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My question on DOIs for time series was migrated to Open Data. That's annoying. If I'd wanted it there, I'd have asked it there myself. I have an account there.

But instead of being here, where it will be seen by hundreds of academics, and get thousands of views, it's been migrated to a quiet beta site where it will get dozens of views, very few of which will be academics.

Across the whole Stack Exchange, a question doesn't get migrated just because it's a good fit elsewhere. It only gets migrated if it's not a good fit here. So why was this question not considered a good fit here?

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For what it's worth, my own opinion on migration has not changed since I wrote:

I would prefer to see a gray-area question be closed (and possibly migrated a little later) rather than migrated immediately.

Migration is qualitatively different from other kinds of closure. Assuming we don't have accounts on the target site,

Closed Questions

  • High-rep users can vote to reopen
  • Users can continue to discuss the closure in comments
  • OP can edit the question to make it a better fit

Migrated Questions

  • High-rep users on the original site cannot vote to reopen
  • Users on the original site cannot comment
  • OP cannot edit the question to make it a better fit for the original site

In this case, the question had no close votes before it was migrated. It also had some upvotes and no downvotes.

Given this meta post, which seems to be the most recent "policy statement", I don't think this question should be migrated - at least, not unless it's closed by community first. If you delete the version on Open Data, I'll reopen it here.

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As the guilty party, I'll just note that my primary justification for migrating the question was that the question was about how DOI's get applied to specific data sets. It's more a question about how data works—which is Open Data's specialty, than to Academia's. I'm OK if the consensus is otherwise, and apologize for the rash action.

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    Thank you for the apology, it's appreciated. – EnergyNumbers Feb 27 '15 at 3:59
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I only saw this thread today, otherwise I would have weighed in earlier. I definitely think that migration was warranted in this case. I agree 100% with aeismail's rationale:

It's more a question about how data works—which is Open Data's specialty, than to Academia's.

Honestly, this to me would seem to settle the discussion. (Incidentally, I don't understand why aeismail adopts a rather apologetical tone in his answer.)


To comment on EnergyNumbers' original question:

But instead of being here, where it will be seen by hundreds of academics, and get thousands of views, it's been migrated to a quiet beta site where it will get dozens of views, very few of which will be academics.

That can't be an argument in favor of not migrating. If a question is off topic, then it's off topic. (See below.) I don't see how "it may be off topic at Academia, but it'll get many more hits here" makes a lot of sense.

I am somewhat active on CrossValidated.SE, which is SE for statistics. They recently added a custom close reason for data requests, directing people to OpenData. Which makes perfect sense, given the missions of the two sites. Yes, of course there is more activity at CV than at OD. But if the number of hits were a criterion, we would post everything at StackOverflow, and beta sites would never get any traffic at all.

It seems to me EnergyNumbers argues that the question is of special interest to academics because the DOI explicitly aims at academics. (To quote the migrated question, "I'm familiar with DOIs been allocated to historic time series, to give academics a unique, citable identifier for datasets."). However, the DOI Foundation's FAQ nowhere contains the word "academic" or variants. To quote from the FAQ:

A DOI name provides a means of persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related current data in a structured extensible way.

Intellectual property may be specially relevant to academics, but it is so for lots of other people, too. This discussion here reminds me of boat programming, with "DOI" in place of "boat", and "academics" in place of "programmers". And I'd argue that many people who are interested in how DOI deals with "evolving" datasets will not be academics (e.g., industry researchers, technical journalists etc.), and they'd likely rather expect such a question on OpenData than on Academia. (Thank goodness for search engines.)

Across the whole Stack Exchange, a question doesn't get migrated just because it's a good fit elsewhere. It only gets migrated if it's not a good fit here. So why was this question not considered a good fit here?

Compare the on-topic help for OpenData:

Open Data Stack Exchange is for developers and researchers interested in open data.

with the analogous page for Academia:

This site is for academics of all levels—from aspiring graduate and professional students to senior researchers—as well as anyone in or interested in research-related or research-adjacent fields.

If you have a question about...

  • Life as a graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, university professor
  • Transitioning from undergraduate to graduate researcher
  • Inner workings of research departments
  • Requirements and expectations of academicians
  • University-level pedagogy

... then you're in the right place!

Looking back at aeismail's rationale quoted above, I'd say that the migrated question fits much more comfortably into the first than the second category, although one can of course argue that it's "research-adjacent" and doesn't cover open data in particular.


(No, I'm not going to flag the question for re-migration, given that there seems to be a consensus that it should stay. As may be obvious, if the question had been posted today, I would have flagged it, for the reasons above.)

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