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Malcolm Coull

After studying Soil Science at Aberdeen University, Malcolm joined the Institute in 1993, and has spent the past 18 years working on a variety of projects involving soil and/or water. In the early part of his career Malcolm spent most of his time either collecting samples in the field or working in the Institute's laboratories, but the past few years has seen him spend more time in front of a computer, doing a range of things from data analysis to working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He is now the assistant Soils Data Manager, responsible for helping to maintain the JHI's extensive soil data holdings - the National Soils Database holds information on over 13,000 soil profiles across Scotland. 

Malcolm is the Data Manager for the ALTER project, with overall responsibility for data management and will develop protocols to address:

  • Metadata: From the project onset we will produce documentation of the data discovery processes, spatial and temporal referencing, descriptions of how collected, stored (including back-ups) and linkages to other data. Metadata structure will facilitate a full audit trail.
  • Data categorisation: ALTER will generate quantitative and qualitative data across multiple spatial and temporal scales. We will develop a data categorisation protocol to facilitate data categorisation and cataloguing.
  • Data Storage: The Data Mnager will ensure that adequate multi-site storage and back-up facilities are provided. This will include the development of a database structure that facilitates data sharing between partners.
  • Data Quality / Assurance: ALTER will implement data quality / assurance protocols. This will include conforming to ISO 19115 (for spatial data, and building on knowledge of the EC INSPIRE Directive), ISO 9001 (storage, measurement quality etc) and working within the UKDA Data Quality guidelines. For use of data from external sources, we will aim to maintain an auditing ability to connect to the sources’ own QC systems.
  • Data Access / Security: There are no specific issues regarding data security, but will implement a secure accessing system within the project partnerships (registration of users, login details, restricted areas access) to enable data up- and download. Data collected within ALTER will be made available via open access repositories (NERC Data Centres, EIDC).
  • Data outputs: Design of derived (secondary) data products for ease of understanding by non-academic audience, data visualisation.
  • Ethical: The DMP will be developed in collaboration with project members to ensure conformity to ESPAs’ Ethics Strategy, privacy requirements and freedom of information.