Various data repositories are available for data sharing. Niko talks about DataverseNL, the open source data repository he likes to work with. Felix Weijdema, a subject specialist at Utrecht University Library, supports researchers with the publication of data via this repository. "The advantage of DataverseNL is that it is hosted in the Netherlands. Felix helped me describe my data and formulate suitable search terms. He looks at the data with the eyes of a layman. This results in a better description and thus better findability."
To simulate the path that a raindrop takes, a big pile of input data is needed: rainfall, height of the land, type of soil, you name it. Niko is not surprised by a dataset of several hundred gigabytes. "From all this data we create a new product, for example the amount of water discharge from a specific area, which we then share. Institutions such as Rijkswaterstaat can use this information in their water management. But we also want to publish our input data. Because we have to deal with such large volumes of data in our field, we sometimes have to divert to other solutions. Dataverse is less suitable for these quantities. In my case, I often use the Zenodo data repository."
The value of his research was suddenly visible last summer, when the Netherlands faced extreme drought. The media knew how to find him, and he enjoyed speaking to them. "If your research suddenly becomes such a hot topic, it is your job as a scientist to show the public what we do, here at the university. To show them the relevance of our research" says Niko. "People only really think about drought when they see the grass turning yellow. I used that opportunity to explain what drought is, what causes drought and how climate change affects the drought in the Netherlands."