DCER II: Sharing Research Data in Practice

Call for Participation

Have you ever read a paper and thought "I wish I could get my hands on that data!" Have you ever thought about doing a meta-analysis, using data from several different studies, including data you did not collect? Have you wished there was a way to make your data available to others? Have you developed a new analytic technique and wished for external data on which to test it? Sharing computing-education data would make these and other new projects possible.

The DCER II Workshop will confront the practicality (or impracticality) of such sharing. Last year, DCER I examined the theoretical issues and explored possible data repository models. The goal of DCER II is to demonstrate that people can contribute data and get results from other researcher's data. Participants must be committed to either bringing data to share, designing projects using others' data, or both.

DCER II will be a full-day workshop, held in Berkeley, California on August 9, 2009 — the day before the ICER Workshop.

Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to:

  • learn about the data available and ask questions of researchers involved in gathering the data
  • interact with other researchers interested in examining the same datasets
  • plan studies using other researchers' data
  • influence the development of this new community resource

After the workshop, participants will

  • apply to the Data Use Committee for access to the data appropriate to their studies
  • discuss their ongoing studies and issues encountered in using data in these studies on a participants' mailing list
  • collaborate on a paper summarizing our experiences with data sharing, to be written in Summer 2010.

To Apply

If you would like to participate, please submit a 2-3 page Application Statement on or before April 30, 2009. This is an international effort, and researchers from outside the United States are encouraged to apply.

In your Application Statement, please briefly

  • summarize your own background and experience in empirical computing education research
  • give the reason for your interest in this workshop
  • If you are planning to contribute data
    • describe the data
    • describe the uses of the data that your institution has currently authorized
    • if you have experience getting institutional approval to share data, please tell us what was required to get that approval.
    • if you have not yet obtained approval to share the data you plan to contribute, begin the discussion at your institution with regard to how to obtain approval, and describe the response you have received so far. (Note: if you have questions about this process, see below.)
  • If you are not in a position to contribute data, describe a study you could do using data from a specific paper (or papers) in the literature that was based on empirical data.

Please send this Application Statement as an attachment (pdf or latex source) to an email to the organizers at dcer-icer09@cs.umu.se. Please use "DCER II Application" as the subject of this email. If you do not receive an acknowledgment within 24 hours then assume that your application was not received and please resend.

Thanks to NSF support, there is no charge for the workshop itself. United States participants will receive up to $600 in travel support, depending on need.

We encourage potential participants to discuss their data (if any) and participation with members of the committee before applying.

Important Dates

  • Submission Deadline: April 30
  • Acceptance Notification: May 15
  • DCER Workshop: August 9, 2009, 9 AM - 6 PM

Some details about the data

What kind of data should I contribute?

The goal is that as many of the participants as possible have data to contribute. There are many types of empirical computing education data that would be of interest to others. One possibility is so-called "exempt data": materials such as assignments and exams that are collected as a normal part of instruction. The data available will include data-structures programs from at least one institution, for example; if you are teaching data structures and have programs to share, they might help to enable cross-institutional comparisons.

Who am I sharing my data with?

For now, you are sharing your data only with other participants in the workshop whose proposals are accepted by the Data Use Committee. In future, you may wish to contribute your data to the DCER Repository, but that is a decision that you can make at a later time.

Can I restrict the use of my data?

Yes. Some restrictions that have been used in data repositories in other fields include:

  1. Users must acknowledge the source of the data in any publications.
  2. Contributors can ask for a "quarantine" on new data, that is, no one else can publish a study using this data for a certain amount of time.

If you would like to restrict the use of your data in these or some other way, talk to the organizers.

How can I get approval to share my data?

The rules governing the gathering and use of data vary considerably from country to country, particularly where (as here) the data are generally collected from human participants. If you plan to contribute data, you will need to consult the rules governing the use of human-subjects data by researchers at your institution. The workshop organizers are currently gaining experience getting the necessary permission to contribute data for this purpose, and will be happy to discuss the issues involved and share our materials.

What is the Data Use Committee?

The Data Use Committee is the group that determines whether users can have access to particular datasets. Their role is to ensure that the data are only used for purposes that are consistent with the original approval received for use of the data. For the next year, the Data Use Committee will be made up of the same individuals as the DCER II Organizing Committee. If the workshop is successful, however, as we move forward, the CS education community will need to agree on a mechanism for selecting the members of the committee.

The DCER II Organizing Committee:

  • Kate Sanders, Rhode Island College, USA. ksanders at ric dot edu
  • Brad Richards, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, USA. brichards at ups dot edu
  • Jan Erik Moström, Umeå University, Sweden. jem at cs dot umu dot se
  • Robert McCartney, University of Connecticut, USA robert at engr dot uconn dot edu

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-0734761. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Send questions or comments to the DCER II Organizing Committee (dcer-icer09@cs.umu.se).
Last updated February 25, 2009.