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A key to Underlay's success is being able to provide incentives for creating, curatoring, and using collections. Currently, the incentives to create and maintain a public dataset are underwhelming when compared to the cost of actually doing so. There are a few key features we think can improve the situation:

Incentivizing useful datasets.

A common practice when publishing a public dataset is to simply upload a flat file to a data server. This server can then give you a download count to suggest how useful people find the dataset to be. We think we can do better with a few key features:

  • Exports allow insight into which pieces of your dataset are actually being used.
  • Exports and versions allow insight into how up-to-date folks are staying with continued data work.
  • Exports allow metadata about where data is being used, providing more context on the applications and analyses that are powered by a collection.
  • Provenance tracking allows downstream users of the data to reference and find their way back to the original work.

In total, these features allow for much more insight and granularity into who is finding a collection useful, and for what purpose. Such information can be critical when trying to decide around how to allocate resources or grant funding. Being able to show that certain data work is being used and is critical to important projects goes a long way.