Edmund Hart

ecology - informatics - data - analytics

about me

I’m a staff scientist specializing in informatics at the National Ecological Observatory Network and developer at rOpenSci. I like to build things for data. Things that process it, parse it and analyze it. I was an ecologist, but now I just like working with interesting data to answer interesting questions. I like my beer cold, my snow deep and my data open. I am a recovering academic. (orcID: 0000-0001-7367-7969)

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… The One Where I Rant About Climate Change

- - posted in climate change, personal, science

I’ll start with a personal admission, my cholesterol and blood pressure are too high. Now, nobody is rushing to shovel statins into my mouth, but when I went to my doctor and told him I was having a baby, he looked at me and said: “If you want to live long enough to see your son get married and have his own children, you need to make some changes to your lifestyle.” There were no real discussions or talks about feeling, that was sort of it. I had the knowledge, decades of scientific research about heart disease and life style, a plaintive, if morose, warning from my doctor, and a choice to make. So what on earth does this have to do with climate change?

Post PhD Life

- - posted in academia, personal

Note: This is meant to be part of the Post-PhD carnival over at the Contemplative Mammoth, and is a brief story of my life after graduating. A bit of context: I completed my PhD with Nick Gotelli at the University of Vermont in 2011, and did a post-doc at the University of British Columbia with Leticia Aviles until 2013.

It is a bitter luxury to be able to pinpoint the precise moment of descent in one’s academic career. In my academic life it wasn’t as if I woke up one morning and thought “What happened to my career?” and realized that a series of small missteps had lead me down on the wrong path. I learned just where the zenith was on Tuesday April 3rd, 2012 at 5:12 pm. The e-mail I received from Science read:

How Should We Cite Data?

- - posted in data, informatics

At first I think this question almost comes across as rhetorical and silly. After all there are plenty of guidelines for citing data, why is this even a question? While it is true that people often make an analogy between citing a paper and citing a dataset, a paper is not always analogous to a dataset. From the perspective of an individual researcher generating, data this analogy often holds. In many ways the paper is just a logical extension of a data set, therefore the way you cite a dataset or a paper can almost be interchangable. But when is a dataset not like paper? That’s the challenge we face at NEON with developing our citation policy. As a data provider we don’t create discrete entities, but instead provide over 500 continuous data products.

The Open Data Challenge

- - posted in data sharing, open data, publishing

On the heels of the flurry of discussion about data sharing, I’m interested in expanding on Greg Wilson’s open scoop challenge. He is looking to find anyone who has been scooped by sharing their data. This seems like a high bar to me. So I’d like to lower it. Here’s my thought experiment. What data set exists that you can publish multiple papers from the exact same dataset? That is, you aren’t just carving up a large dataset into least publishable units?

Just Get Over Yourself and Share Your Data

- - posted in data sharing, publishing

I’m probably a bit late to the game one the whole #PLoSfail controversy over data sharing and archiving. I think one of the best things that’s come out of PLoS pushing the policy is that it’s opened up a larger discussion about a variety of topics. Should we share our data? Who owns data? Is data the same as software?. My favorite post on the subject so far has to be Matt MacManes’ which in short says “Get the fuck over yourself scientists, you’re not that special now share your fucking data.” (Contrary to Hope Jahren I love to say fuck).

A Meditation on Rejection

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This is an unfinished story of a single manuscript. It started 14 months ago in February of 2012 when after months and months of work my old advisor, Nick Gotelli, and I submitted a manuscript to Science and found out it was going out for review. Going out for review in Science launched my hopes. Back then I was still hopeful I would find a career in academia, and this manuscript seemed like it would be the key.

Comrades Let Your Voice Be Heard About Scholarly Publishing

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When I was in college I had a girlfriend who’s dad was an ex-lawyer turned self-proclaimed anarchist scholar. She left me for a guy in his late 30’s who worked in a scarf store, and I was stuck with a stack of anarchist theory books I’d bought to try and impress her at the local used bookstore. while my politics have mellowed a bit in most things, my opninion on scholarly publishing is about in line with what Kropotkin would have made of the situation if he were around today.