The Book of Trogool

… and then what?

It can be difficult to convince present-focused researchers to give a long-term perspective, such as that of a librarian or archivist, the time of day. (So to speak.) Here’s my favorite way to do it: the “? and then what?” game.

You have digital data. You think it’s important. We’ll start from there.

  • Your grant runs out? and then what?
  • The graduate student who’s been doing all the data-management chores leaves with Ph.D in hand? and then what?
  • Your favorite grant agency institutes a data-sustainability requirement for all grants? and then what?
  • Your lab’s PI retires? and then what?
  • Your instrument manufacturer or favorite software’s developer goes out of business? and then what?
  • Your whomped-up next-door data center burns up, falls down, then sinks into the swamp? and then what?

You get the idea. No far-fetched catastrophizing, just all-too-plausible scenarios that researchers really ought to have thought about already but usually haven’t. If your service can position itself as the “? and then what,” you’re on to something.