ISPS Data Archive Launches New Data Curation and Code Review Software

July 19, 2018

To the ISPS community:

The ISPS Data Archive launched the beta version of YARD, a new data curation and code review tool for the social sciences. YARD (Yale Application for Research Data) software enables open access to research materials that have been fully reviewed and enhanced for long term usability and analysis, contributing to research transparency and reproducibility.

ISPS affiliated faculty, postdocs, and students who would like to archive and make available research data and other digital materials with the ISPS Data Archive are invited to use the tool.

YARD helps researchers make sure that the research products they share are well documented and that their results are computationally reproducible.

The tool was developed to reduce friction for researchers committed to making quality data and code publicly available and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). YARD offers researchers a way to easily upload files for pre-publication review and seamlessly deposit them into the Data Archive. The easy drag-and-drop process eliminates transferring files via email and other means. YARD automatically captures essential information about the files and prompts researchers to provide descriptive information about the study and the files.

Researchers can use YARD at any point in the research process. Files and metadata – including, for example, whether a particular file can be shared – can be updated and versioning functionality is enabled using git technology. Once the researcher signals in YARD that a set of files is finalized, ISPS Data Archive staff begins the curation and review process. Upon approval, the files and metadata are sent to the ISPS Data Archive and published on the ISPS website.  

>More information about YARD is available on the ISPS website.

The tool also makes more efficient the ISPS curation and review process. For Archive staff, YARD offers a dashboard to view the Archive’s holdings and enhances accuracy and transparency of the curation and review process. Staff now work within one system for most curation and review tasks, eliminating the need to use multiple applications and reducing the risk of mistakes at the hand-off points. The software structures the curation and review workflow and all actions are recorded in the system.

YARD connects researchers, curators, and publishers through a single pipeline for the purpose of improving research transparency, reproducibility, and long-term use.

Future development will focus on enabling deposit of reviewed materials into other data archives and repositories and consider integration of additional capabilities that researchers find useful, such as reproducible research tools, virtual computing environments, and journal publication workflows. In addition, as we move to the next phase, ISPS will evaluate current policies regarding who can deposit and what type of content, as well as support for the service.

The application combines several open source components and is available on GitHub. It is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License (GPL) v3.0. YARD was funded by Yale’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), developed by Colectica, and deployed on Yale infrastructure. Technical support is provided by Yale University Library Digital Scholarship Services, Yale Library Information Technology, and Yale Information Technology Services.