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Re: Fishery data bases/Why is there so m


James Kirkley <[log in to unmask]>


Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>


Tue, 3 Dec 1996 07:15:29 -0500





text/plain (1 lines)

I am getting in on the data discussion quite late but I think the data
access problems are perhaps overblown. Some US agencies have incurred
substantial cost and time to make data available from a webb site. You can
now download a tremendous amount of commercial and recreational data from
NMFS in a minimal amount of time. Data are also available from the National
Weather Service and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture as well as several other
federal agencies. FAO also has quite a bit of data available. It sounds as
though the data problems are specific to certain geographic regions of the

Regarding researcher collected data. This is a fuzzy area. Technically,
data funded by a U.S. federal agency should be available to anyone wanting
the data once a grant/contract report or data collection exercise is
completed. In fact, most U.S. agencies require the raw data to be submitted
as part of the contract. There are cases of confidentiality, however, where
data simply cannot be released to the public. Even then, though,
arrangements can often be made with the agency to utilize the data provided
certain precautions are taken.

At the same time, I have to admit that I do not make my data available to
researchers unless (1) the data are necessary to verify results in a paper
under peer review, (2) the data are to be used by a student engaged in
research for a thesis, or (3) the individual wanting the data agrees to
allow me the opportunity to co-author a paper with them. Like many other
researchers, I have invested a lot of my own time and expense building up
contacts with industry in order to obtain very detailed data on catch,
effort, costs, earnings, stock abundance, density, age-class distribution,
and other important variables. I fully intend to "milk" these data for
several years. At the same time, I frequently provide analyses for state
and federal management agencies at no cost to them.

Other than downloading available data, I have found that simply talking to
other researchers in an honest and open manner has enabled me to have access
to considerable data. I would never, however, ask a researcher for data
that they are presently using to prepare a report or peer-reviewed paper
unless I also offered them the opportunity to be a co-author with me. If I
was working on a problem for an agency, I would ask the agency to compensate
the researcher for using their data.

Data access really comes down to common courtesy.

Jim Kirkley
James (Jim) E. Kirkley
College of William and Mary
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
School of Marine Science
Gloucester Point, VA 23062

e-mail:[log in to unmask]

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