Background to “Palaeo sea-level and ice-sheet databases: problems, strategies and perspectives”

This post is about the new paper, which got out this week by a group of authors, including me, on databases. The title of the paper is “Palaeo sea-level and ice-sheet databases: problems, strategies and perspectives” and was published in Climate of the Past. It bases on discussions and results of a PALSEA2 meeting in 2014 in Lochinver and was compiled by many leading scientists in this field.

The fundamental question this paper addresses is how to bring the information gathered in the field are brought to those using the data for their analysis. A medium for this are databases and many scientists create their own in many different ways. But how to make them reusable by other scientists in the best possible way is a huge task. As such this paper shows some general guidelines for the workflow of database creation and which steps should be taken in the future. It focusses therein on palaeo sea-level and ice-sheet data as they are used to investigate the development of the sea-level in the past thousands and millions of years.

This post should be an introduction to some other background posts, which I intend to write in the next weeks on further details of the paper. The topics I intend to write about are

  1. What makes palaeo sea-level and ice-sheet data so special?
  2. What does ATTAC^3 mean for scientific data handling?
  3. Data publishing? Isn’t that a solved issue?
  4. Data citation and the problem with the H-index
  5. What can the future bring?

With these topics I hope to enlight some more details of this topic from my personal view.

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