News from Base Service Repositories and Storage (S-4)

In the NFDI4Ing Base Service Repositories & Storage (S-4), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, RWTH Aachen University, Technical University of Darmstadt and University of Stuttgart are working together on curating, facilitating and improving access to research data repositories and storage systems for engineers.

Data Collections Explorer

In discussions with several NFDI4Ing task areas, it became clear that there exists a lot of “hidden knowledge” of where to find datasets. Quite a bit of frustration was evident, too, because in some fields little or no data is published.

To ameliorate this, we are working on the Data Collections Explorer, an information system which aims to provide an overview of research data repositories, archives, databases as well as individual data sets of relevance to the engineering community. We focus on two use cases to address this situation and contribute to better findability and accessibility:
  1. Scientists searching for data sets: Suppose you are an engineer working on new methods in autonomous driving. Are there datasets available to aid in your research? Are there benchmarks available to check your results? Are these datasets available open access?
  2. Scientist looking to publish data sets: Suppose you are a PhD researcher and you have a dataset which you intend to publish. Which community specific repositories exist? Which repositories are suitable to publish the research data? Do repositories restrict the size of the datasets that can be uploaded and if yes, what are the limits? Are publication fees charged and if so, how much is charged?
To facilitate answering these questions, the Data Collections Explorer provides menus to filter for type (such as archive, repository, digital library, etc.), subject area, and whether the data is published open access. In addition, a free text search is also available. Where appropriate and available, information on data size limits and publishing fees is provided.

The Data Collections Explorer complements re3data as it includes entries which are outside the scope of re3data (e.g., bibliographies, individual datasets) or which are not listed (e.g., privately curated databases and repositories). The Data Collections Explorer was released to the public in early March and is in active development. Based on community feedback, we already added over 20 new entries. Discussions are ongoing and we intend to finish our first round of interviews (primarily within the NFDI4Ing community) by the end of the third quarter of 2022.

Storage Offers

Concerning storage solutions for research data, we have compiled a list of storage offers available at our institutions. It has been published as a dynamically generated website. Currently, work is being done on handling metadata at the file system level as well as implementing new concepts to meet increasing data integrity requirements.
Philipp Ost