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.

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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….

Umbrella 2011

University of Hertfordshire by phatcontroller

I will be presenting at Umbrella 2011 on “Research Repositories: the role of library staff in their management”. I’ll be referring to a survey which the RSP carried out last year on the role and skills of staff in UK repositories. I’ll also describe the role of the RSP, including its training events, and refer to UKCoRR. It will include some future gazing as to the role librarians might play to meet the ever growing demands of research data management.

Hope to see some of you there.

Data and documentation in the performing arts – event resources

I did a recent blog post on an event I attended in Glasgow on managing data and documentation in the performing arts. The presentations are now available. In addition, there are short video clips of interviews with the speakers which are worth checking out.

Research data: policies and behaviours

Last week (18th November), I attended an evening event organised by the Research Information Network at the Royal College of Physicians.

Image by Ian-S

There were three excellent speakers. Andrew Young, Director of Research from John Moores University, Carole Goble, School of Computer Science, University of Manachester and Kevin Ashley, Director of the Digital Curation Centre. The panel was chaired by Professor John Wood, Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The consensus was that researchers are currently reluctant to share data and in order to change this culture, we need to be aware of the risks and rewards in doing so. Carole Goble coined the wonderful phrase of “data mine-ing” and she quoted from the recent RIN Report on e-Infrastructure: taking forward the strategy: “my impression of researchers, and I can criticize myself in this, is that we’re much more interested in sharing data when we mean sharing someone else’s as opposed [to] sharing ours”. Encouragement and reward were seen as more effective strategies than coercion, the latter can lead to pseudo sharing where data are shared but so poorly curated that they cannot be reused.

The importance of good management and curation was a key theme but this comes at a cost that has to be factored in. And data managment isn’t as appealing as research to those in the field. In later discussion, the issue of training information professionals to take on this role was raised.

Good curation can ensure that the researcher is properly accredited and this will be an incentive for more data sharing. Data citation could become as important as article citation in the future. And in the same way as a well written paper is more likely to be cited, so will a well curated dataset.

In all it was a very interesting event – the speakers were all thought provoking, as were the questions and comments from the floor.