Thursday Threads: Data Management Plans, Better Q/A Sessions, App for Bird Identification

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Where Should You Keep Your Data?

Federal funding agencies have made it clear that grant proposals must include plans for sharing research data with other scientists. What has not been clear is how and where researchers should store their data, which can range from sensitive personal medical information to enormous troves of satellite imagery. ...

The good news is that formal policies — with recommendations for storage — are beginning to emerge from federal agencies. The bad news is that if you don’t comply with the new policies, you might be prohibited from receiving additional grant money.

- Where Should You Keep Your Data?, by Karen M. Markin, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23-Jun-2015

The even better news? Libraries are gearing up to help you. The article suggests searching for "data-management plan" in your university's search engine. It also points to the "DMP Tool," hosted by the University of California. It provides free, interactive forms that guide your preparation of data management plans.

Index Card-based Question and Answer Sessions

Here is the formula:

  1. Throw away the audience microphones.
  2. Buy a pack of index cards.
  3. Hand out the cards to the audience before or during your talk.
  4. Ask people to write their questions on the cards and pass them to the end of the row.
  5. Collect the cards at the end of the talk.
  6. Flip through the cards and answer only good (or funny) questions.
  7. Optional: have an accomplice collect and screen the questions for you during the talk.

Better yet, if you are a conference organizer, buy enough index cards for every one of your talks and tell your speakers and volunteers to use them.

I love this idea. It is a great way to get questions from people who aren't confident enough (or quick enough) to get to the aisle microphones to ask questions. It also allows the the speaker to get to the most interesting questions from the audience. A second optional suggestion: have another accomplice transcribe questions from Twitter for both in-person and livestream attendees.

What's that Bird? There is an App for That!

Part of the mission of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is to help people answer the question, “What is that bird?” And so, in collaboration with the Visipedia research project, they’ve designed Merlin, a free app available on iTunes and Google Play.

- What Kind of Bird Is That?: A Free App From Cornell Will Give You the Answer, by head.js("//");

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Dan Colman">Dan Colman, Open Culture, 10-Jun-2015

Our family tried this one out in the backyard, and it works! Here is a video created by Cornell that shows off the app.