Report on DMPTool at ESA 2013

Last week in Minneapolis, about 4,000 ecologists got together to geek out and enjoy the midwest for eight days. The DMPTool had a couple of appearances in the course of this 2013 Ecological Society of America Meeting– a workshop on managing ecological data and a session on data management planning and the DMPTool. It was also mentioned in numerous presentations about the DataONE Investigator Toolkit, of which the DMPTool is a part.

Here I want to briefly mention the special session on the DMPTool, which occurred on the first official day of #ESA2013. The session was 75 minutes long, and Bill Michener of DataONE and I were sharing the podium. He planned to introduce DMPs generally, followed by my explanation and demonstration of the DMPTool, including the new version of the tool due out in Winter 2013-2014.

Fifteen minutes before the presentations were due to start, the room was packed. Attendees were sitting on the floor in the aisles by 5 minutes before, and there was a nonstop trickle of attendees entering throughout the 75 minute session. The catch? We had no power.

That’s right: Bill and I were forced to talk about data management plans, demo the DMPTool, and discuss future plans to a packed room, all without a microphone, a projector, or even a chalk board. We managed to get through the session, and folks seemed to appreciate the impromptu soliloquies on data management by myself and Bill. The power came on about 5 minutes before the close of the session (of course), at which point I scurried behind the podium to show screen shots of the DMPTool. By the time I looked up from my laptop, about 60% of the audience had left. Apparently slides were not the big draw for our session.

My takeaway lessons? When giving a talk, be prepared for anything; people enjoy the element of surprise and improvisation; and researchers are dying to learn about DMPs, regardless of the potential hurdles put before them. This is most likely due to funder requirements for DMPs, but I’d like to think it also relates to my and Bill’s dulcet tones.

The slides I didn’t get to show are available on slideshare.

Screen-Shot-2013-08-12-at-8.37.16-AM

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