A Case Study in Astronomy Data Management

Publication Year:
2016
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Repository URL:
https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/escience_symposium/2016/posters/14
Author(s):
Megan Potterbusch
artifact description
Objective: By using the data practices of a particular astronomy research team using the radial velocity method to discover exoplanets as a guiding case example, this poster demonstrates data management practices for multiteam, research collaborations in the field of astronomy.Methods: This project began with a 60 minute interview with the local primary investigator on a research team using the radial velocity method to discover exoplanets. This interview was transcribed and used to determine the data management practices currently in place. Using a transcription of the interview to determine the data management practices currently in place, areas for improvement were found based on class discussion, lectures, and readings. The New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum’s Simplified Data Management Plan and the “DCC Curation Lifecycle Model” proved particularly useful in this process.Results: Using the aforementioned Simplified Data Management Plan as a guide, areas in need of improvement were determined and highlighted as were areas of success. This poster serves to display these results.Conclusion: In many ways, the astronomy field is exceptional in terms of data and metadata management; however, challenges still arise when dealing with newer technology. Best practices for management and preservation of programmed algorithms, such as the Python pipeline, continue to develop. The perception of infinite digital storage capacity can lead to poor data curation practices. Overall, the specificity of the astronomy discipline benefits from well established domain-based practices.