to be reused leading to novel insights, not originally envisioned when the data was collected, whilst also ensuring recognition to the initial research team who collected the original data.
Williams, E.; Bozóki, T.; Sátori, G.; Price, C.; Steinbach, P.; Guha, A.; Liu, Y.; Beggan, C.D.; Neska, M.; Boldi, R.; Atkinson, M.. 2021 Evolution of global lightning in the transition from cold to warm phase preceding two super El Niño events. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126 (3), e2020JD033526. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JD033526
Beggan, C. & Musur, M.. (2018). Observation of Ionospheric Alfvén Resonances at 1-30 Hz and Their Superposition With the Schumann Resonances. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 123. 10.1029 e2018JA025264. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JA025264
British Geological Survey. (2018). 2017 High frequency magnetic field induction coil data from Eskdalemuir Observatory, UK [Data set]. British Geological Survey. http://dx.doi.org/10.5285/25de906d-a3cd-4d64-8644-77f98aafeba6
British Geological Survey. (2018). 2016 High frequency magnetic field induction coil data from Eskdalemuir Observatory, UK [Data set]. British Geological Survey. http://dx.doi.org/10.5285/aaf20915-1c3e-40f3-bc00-dafe593ff9e5
British Geological Survey. (2018). 2015 High frequency magnetic field induction coil data from Eskdalemuir Observatory, UK [Data set]. British Geological Survey. http://dx.doi.org/10.5285/c09b051d-94ac-4aec-a49f-34d8b4cd1327
British Geological Survey. (2018). 2014 High frequency magnetic field induction coil data from Eskdalemuir Observatory, UK [Data set]. British Geological Survey. http://dx.doi.org/10.5285/397aa96c-3377-4039-a417-3111f1522214
British Geological Survey. (2018). 2013 High frequency magnetic field induction coil data from Eskdalemuir Observatory, UK [Data set]. British Geological Survey. http://dx.doi.org/10.5285/6c18b97e-860a-4c47-8872-bedbe953c2ab
British Geological Survey. (2018). 2012 High frequency magnetic field induction coil data from Eskdalemuir Observatory, UK [Data set]. British Geological Survey. http://dx.doi.org/10.5285/6dcca520-47f2-45bd-9fd1-61354450d17d