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IZTECH University’s view on Research Data: An example of Research Data Reuse


 OpenAIRE Turkey NOAD (National Open Access Desk) and Izmir Institute of Technology (IZTECH) Library Director Gültekin Gürdal, who is also the member of "OpenAIRE Research Data Management Task Force", has initiated a study in a Research University in Turkey namely IZTECH, that can set an example toother institutions on  data reuse.

Dr. Hatice Eser Okten and Gültekin Gürdal in the IZTECH Library Building. © Gultekin Gurdal | all rights reserved.

Gürdal focused on an exemplary study in June 2020 on data reuse by interacting one-on-one with Dr. Hatice Eser Ökten, Assistant professor at IZTECH Department of  Environmental Engineering. Dr. Ökten was part of a team which was  investigating how air quality  at different parts of Turkey affected during the first month of COVID-19 pandemic. Analyses and comparisons have been made using data from the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. The data set formed in this process, together with the preprint of the article has been added to Dspace @ IZTECH (IZTECH Institutional Academic Repository). In this way,  researchers and the research became more visible, with increased probability of getting more citations. However, the most important aspect of this approach was that data were shared in a public repository, making it accessible to others who wished to reuse the data in new research on the same subject.

"I am happy to be active in open data and open science issues by means of this study. Also my knowledge and awareness about FAIR principles were raised. As science reaches masses, its impact area grows as well. I believe that the monopolization of science would be prevented through open access."

by Dr. Hatice Eser Okten

This process, which was carried out by interacting one-on-one with a researcher, has shown that researchers needed their data to be processed to international standards, but they did know where / from whom they could get support. As a result, it is evident that there is a need for practice-based, informative awareness studies/workshops in this area.

1. Who produced the original data and when?

Original data were produced by the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization through air quality measurement stations (AQMSs) that are implemented in almost every city. Air quality parameter measurements (raw data) are being produced continuously by the AQMSs. The data set that was used in our study covered the periods March 1-April 21 in 2019 and in 2020.

2. How the original data were collected and their amount/size?

We collected the original data and exported in Excel files from the corresponding website by the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, following the link The total size of the Excel files was around 500 KB.

3. How were they treated in order to be reused: did this step take a lot of effort?

First we sorted the data based on parameters. In an Excel file we opened 8 worksheets, each corresponding to one air quality parameter (PM2.5, PM10, SO2, NO, NO2, NOX, O3, and CO). The size of this workbook was 334 KB. On these worksheets, we constructed spreadsheets that contained the parameter values based on date and station. Shapiro-Wilk normality test was conducted with the significance level of 0.05, which was rejected for most of the air quality parameters at all stations. 

Therefore, nonparametric Mann- Whitney U-test (M-W test) was used to compare the concentrations. Significance level of M-W test was 0.05. Criterion of inclusion in this study for a pollutant measured at a station was <25 % missing values. We calculated the distribution of data through calculating mean, median, minimum, maximum and percentiles, and constructing box-plots. 

Even though the compared study periods were relatively short, the data set produced 200+ box-plots. Health risks due to change in ambient air PM2.5, PM10, SO2, NO, O3, and CO concentrations between March 1-April 21 in 2019 and 2020 were determined by estimating the relative risk (RR) and excess risk (ER). If the concentration of a pollutant (Ci) is equal or below the threshold concentration (Ct), it has no excess risk.

4. Were you aware of FAIR aspects? Which of the FAIR principles did you take into account?

We are acquainted of the FAIR principles through the OpenAIRE ambassador in our institute, Mr. Gültekin Gürdal. We have uploaded the preprint on ResearchGate. We will also upload the Excel file to DSpace (IZTECH Institutional Academic Repository). Anyone can find and access our data set online. Furthermore, in the Excel file all operations that were done will be accessible. Also we describe materials and methods in detail in our paper, therefore anyone can operate on the raw data and reach to our conclusions following the steps described. In conclusion we are taking all FAIR principles into account.

We used a FAIR assessment tool from the link The tool really helped on our literacy on FAIR principles.

5. Who reused them (institution/project)?

Izmir Institute of Technology, Department of Environmental Engineering.

6. Were the data used for a practical application?

This data set was not used for practical application. Only a comparison was made between the same periods of time between 2019 and 2020.

7. When they were reused?

The data were reused in April 2020. The paper was sent for publication.

8. Any problem or critical issue worth reporting?

We are not sure about the QA/QC procedure of the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization in reporting the raw data.

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