NISO Publishes Data Curation Themed Issue of Information Standards Quarterly in Open Access

Baltimore, MD - October 17, 2013 - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of the Fall 2013 issue of Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ) with a special theme of Data Curation. Interest in the topic of data curation has increased greatly as many governments and funding organizations have mandated that publicly funded research must be made more openly available–including not only the results published in journal articles, but also the underlying data. As a result, much discussion and work is under way around the process and tools needed to ensure that data can be made accessible for reuse and preserved for the long-term.
"If I were to sum up the topic that comes up time and time again, not only in the articles in this issue, it is the necessity for standards to enable digital curation," states Sarah Callaghan, Research Scientist and Project Manager, British Atmospheric Data Centre, and guest content editor for the issue. "It doesn't matter what type of data is curated; anything from metadata about research projects, publications and grey literature, the methodologies and results of laboratory work, or the measurements from long-term observational missions. One thing is certain, the rate at which data is created is increasing so dramatically that the only way to manage curation is to automate it, and the only way to do that is to have standardized structures and ontologies."

The feature article by Colin L. Bird, Cerys Willoughby, Simon J. Coles, and Jeremy G. Frey discusses Data Curation Issues in the Chemical Sciences, specifically the extent to which chemists respect the importance of curation in their day-to-day activities in the laboratory and at their computers. The authors emphasize that an essential ingredient in the curation process is metadata, particularly at the time data and information are created, which they describe as "curation at source."

Three "in practice" articles provide case studies for how data is curated in the European scholarly community in general and specifically in the fields of archeology and earth sciences. Jochen Schirrwagen and co-authors describe Data Curation in the OpenAIRE Scholarly Communication Infrastructure, the European Union initiative for an open access infrastructure for access to the research output of European funded projects and open access content from a network of institutional and disciplinary repositories. Ray Moore and Tim Evans discuss Preserving the Grey Literature Explosion: PDF/A and the Digital Archive in the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), with particular emphasis on the pros and cons of using the PDF Archival format as a standard for preservation. Esther Conway and her co-authors examine the challenges in Ensuring the Long Term Impact of Earth Science Data through Data Curation and Preservation, since much of earth sciences data occurs from natural phenomena and is not reproducible. They point out the societal benefits in preserving such data for use in areas such as disaster management, human health, sustainable energy resources, climate change, water quality and availability, ecosystem protection, and agriculture management.

"NISO is becoming increasingly involved in discussions and work surrounding data curation," states Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director. "As the articles in this issue show, standards originally developed for managing electronic journals, such as the Digital Object Identifier and PDF/A, are now being applied to data as well. The articles also point out many areas where standards work is still needed, such as data citation, metadata, preservation formats, and metrics, to mention a few."

Information Standards Quarterly is available in open access in electronic format on the NISO website. Both the entire Fall 2013 Data Curation issue of ISQ and the individual articles may be freely downloaded. Print copies are available by subscription and as print on demand. To access the free electronic version, visit:

About Information Standards Quarterly
Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ) is NISO's print and electronic magazine for communicating standards-based technology and best practices in library, publishing, and information technology, particularly where these three areas overlap. ISQ reports on the progress of active developments and also on implementations, case studies, and best practices that show potentially replicable efforts. For more information, visit:

About NISO
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: For more information, contact NISO at (301) 654-2512 or via e-mail at