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    News 2023-07-26

    Landmark Publication: How to Apply FAIR Principles to Phytolith Datasets

    This landmark paper shows how data sharing and management can be improved in phytolith studies!

    Research on phytoliths – rigid structures of silica that form in plant material – can help us understand how plants were used in archaeological contexts and learn more about past landscapes in palaeoecology. Many methods have been used by researchers in multiple disciplines to study phytoliths, resulting in highly disparate datasets.

    The EOSC-Life – Phytolith Connection

    Because the data in published studies are rarely shared and transparent, these data are hard to find and understand…and, therefore, difficult to reuse. The FAIR Phytoliths Project is trying to change this with support from EOSC-Life by examining published phytolith research and determining how data sharing and management can be improved using the FAIR principles as a framework.


    Landmark Paper Published

    In a recent landmark paper published in Nature – Scientific Data, Celine Kerfant (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) and Emma Karoune (Historic England) and colleagues from Texas A&M University and IMF-CSIC sampled and assessed 100 articles of phytolith research (2016–2020) to examine how FAIR principles were applied. Findings from this dataset were then used to propose FAIR guidance that will make publishing data and research in phytolith studies more sustainable.

    Long-term Goals

    Based on these study findings, the authors plan to develop training materials for phytolith researchers so that a wide range of tools will be available to improve data sharing and collaboration among them.

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