Big data are difficult to handle. These tips and tricks can smooth the way.
Big data are everywhere in research, and the data sets are only getting bigger — and more challenging to work with. Unfortunately, says Tracy Teal, it’s a kind of labour that’s too often left out of scientific training.
“It’s a mindset,” says Teal, “treating data as a first-class citizen.” She should know: Teal was until last month the executive director of The Carpentries, an organization in Oakland, California, that teaches coding and data skills to researchers globally. She says there’s a tendency in the research community to dismiss the time and effort needed to manage and share data, and not to regard it as a real part of science. But, she suggests, “we can shift our mindset to valuing that work as a part of the research process”, rather than treating it as an afterthought.
Here are 11 tips for making the most of your large data sets.