Opening Up Climate Research: A Linked Data Approach to Publishing Data Provenance

Arif Shaon, Sarah Callaghan, Bryan Lawrence, Brian Matthews, Timothy Osborn, Colin Harpham, Andrew Woolf


Traditionally, the formal scientific output in most fields of natural science has been limited to peer-reviewed academic journal publications, with less attention paid to the chain of intermediate data results and their associated metadata, including provenance. In effect, this has constrained the representation and verification of the data provenance to the confines of the related publications. Detailed knowledge of a dataset’s provenance is essential to establish the pedigree of the data for its effective re-use, and to avoid redundant re-enactment of the experiment or computation involved. It is increasingly important for open-access data to determine their authenticity and quality, especially considering the growing volumes of datasets appearing in the public domain. To address these issues, we present an approach that combines the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) – a widely adopted citation technique – with existing, widely adopted climate science data standards to formally publish detailed provenance of a climate research dataset as an associated scientific workflow. This is integrated with linked-data compliant data re-use standards (e.g. OAI-ORE) to enable a seamless link between a publication and the complete trail of lineage of the corresponding dataset, including the dataset itself.

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The International Journal of Digital Curation. ISSN: 1746-8256
The IJDC is published by the University of Edinburgh
and is a publication of the Digital Curation Centre.