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Advanced Technologies and Data Management Practices in Environmental Science: Lessons from Academia

Rebecca R. Hernandez, Matthew S. Mayernik, Michelle L. Murphy-Mariscal and Michael F. Allen
BioScience
Vol. 62, No. 12 (December 2012), pp. 1067-1076
DOI: 10.1525/bio.2012.62.12.8
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/bio.2012.62.12.8
Page Count: 10
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Advanced Technologies and Data Management Practices in Environmental Science: Lessons from Academia
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Abstract

Environmental scientists are increasing their capitalization on advancements in technology, computation, and data management. However, the extent of that capitalization is unknown. We analyzed the survey responses of 434 graduate students to evaluate the understanding and use of such advances in the environmental sciences. Two-thirds of the students had not taken courses related to information science and the analysis of complex data. Seventy-four percent of the students reported no skill in programming languages or computational applications. Of the students who had completed research projects, 26% had created metadata for research data sets, and 29% had archived their data so that it was available online. One-third of these students used an environmental sensor. The results differed according to the students’ research status, degree type, and university type. Changes may be necessary in the curricula of university programs that seek to prepare environmental scientists for this technologically advanced and data-intensive age.

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