Data curation is the process of identifying relevant information from a data source and evaluating and maintaining that information in a systematic way

The data contained in the Nanomaterial Registry has undergone a curation process developed specifically for the purpose of providing the public with systematically reported information on nanomaterials. By developing a robust curation process, we are able to draw from a variety of nanomaterial data sources and to provide a resource that is relevant to a wide range of stakeholders.

The scope of the Nanomaterial Registry is to provide curated data in three categories:

  • Physico-Chemical Characteristics of a nanomaterial
  • Biological Interactions of a nanomaterial
  • Environmental Interactions of a nanomaterial

The first step in developing the curation process for the Registry was to define, with the help of our Advisory Board, the minimal information standards and evaluation criteria for each of the three categories listed above. Within each of the minimal information standards, the most relevant measurement types, units, techniques, protocols, and instrument parameters were identified. The best practice questions that are applied to each measurement value are:

1) Is raw data provided?
2) Were proper controls used and reported?
3) Were instruments within calibration?
4) Were replicates used and reported?
5) Were experimental protocols reported?
6) If reported, is the protocol a standard or modified standard method or based upon a previous publication?
7) Were citations for standard or published protocol provided?

The metadata for each measurement value help account for experimental variables that would have the most significant effects on the reported measurement value. Together, the minimal information standards and evaluation criteria define the scope of information that is being curated into the Nanomaterial Registry as well as the conditions for calculating compliance levels.

The curation process is divided into three steps: curation, quality assurance (QA), and quality control (QC).

Curated Data

First, a curator identifies, evaluates, and manually enters data into a standard form. Second, a separate individual performs a quality assurance check for transcription errors and/or values that do not conform to the minimal information standards. Finally, a third individual performs a quality control check to correct any errors or inconsistencies in the scientific interpretation of the original data. Compliance level scores and matching scores are automatically calculated for each data entry. At this point the nanomaterial record is finalized and promoted to the public view of the Nanomaterial Registry.

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