maximize the long-term value of your data

Ethan White et al. have published a paper entitled, “Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data“.  This paper provides some extremely useful tips and guidelines for formatting and structuring your data in order to maximize its long-term value.  The guidelines are based on three general principles: “Well documented data are easier to understand”, “Properly formatted data are easier to use in a variety of software”, and “Data that are shared in established repositories with open licenses is easier for others to find and use”.  I very highly recommend that all students, and established researchers take a look at these guidelines and start following them ASAP.  If you establish the right habitats early on, then they will require little extra work on your part and will increase the value of your studies and the data they generate greatly.  If you wait, it only becomes more and more difficult, if not impossible, to retroactively reformat data and the value of that data for future studies, your own and those of others, is greatly diminished.

The ways to make it easier to (re)use your data are:
1. Share your data
2. Provide metadata
3. Provide an unprocessed form of the data
4. Use standard data formats
     -Use standard file formats
     -Use standard table formats
     -Use standard formats within cells
5. Use good null values
6. Make it easy to combine your data with other datasets
7. Perform basic quality control
8. Use an established repository
9. Use an established and open license



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