Small files – Big impact: B2Share Nordic

The need for storing scientific data grows rapidly along with the technological development. The need to store in the easiest and most accessible way grows too. B2Share is an answer to this need.

On the 24-25 September 2014 the European Data Infrastructure – EUDAT – hosts their 3rd conference in Amsterdam addressing how to develop data infrastructure from a user perspective. The project B2Share is part of this. The project is large and has national coordinators. To take care of the Nordic needs, NeIC is running a project called B2Share Nordic. The purpose is to coordinate specific needs from the Nordic researchers, and adapt the database to these. Until 31st October 2014 you can make your needs known. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Nordic project manager Dan Still at NeIC.

NeIC spoke with Francesca Iozzi, who is the Norwegian national coordinator of the project. We asked her, what B2Share Nordic actually means to the individual researcher.

What is the purpose of B2Share?

- I prefer to give you an idea of the scope of B2Share by starting from my personal experience as an academic researcher (before I started in my current position). I remember having a lot of small files, for example excel files, different analyses, tables. All kinds of data and tools I used on a daily basis to produce computation and analyze my data. I have done different postdocs, and each time I used a new laptop. So, I had small sets of important data on at least three laptops. I needed a place to store and share these, and to be sure that I would always be able to find and keep them, says Ms Iozzi.

And how does B2Share achieve that?

- B2Share is a service that has been developed under the European Data Infrastructure project EUDAT. It is a web-based tool that allows research communities to store and share their data. It is very user-friendly, as you can upload data (together with metadata), store and share your data in three clicks. It is free of charge and can be used after registration. And the registration takes only 30 seconds, believe me! It offers a possibility for long-term storage, so you upload your data on B2Share and you will have them available for 5 years and more.

It almost sounds like the commercial iCloud where I store my pictures and music. There must be something more to it?

- Yes, it is something like that. But first of all iCloud is commercial and B2Share it is not. Furthermore and more importantly, B2Share is a platform for researchers who want to share their data. When you upload a data object in B2Share you “almost” automatically attach a set of metadata to it and these make your data searchable. And remember: sharing is the basis of good research! Sharing makes you visible in the scientific community and increases the chances of being cited. When I said that metadata are attached to the data object “almost” automatically, I mean that before you upload the data on B2Share you have to fill in a template form like: name of the object, author, date of creation etc. Those are the standard metadata. But what make B2Share special is the ability to tailor the metadata template to the need of the scientific community you belong to. For example, metadata used to describe an insect are different from those to describe a text in literature. And this is precisely the scope of the B2Share Nordic project: to define and promote the implementation of metadata template that are customised to the needs of Nordic scientific communities.

And this is already in place?

- B2Share was deployed in January 2014, and has been in use since then. B2Share Nordic, i.e. the customised version for the Nordic scientific communities, is under development. This is why I’m here at the EGI Community Forum – to pick up on needs and requirements from the Nordic research communities.

More on B2Share Nordic.