Sunday, 26 March 2017

Post from Dr. Stefan Pauliuk

Dear colleagues,

the ISIE council has approved of a task force on data transparency (cc) to develop proposals for how to increase the transparency and data availability of industrial ecology research, including MFA.

The rationales behind the initiative are i) to speed up progress and facilitate cumulative research by making more data easier available, ii) to increase the usage of research results outside our own field, and iii) to respond to the increasing number of transparency demands from research funders.

Part of our mandate is to review data sharing practice (with a focus on best practice) and recommend improvements for the different IE research fields. In that regard, I have two requests:

1) For a JIE forum piece on the topic, which is to be launched at the Chicago conference, we are looking for examples for exceptional transparency in MFA research. What are, in your opinion, good examples of MFA research where
+ an MFA article surprised you by publishing its entire or large parts of its data inventory alongside the final results?
+ the authors of an MFA study made part of their data inventory public whilst at the same time protecting specific proprietary data points?
+ a recent article managed to format its data or results such that they were easy to import and re-use?
+ a recent publication was accompanied with methods such that you could readily reproduce all its calculations and data manipulations?

2) To encourage data sharing we want to point to specific data formats. In MFA a widely accepted data format, that could play a role similar to the one of ecospold in LCA or SUTs in IO, is still absent. Based on previous experience from working with Daniel Müller and with input from Rupert Myers, who is currently building a database for the STAF project at Yale, I developed a template that lists the mandatory and optional attributes and descriptors of MFA data that are needed when exchanging MFA data from one researcher/project/software to another, and that could be developed into a data format later on. The template is attached; it includes some examples for datasets and detailed explanations. It is meant as a point of departure to establish a minimal consensus of how MFA data should be structured, and it is clear that many MFA results will require additional specifiers, represented as columns in the template, to be fully described. The plan is to publish the attached template as supplementary material along with the forum piece.

On behalf of the task force, I would very much appreciate your input on transparent MFA research and your feedback on the data template!

Maybe there is a data expert in your group who could contribute to the process?

Please respond by April 30 so that we have time for revisions and a possible second feedback round.

Please use this link to the template for the readers to download:

Also, please forward this email to colleagues who also might be interested!

Best regards,

Stefan Pauliuk, PhD
Assistant professor for sustainable energy and material flow management
Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources
University of Freiburg
Tennenbacher Str. 4, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany
phone +49-761-203-98726

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