Unstructured data are BAD for everybody
Not just for “Materials Scientists”!
Materials Science is Britannica " the study of the properties of solid materials and how those properties are determined by a material’s composition and structure."
A newsletter I just received summarizes what is required for a “True Digital Transformation” of Research and Development (R&D) activities in that crucial branch of science and engineering.
What you need to know here is that one of the ways in which that R&D should change is essential for a positive “digital transformation” of the whole society, not just Materials Science.
That change is the one about “Data Entry and Management”, and these are the parts of that newsletter that explain why it is so important:
“Before you get anywhere you need to have your data electronically available in suitable formats”
“Until this [problem is concretely] tackled, the transformation can only go so far”
“For years firms have lauded the benefits of AI in material science… The dirty secret you likely didn’t hear: none of these outcomes are possible with mismanaged, unstructured data."
“If you bought into AI thinking that decades' worth of stitched together Excel files were the magic wand, you’re likely on a longer (and more expensive) journey than required."
“Internal data is an essential part of any [organization], but there is also the ability to leverage external data sources… Public and private data repositories are increasingly common that vary from being highly specific to very broad."
What should be the REAL subject here?
Ask anyone who, like me, has been advocating for more than a decade Open Data, and you will get the same answer: everything you have read about “digital transformation” of Materials Science in the paragraph above applies as is to the general, positive digital transformation of government, and society as a whole. Should you doubt about this, check out the “Frictionless Data” initiatives I shared here last year, or everything about Open Data, really.
What next? More coordination and lawmaking, of course
Speaking of collaboration and public data repositories, that newsletter quotes, as prime example of “consortia being established to pool knowledge and establish best practices even amongst traditional competitors”, the Materials Open Platform (MOP)”.
Good. The next step should be to make this openness the rule, not the exception, by following well known best practices of the Open Data movement. Both from the bottom, and from the top, that is with many more laws and regulations that make this sharing concretely convenient, feasible and useful, in any branch of society.
What about YOUR line of work? Is it being “transformed” as described here, or not? Tell me!