Open Context aims to make research data a valuable and valued aspect of scholarly communications, especially in archaeology. Its development is necessarily a long-term project because it requires inventing a host of new work-flows that can mesh with the realities of the professional lives of researchers.
Researchers face tremendous time pressures. This makes them generally unwilling to commit a great deal of time to activities that they consider to be 2nd or 3rd on the priority list. At the same time, many recognize that communicating primary data advances research, and many of the researchers with whom we collaborate want to be part of this “cutting edge.”
In our experience working with Open Context, we find plenty of researchers willing to openly publish their data. But to do so they need assistance on a variety of levels. Meaningful data sharing is hard. It takes time and effort to clean up datasets and improve data quality. It also takes time and effort to research and apply relevant standards that help make datasets more useful and intelligible (see our recent NEH/IMLS report).
Because of this effort and complexity, we believe the research community needs specialists with both information expertise and domain knowledge to assist in publishing primary data. To help improve the quality of Open Context’s data, we’re developing editorial work-flows for data publication. We’re pleased to announce Open Context’s new Editorial Board, a body of subject-matter experts who advise on data publication work-flows:
- Levant Atici (University of Nevada, Las Vegas): Paleolithic archaeology, zooarchaeology and taphonomy, foraging economies, the origins of animal domestication and the emergence of farming communities, the evolution of pastoral economies, the emergence of social complexity and state-level societies
- Harrison Eitteljorg, II (Bryn Mawr): Classical archaeology, architecture, computer applications in archaeology, archaeological data preservation
- Catherine P. Foster (MicroCommons and the Bade Museum): Ancient Near East, museums, households, microdebris analysis
- Sebastian Heath (ISAW / New York University): Classical archaeology, numismatics, ceramics, informatics, Linked Data
- Lori Jahnke (The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania): Biological anthropology, paleopathology, human variation, Andean bioarchaeology, medical and library informatics
- Morag Kersel (DePaul University): Ancient Near East, Aegean, cultural property and heritage law, museums, tourism
- Sannie Osborn (US Army Corps of Engineers): North American archaeology, historical archaeology, regulatory expertise, public archaeology
- Benjamin Porter (UC Berkeley): Islamic and Ancient Near East, agriculture, craft, semi-arid environments, community archaeology and development
- Yorke Rowan (University of Chicago): Lithics, survey, pre- and protohistory, eastern Mediterranean, religion, households
- Alexia Smith (University of Connecticut): Agriculture, agricultural development, palaeoethnobotany, climate change and landscape use, ecological anthropology; Bronze and Iron Age archaeology of the Near East
- Joshua Wells (Indiana University, South Bend): GIS, North American archaeology, Mississippian, archaeological informatics, education