Edmund Hart

ecology - informatics - data - analytics

about me

I’m a data scientist in silicon valley and before that I specialized in informatics at the National Ecological Observatory Network . I’m also a core developer at rOpenSci. I like to build things for data: things that process it, parse it and analyze it. I like my beer cold, my snow deep, my mountains high, and my data open. I used to be an ecologist, but now I am a recovering academic. (orcID: 0000-0001-7367-7969 and ImpactStory)

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Ferns Grow From the Walls Here…

- - posted in academia, personal

Authors note: This is part 2 of an ongoing series of posts about moving from academia to industry. You can read part 1, and next week I’ll post part 3

I am on a patio surrounded by ferns growing out of the walls, eating steel cut oatmeal topped with sliced almonds and fresh fruit and sipping a latte. This is how I like to start my mornings, sitting in the sun despite my mixed emotions about the sun. It is always sunny on what I now colloquially refer to as the Peninsula, that sprawling mass between San Jose and San Fracisco, and I can’t seem to get used to it. My co-workers find this strange, that at times I long for the grey winters of home, and by home I mean either Vermont or Vancouver.

Mornings on the Grey Bus

- - posted in academia, personal

Authors note: This begins a series of posts on my transition from academia to industry

I am on a sleek grey Mercedes shuttle bus. The only indication of where we are going is a small black sign on the windshield with white letters in perfect Helevetica that say “CU” and in small print underneath, “Cupertino”. I have come a long way from where I started.

Where exactly did I start though? I think my path into ecology was both direct and circuitous. I grew up in a rural part of Vermont where I spent a large chunk of time roaming the woods with my father, an avid hunter who taught me natural history from a young age. So doubtless like many of my ecological peers, it was the logical choice ingrained from an early age.

… 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).