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The program has evolved from an off-the-shelf approach to a more tailored and yet
fluid idea of what constitutes ‘an engagement,’ with a more fluid and less
hierarchical structure for delivery. We now define an IE as ‘any supported activity
that benefits one institution (or self-contained group of institutions) either solely or
primarily,’ and we categorise activities under the following headings:
THE INSTITUTIONAL ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMME
changing approaches to a changing landscape
Phase 1: 2011-2013
Digital Curation Centre
University of Edinburgh
Further reading: “A Maturing Process of Engagement: Raising Data Capabilities in UK Higher Education” by Pryor, G. (2013),
International Journal of Digital Curation, Vol. 8 No. 2, and “Reshaping the DCC Institutional Engagement programme” by Jones, S.,
Rans, J., Sisu, D. and Whyte, A. (2014) International Digital Curation Conference, San Francisco, CA. (www.dcc.ac.uk)
This work is licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution
2.5 UK: Scotland License.
Redesign / reorganise Phase 2: 2013 onwards…
Formed in 2004, the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) is a national
support service and centre of expertise in digital preservation
and data management, distributed between three UK
universities: Edinburgh, Bath and Glasgow.
Increased funder expectations for functioning research data
management infrastructures have obliged institutions to take
action in order to assess and improve their data capabilities.
While some have been quick off the mark, galvanised by pro-
active senior management, others have been slower to engage
with the new requirements in a centralised way, obliging staff
further down decision-making chains to act independently.
Between 2011 and 2013 the DCC received special funding from
the Higher Education Funding Council for England to work in
collaboration with twenty higher education institutions via a
programme of institutional engagements (IEs). Our goal was to
improve institutional data-related services and capabilities,
synthesising the lessons learned to identify and promote
transferable lessons and approaches to benefit the wider sector.
Upon conclusion of the original IE programme, we gained
continuation funding from our core sponsors, Jisc, to work with
another cohort of universities, no longer as a pilot but as a core strand
of the DCC’s work.
Institutions have rightly understood research data management as a
‘hybrid’ activity, and many have assembled multi-functional working
groups or task forces to tackle it in a holistic fashion, usually with a
senior champion providing resources and driving the changes through
approval channels; our engagements generally involve close
interaction with stakeholders from a variety of business areas.
Rather than offering a flat 60 days’ pro bono support, as was the case
in Phase 1, we now discuss detailed requirements with the institution
from the outset, identifying deliverables and key indicators of success,
and laying out a bespoke workplan informed by previous experience.
As well as changing the delivery side of the work, we also streamlined
the way in which it is managed and coordinated. Management of the
programme is now ‘striped’ across three senior institutional support
officers, each with responsibility for a specific aspect of the work:
definition, delivery, and synthesis.
ACT = Managing active data
ADV = General advice and support e.g. initial planning meetings
BUS = Business plan and sustainability
CAT = Data catalogues and metadata advice
DMP = Data management planning
HAN = Data selection and handover (inc. external repository selection)
POL = RDM policy, strategy and roadmaps
REP = Data repositories (inc. workflows, requirements and platform capabilities)
TRA = Guidance/ advocacy, training and support
We aim to keep in touch with institutions from the first IE cohort, offering them a
flat 5 days’ pro bono support each year. In doing this we can maintain the
relationships we have developed, and remain well positioned to respond to new
challenges that require broader, coordinated approaches to their solution.