Workshop report part two : meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning

As mentioned in my previous post I attended the JISC Managing Research Data (#jiscmrd) workshop on ‘meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning’ last week. It was a well attended event with a packed and interesting programme, covering a range of research data management planning issues for different subject disciplines.

All the presentations are now available and are well worth exploring. In my previous post I covered DATUM in Action, DMSPpsych, and REWARD, and now I will provide a brief outline of two of the remaining projects.

MaRDI-Gross - research data guidance for ‘big science’. Presented by Norman Gray, he explained that this project aims to provide guidance for the strategic and engineering developments of data management and preservation plans for ‘big science data’. The context was described as:

Big money, big author lists, big data, big admin, and big careers

Norman outlined the challenges of data management planning and preservation for ‘big science’ multi-institutional collaborations and talked about how important ‘tone’ is and don’t necessarily think that ‘data sharing’ is a given, not everyone wants to share their data.

The project team have made the first version of their document on ‘DMP Planning for Large Projects ‘available for public comments, comment to be made by 13th April. The plan is available from here.

In his presentation on History DMP, Chris Awre, University of Hull, described how this project was stimulated by a specific academic need. Matt, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of History had wanted to store his data in Hull’s digital repository, Hydra in Hull. Matt explained that he had two major problems: 1) he wanted the data to be made available to the public and b) he wanted his data to be located in a secure environment. The DMP remedied both of these problems and he said that he found the whole process straightforward.

Issues discussed included using the DCC checklist as a starting point and refining and re-phrasing it for a history focus, a DMP must meet the needs of the department and infrastructure, how linked data could contribute to data management, and ways of providing better support locally.

All the presentations from the event are available here.

Workshop report part one: meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning

I was fortunate to attend the JISC Managing Research Data (#jiscmrd) workshop on ‘meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning’, which was held in Paddington, London last friday. It was a well attended event with a packed and interesting programme, covering a range of research data management planning issues for different subject disciplines.

Image courtesy of Dave Patten http://www.flickr.com/photos/davepatten/

Image of Paddington Basin courtesy of Dave Patten's Flickr photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/davepatten/

The morning session consisted of 8 presentations from the JISCMRD Research Data Management Planning projects showcasing project progress and a wide range of  innovative ideas and tools. The main focus of the afternoon sessions was the DCC’s data management tool DMP online and included a demo of Version 3 of the tool which is likely to be launched in April 2012.

I think the presentations will be made available online shortly (will link to them once they are available). They are now available from here. Below are some of the highlights that I took away from the event which gave me lots to think about. As so much was covered during this event I thought it would be easier to publish two blog postings on this event, the second one will be published tomorrow….[Friday 30th]

DATUM in Action this project led by the University of Northumbria supported health research staff on an EU project to plan and implement RDM. Their interim outputs included a data requirements questionnaire, a DMP template, RDM roles and responsibilities, a fileplan for the research project’s shared drive, folder and file name guidance, and information security guidance. They hope that the guidance they have produced could be used by other HEIs.

DMSPpsych this project led by the University of Sheffield aimed to provide practical advice and guidance on data management planning and storage for psychology.  Richard Plant delivered an excellent presentation and explained how their guidance and their one-stop-shop RDM website attempts to answer some of those frequently asked questions from researchers, for example:

Why bother with rdm? How can you help me? What is ‘metadata’? ?Why/how do I back-up my data?

The project team also made good use of the DCC’s DMP Online tool to construct the Wellcome fellowship RDMP and also set up a Sharepoint repository for DClinPsy trainees. Further information on project outputs and activities can be found on their blog.

REWARD (Researchers using Established Workflows to Archive Research Data) this collaborative project was led by the  UCL Institute of Archaeology, UCL Library Services and Ubiquity Press and it examined ways to use familiar workflows to encourage the archiving of research data using the UCL Discovery institutional repository.

The researchers were introduced to the Digital Curation Centre’s DMP Online tool, and then asked to make their data openly available in the institutional repository via publishing a data paper in the Journal of Open Archaeological Data (JOAD).

Some interesting observations from this project  included the possibility of a ‘digital divide’ where it was easier to engage with early career researchers, many of whom were more open to sharing and the difficulties in discussing the ‘broader’ relevance of their research. On a positive note many researchers were willing to share and citation is an added incentive. It was also suggested by the Brian (the REWARD project manager) that a DMP Online tool for PhD students would be beneficial.

To be continued….

Digging in and embedding your repository

Photograph by Einar Erici and made available by the Swedish National Heritage Board. Sourced from the Commons on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/swedish_heritage_board/5621896086/

How embedded and integrated is your repository? 

The JISC Repositories: take-up and embedding projects (JISCrte) are now complete and a free end of project event focusing on embedding and integration will take place at the Nottingham Conference Centre on the 10th February 2012.

The aim of the #jiscrte project was:

“..to improve the institutional services that rely on the repository by enabling take-up of the lessons and benefits from the most successful repository applications, tools and good practice.”

 The six projects involved currently use different repository software platforms and     each project team explored different tools and repository applications.

 Project teams explored and worked on a variety of tools and applications, for example, enriching a medical image repository, improving a digital repository interface and making improvements and enhancements to the Hydra code, scoping and launching a brand new repository, using the KULTUR extension to feature non-text research outputs, ‘Kulturising’ a DSpace repository, updating advocacy guidance, and embedding institutional research repositories into the culture of arts researchers by enhancing the MePrints profile tool.

We have a packed and exciting programme for the day, all project managers will be presenting their project outputs, William Nixon, Digital Library Development Manager, University of Glasgow will be presenting on the embedding and integrating theme, and we will be calculating your ‘E’ factor – what is your embedding score?

Online booking, further details on #jiscrte and the embedding guide,  and the full programme is available here.

Guest post: OA week buddies: putting the Repository at the centre of an institutional research information system

This guest post is authored by Paul Stainthorp, Electronic Resources Librarian, University of Lincoln.  As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Paul, Bev, and Melanie visited the University of Glasgow.

Theme: Repositories and REF preparation

As promised, here’s the first of three blog posts about this week’s trip to the University of Glasgow, sponsored by the RSP for Open Access week 2011, on the theme of Repositories and REF preparation.

Old university library

Three of us made the trip north: myself, the Library’s Repository Officer, Bev Jones, and the University of Lincoln’s new REF Co-ordinator, Melanie Bullock. We were received and looked after very generously by the team at Glasgow, including Susan AshworthMarie Cairney, Morag GreigValerie McCutcheon, Robbie Ireland and William Nixon. Thanks to them all for making our visit pleasant as well as useful.

Over the course of a morning, we discussed many aspects of research information management, the REF, and developments to our own institutional repositories (and repositories in general).

I made copious notes, and reading them back I thought it might be useful to identify and list some of the factors that seem to be necessary (or at least desirable) in successfully placing the repository at the heart of an institutional research information/administration system – what makes it possible for the repo to play its part?

Before started: this is my own interpretation, filtered through my brain, notes, and prejudices. It doesn’t necessarily bear any relationship to the real situation at the University of Glasgow. Nor, for that matter, at the University of Lincoln…

Here’s a checklist of what’s making repo-REF integration work for Glasgow:

  1. Good data. Because it’s not about your component systems, it’s about your data. Decide what data you have/what data you need and what you need to do with that data – then any tool that matches those requirements is the right system for you. You can always change your systems, but your data are here to stay. Design your system around your data, not the other way around. It’s necessary also to decide early what information to store, then to defend that decision vigorously – best to store the complete record of a publication or a project, NOT the filtered, controlled, ‘for-public-consumption’ version of it.
  2. Good relationships: between the library, research/enterprise, ICT services, schools/faculties, etc.: but not only at an operational/service/development level; it’s essential to have joined-up thinking about research data and systems at a management–strategic level. Glasgow seem to have this in spades.
  3. An idea of where you’re headed. Glasgow have received JISC funding to do interesting development work across a number of projects (the most notable in 2009/10 being the Enrich project), but haven’t let the funding distort their overall plan – they haven’t lost sight of the overall aim. While the outside world sees separate projects [until our visit I was personally bewildered about how it all fit together…], Glasgow have the bigger picture in mind! It’s the Research and Enterprise Operations Manager‘s job to make sure it all hangs together, working closely with the repository manager and the head of ICT services (see 2).
  4. A good development culture. The way Glasgow manage their development depends on the bit of the system in question. They have developers in each bit of the university (and centrally as part of ICT services). It’s important to recognise the [occasionally attractive] danger of rushing off and building something to meet a local need, while at the same time jeopardising the bigger picture for research administration.
  5. Taking your users’ needs seriously. Glasgow have a rigorous approach to stakeholder analysis and ‘workload modelling’. Quite often, people working in universities aren’t used to being asked what they actually need a system to do. Genuine user engagement has paid dividends.
  6. Mandatory data processes – not just mandated deposit of the final publication. Achieved through diktat of the research strategy committee; the attitude of senior management is “…if it’s not in Enlighten, it doesn’t exist!”. High-level advocacy win! The respository/research information system plays a part in the staff appraisal process and for SMT planning. “Advocacy is beating people with a big carrot.”
  7. Internal miniREF-type exercises. Glasgow had a big internal drive, and more than 1,200 staff responded. Suddenly, people became much more interested in the quality of their own data(!) and in the completeness of their publication record. Having information about all known publications  in one place has increased interest in metrics from the repository. Publication “healthcheck” exercises – informing a university-wide publication policy.
  8. Useful reporting tools – make it as easy as possible for your users to get data out of the system, via intuitive, meaningful export tools, and in useful formats (Excel output is always good!). Basically, reduce the temptation for people to build their own local silos of data by making it more attractive for people to invest in the repository/institutional research system, safe in the knowledge they can always get the data displayed and/or exported the way they want it.
  9. A secret agent in every faculty. Offer training and additional administrative rights to research administrators in academic departments – encourage a culture of devolved/outsourced deposit, advocacy and administration. Allow administrators to ‘impersonate’ academic authors for deposit/editing. Use bibliographic services (e.g. the Web of Knowledge) to send alerts to schools as a trigger to initiate deposit; allow schools to use these alerts/feeds to create records en-masse through filtering. Learn to talking in a language appropriate to different subject areas. Let the schools/faculties add value to the repository!
  10. Time and a head start. Glasgow’s overall research information infrastructure is well-established. Probably 90% of the system was in place 2 years ago. While we don’t have a time machine(!) we should at least recognise that proactive, consistent, ongoing development is far better than a reactive approach (“Quick! Build me something to deal with the REF!”). Invest in the repository/research information system now, and you’ll reap the benefits when an information need does arise in future.

That’s it for now – except for some links:

Guest author: Paul Stainthorp

Guest Post: A repository journey for the creative arts

This guest post is authored by Kim Coles, Information Assistant (Digital Collections), Royal Holloway, University of London. As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Kim visited University College Falmouth who are currently designing an institutional repository which will be connected to their online research community.

Theme: Archiving and presenting arts research outputs

In between two rather epic train journeys (across beautiful scenery) on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th October, I visited the Tremough Campus of University College Falmouth (UCF) and Doreen Pinfold, Tom Readings and Tim Shear, who work in the Library and Technology Enhanced Learning Teams respectively. My original proposal was an investigation into new ways to archive arts research – thinking creatively about how the repository can work for and with researchers.

Why UCF?

The team are looking into ways of archiving arts research which is linked to the production process – in fact they have worked the research process into their planning so that the whole procedure becomes organic. They are designing an institutional repository which is connected to an online research community, the AIR Portal. This aids dialogue between researchers as well as these external users, and it is therefore easy to discuss and produce work within the AIR portal which will eventually be deposited into the repository with a single click as part of the production process.

This is a method of digital preservation which ‘makes official’ the research outputs. Where the Portal is a space for production, the repository will be a way of exhibiting what is produced via Open Access, whether this is a finalised product or a snapshot of the continuing research as it stood at one point in time.

This is a different and unique way to create and manage a repository, and so seemed the ideal choice for a visit.

So where is the repository?

UCF’s repository is not up and running, and so I had a lot of questions about how one goes about designing a repository from scratch.

I found it interesting that although the team want to design according to need, they are taking a very measured and structured approach. Currently they have the opportunity to compare current repository software for functionality; allowing them to choose the parts which are useful, suggest for development those which need improvement, and suggest new archiving ideas to their researchers.

Time can then be dedicated to producing something which encompasses the best of these areas and, crucially, will be backed up by good metadata standards and a sound technical base which can be adapted in the future. Then, they can trial a useable test version of the system to small groups from each school of study, to report back on. This feedback received, further work will need to be done in order to tailor the systems further, and this may happen multiple times before the finished system is released across the college.

The advantage of UCF’s measured design strategy is that they firstly do not confuse researchers with vastly different versions and functions, but also that they can provide consistent clear message about archiving throughout while at the same time producing a system which meets researchers’ needs.

Conclusion

In answer to my proposal questions, it is clear that the repository at UCF is/will be interactive, dynamic and tailored to the needs of their arts researchers.  But what struck me most about the team at UCF was not only their knowledge of the subject area, but their enthusiasm, interest and excitement about what they were producing. There are a lot of opportunities available and UCF seem very much open to them.

This is an attitude which I feel could especially useful to us at Royal Holloway as we move into a six-week promotional campaign to encourage engagement with our repository and CRIS. If we take constructive criticism and ideas as suggestions for improvement instead of complaints, then we could move forward and produce something applicable to our researchers’ needs. By constantly asking opinions but retaining a strong backbone, the repository can remain consistent in its aims while editing the manner in which it achieves them. Of course, we will need the support of out IT team to do this, but by returning to a ‘shared services’ approach we are able to discuss these ideas with those who have the technical know-how: vital for the development of our repository. This development could be as dramatic as a total overhaul and redesign, or as simple as offering to educate more and differently to tailor our approach as needed.

There’s a lot of food for thought here as it is, but I have to say, it was very difficult to cut this down to a readable length, so if there are any questions, please feel free to comment!
Lastly, though, I’d like to thank Doreen, Tim and Tom for their generosity and a really lovely visit to University College Falmouth.

Author: Kim Coles, Royal Holloway, University of London

Guest Post: Deposition of Datasets and DSpace

This guest post is authored by Annette Ramsden, Assistant Academic Librarian, University of Abertay. As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Annette visited the Edinburgh University Data Library.

Theme: Repository best practice and management

One of the areas of interest to me as manager of Abertay Research Collections is the potential to utilise our repository for deposition of datasets. Currently it is publications only, but the possibility of expansion into dataset deposition had been raised. As funders are increasingly requiring that data is available to a wider audience, institutional repositories can potentially meet this need. Therefore I welcomed the opportunity as part of the RSP ‘buddy’ project to visit Edinburgh University Data Library to discuss with Data Manager Robin Rice and Associate Data Librarian Stuart Macdonald how they dealt with data, as they also utilise D-Space software. It was a really fruitful meeting as we discussed how the software had been customised to meet the needs of the Data Library requirements. Although Edinburgh have separate data repository Edinburgh DataShare  and publications repository (ERA) which has allowed them to customise their metadata fields and deposition process to reflect data deposition content rather than publications, it was useful to see how their processes worked. The meeting raised a number of areas for consideration and of future exploration which I am sure are those being considered and addressed by the rest of the community; in no particular order:

  • Ensuring protocols/procedures for deposition are created and are robust
  • Addressing focus of deposition: is it purely for preservation/curation post- research, or for ongoing deposition as research is completed
  • Ensuring high-quality documentation and clear methodology instructions are provided by depositor along with raw data
  • Rights statements/attribution licencing
  • Issues of licencing for re-usage, whether Creative Commons, Science Commons, Open Data Commons attribution, or any other?
  • Citation fields for correct referencing of data when re-utilised
  • Processes in place to deal with multiple formats
  • Ensuring that confidentiality/commercially sensitive material is appropriately dealt with by depositors
  • Whether datasets should be entirely open-access or whether embargo process/restricted access would be required in some cases
  • Storage issues due to potential size of datasets and limitations of existing storage areas
  • Whether linkage between raw data and articles derived from data could be achieved
  • Ensuring that version control applies to datasets, whether processes are in place to supersede or provide linkage between unique identifiers of related datasets

Meeting Robin and Stuart and being able to discuss the issues that I had considered pertinent and also ones that I hadn’t, was rewarding. It has given me a great deal to consider and investigate further and I would like to thank them for giving up their time and being so hospitable.

Author: Annette Ramsden, Assistant Academic Librarian, University of Abertay.

Guest Post: Keeping up the Momentum: Breaking the Stop Start Cycle of Repository Use

This guest post is authored by Robin Armstrong-Viner, Head of Collection Management, Information Services, University of Kent. As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Robin visited the repository team at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Themes – Embedding, Managing, Preparing for REF and Software

Like many repositories the Kent Academic Repository (KAR) is experiencing something of a mid-life crisis. Established in May 2006, it played an important role in the University of Kent’s submission for the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008. KAR remains the most complete record Kent’s research outputs and is heavily used by a number of Schools. However there are others who prefer to record their publications through internal databases and to make the full text available through subject repositories.

Mindful of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), and keen to ensure that Information Services do all we can to support the Kent’s submission in 2014, I attended the Repositories Support Programme (RSP) Readiness for REF (R4R) Workshop in September. The whole day was brilliant but I was particularly struck by Neil Stewart and Dave Puplett’s description of the mini-REF exercise they undertook at the London School of Economics (LSE). It seemed that LSE and Kent were taking similar approaches to their repositories and the REF and so I was really pleased when RSP agreed to sponsor a buddy visit for me to find out more.

 Embedding KAR in the Research Workflow

Like KAR, LSE Research Online (LSERO) has been established for some time and I was keen to learn how the team had been so successful in maintaining its profile with academics. Dave and Natalia Madjarevic (Neil’s successor) shared their advocacy strategy with me, highlighting the need to identify and target both early adopters and new researchers and demonstrate maximum benefit for minimum effort on the part of those researchers.

The LSE approach is to make each stage of the process as simple and clear as possible for academics. There is a single point of contact for researchers while RSS feeds allow departmental, individual and LSE Experts web pages to be updated automatically. LSERO is also harvested by key subject repositories including Research Papers in Economics (RePEC). All this, together with a Twitter feed, means that LSERO plays a key role in disseminating LSE research.

Talking to Dave and Natalia reminded me how important it is to demonstrate KAR’s impact. They share metrics including citations, downloads and page views with academics. Showing that including an academic’s research outputs in LSERO improves their ranking in Google Scholar is another way of encouraging deposit. The team also make sure they keep researchers up to date throughout the deposit and review process.

 Managing the Distributed KAR Team to Meet the Researchers’ Expectations

Responsibility for KAR is shared between the Academic Liaison, Digital Resources & Serials and Metadata & Processing teams within Information Services at Kent. Natalia explained that LSE have a similarly distributed team with the E-Services team focusing on advocacy, copyright liaison and strategy and the Bibliographic Services team entering and checking the accuracy of the metadata. A key advantage of involving a wider team has been that they have been able to maintain service levels even at busy times.

Dave emphasised how important it was that LSERO was seen as a core role of the Library (and not just the E-Services team), including by the Director. Other teams have been updated on progress through a series of lunchtime seminars, and Dave has been careful to give credit to the wider team for the success of LSERO.

Preparing to Support Kent’s REF Submission

Kent is planning a mini-REF exercise in 2012 so I was interested to know what had made the exercise at LSE so successful. Dave explained that the content, consistency and accuracy of the LSERO data had impressed the Research Division. By generating reports of research outputs by department and highlighting that the they had the skills needed to deliver excellent quality data the team revealed the value of involving the Library. They had also used research managers within individual departments to ensure that as many research outputs eligible for that REF had been captured within LSERO.

Making the Most of the EPrints

Having recently moved to Kent from Aberdeen I’m new to both KAR and EPrints and wanted to be sure that we are getting the most from the software. Both Kent and LSE are looking forward to implementing the new features in EPrints 3.3, particularly the plugins to support the REF. The focus remains making it as easy as possible for academics to record their research outputs and increase the level of full text available.

I was surprised to learn at the R4R Workshop that LSE does not have a Current Research Information System (CRIS). Kent is a pathfinder on the JISC Research Management and Administration Service (RMAS) and I wanted to explore how Dave would approach a similar project (which might include a CRIS or CRIS-like functionality). He stressed that the completeness, quality and volume of the data in LSERO would have to be taken into account when assessing the potential benefits of implementing a CRIS, and that in the short term developing LSERO was the Library’s priority.

Keeping up the Momentum

Use of KAR has fluctuated since RAE 2008 and I asked Dave and Natalia how they plan to build on the success of the mini-REF exercise. There are constantly monitoring deposit rates from departments to ensure that LSERO remains a current and accurate record of the LSE research outputs. This strengthened my resolve to put in place suitable strategies for the development and support of KAR – huge thanks to Dave, Natalia, Helen Williams and all at LSE and RSP who made my visit possible, informative and enjoyable.

Author: Robin Armstrong-Viner,  Head of Collection Management, University of Kent.

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