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Survey data from: Can community laboratory facilities increase access and inclusivity in geoscience?

Cite this dataset

Corbett, Lee; Bierman, Paul; Semken, Steven; Whittaker, Joseph (2021). Survey data from: Can community laboratory facilities increase access and inclusivity in geoscience? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Geochronology and geochemistry are critical tools in geoscience research and research training, but students and faculty at many institutions have little or no access to the specialized and expensive facilities needed for sample preparation and analysis. Here, we assess whether community laboratories, dedicated to hosting visitors, can help address these inequities by increasing access to cutting-edge methods and the resulting data. We report the first three years of outcomes from such a community laboratory, the goal of which is to improve access, equity, and diversity in geoscience by making an increasingly important analytical technique more widely available. Although the community sample preparation facility we describe here focuses on the cosmogenic nuclides 10Be and 26Al, the model we present is viable across the geosciences. Three years of development, assessment, and refinement demonstrate that the community laboratory model shows promise for including a greater diversity of users and applications. However, challenges to fostering a diverse community still exist; the costs of supplies, isotopic analysis, and travel to the community facility are roadblocks to diversification. Our experience suggests that supporting more community laboratory facilities could be an important and efficient way to further diversify the geosciences, both in terms of the people involved and the types of research performed.


During January of 2021, three years after the opening of the Community Cosmogenic Facility, we administered an anonymous online survey to all laboratory users including anyone who visited the laboratory as well as advisors of student visitors. The survey was administered by an external evaluator under a protocol approved by the Institutional Review Board and disseminated via Google Forms. It consisted of 12 multiple-response questions focused on demographics, experience in the laboratory, and outcomes. Five of the 12 survey questions invited respondents to explain or elaborate on their responses. We invited 85 individuals (comprising both laboratory visitors as well as their advisors, if applicable) to take the survey. The response rate was 74% (n = 63); all survey data are included in the Supplemental Data.


National Science Foundation, Award: EAR-1735676