AI and new standards promise to make scientific data more useful by making it reusable and accessible

Article by Bradley Wade Bishop: “…AI makes it highly desirable for any data to be machine-actionable – that is, usable by machines without human intervention. Now, scholars can consider machines not only as tools but also as potential autonomous data reusers and collaborators.

The key to machine-actionable data is metadata. Metadata are the descriptions scientists set for their data and may include elements such as creator, date, coverage and subject. Minimal metadata is minimally useful, but correct and complete standardized metadata makes data more useful for both people and machines.

It takes a cadre of research data managers and librarians to make machine-actionable data a reality. These information professionals work to facilitate communication between scientists and systems by ensuring the quality, completeness and consistency of shared data.

The FAIR data principles, created by a group of researchers called FORCE11 in 2016 and used across the world, provide guidance on how to enable data reuse by machines and humans. FAIR data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable – meaning it has robust and complete metadata.

In the past, I’ve studied how scientists discover and reuse data. I found that scientists tend to use mental shortcuts when they’re looking for data – for example, they may go back to familiar and trusted sources or search for certain key terms they’ve used before. Ideally, my team could build this decision-making process of experts and remove as many biases as possible to improve AI. The automation of these mental shortcuts should reduce the time-consuming chore of locating the right data…(More)”.