Task Area 1: Managing Data Production


Managing data production is becoming an increasing challenge for scientists everywhere and in particular in the neutron and x-ray science community where high brilliance sources and high-speed two-dimensional detectors have meant a rapid increase in the quality and quantity of data. To benefit from this opportunity, it is important to capture all data and experiment relevant information in a clearly documented manner and store it so that it can be easily found and understood for use and re-use. This is the basis for all ‘FAIR’ data. This is easily said but requires complex technical solutions, expert involvement and a high level of communication within and across communities to ensure that a sustainable solution can be found and maintained. TA1 aims to improve metadata capture through consistent workflows supported by user-driven online logbooks that are linked to the data collection, thus enabling a richer capture of information about the experiments than is currently possible.

Challenges and Goals of TA1

Experiments in the neutron and x-ray community are typically carried out at large scale facilities. Access to beamlines and experimental stations is granted on the basis of peer reviewed proposal systems and the successful applicants are invited to conduct their experiment either on-site or remotely. The information that comes together for each experiment extends well beyond the pure detector output and covers not only  details of the beamline, user equipment and the experiment protocol, but also other valuable information such as  bibliographic and proposal data, sample provenance and preparation. As of today, quality and completeness of the data varies considerably and not all is  accessibly in digital form yet. 
This task will address standardisation and automatic creation and extraction of all relevant instrument and sample metadata along with the measurement data and experiment protocol. In order to develop data collection further towards the FAIR criteria, the goals of TA1 are to:

  • Introduce user and facility friendly electronic laboratory notebooks (ELN).
  • Propose common metadata schemata and domain specific vocabulary together with the community for data collection and for automated input into data catalogues.
  • Develop tools for instrument and sample data capture across facilities.
  • Develop standard file formats, in particular for high-speed data collection.

Experience and Expertise

DAPHNE brings together the users and operator of instruments and beamlines at large scale facilities, both contributing their experience and skills in automatic data capture and quality standards for experiment documentation and curation of the collected data. The broad range of scientific backgrounds of users at neutron and x-ray facilities and the breath of experimental techniques make unified standards a challenge. Initially, we will focus on specific areas to develop and promote standards for (meta)data collection and data formats. The focus areas are: 

  • Biological Matter (x-ray imaging & Bragg nanodiffraction)
  • Dynamics in correlated electron systems (inelastic n/x spectroscopy)
  • Engineering Materials science (x/n tomography and imaging)
  • Soft matter and liquid interfaces (reflectometry) 
  • Electrochemistry/catalysis & particle acceleration (high energy x-ray diffraction)
  • Protein and food science (small and wide angle diffraction)