Managing research data: new roles for librarians


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In the era of the data deluge librarians are staking their claim to be involved in research data support and curation, and new roles are emerging. In 2011 Edith Cowan University Library completed a Seeding the Commons project funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) that sought to identify and describe a selection of data sets produced by researchers at the university. A goal of the project was the collection and description of twelve data sets that could be shared. We were very successful in that ours was the first ANDS project to be completed in Western Australia, with a total of sixteen data sets collected. As part of the project, the librarians involved learned new skills, including conducting data interviews, describing data using the RIF-CS schema, and understanding the many issues surrounding the management of research data.
As a result of the project, researchers' data management requirements were identified, and gaps in the services and infrastructure available to meet these needs started to become clear. Librarians' skills in assisting researchers with data management have also become obvious, and library services to support researchers are now being developed, as a secondary outcome of this project

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  • According to the recent, the Institute for the Future (IFTF) Report at the University of Phoenix Six drivers of change in the future workplace are:Extreme longevity Rise of smart machines and systems Computational world – data New media ecology – a new way of communicating Super-structured organisations – new technologies Globally connected world –diversity and adaptability  What skills are needed to work in this new landscape?Sense-making Social intelligence Novel & adaptive thinking Cross-cultural competency Computational thinking - dataNew-media literacy TransdisciplinaryDesign mindset Cognitive load management Virtual collaboration  These drivers of future change and associated skills required in the workplace resonate with librarians and the current skills many already have. However, working with researchers and their data may seem like a stretch from traditional research support on libraries.Reference:  
  • The context:In recent years, there has been an exponential increase in computing speeds, storage and bandwidth.“Large-scale, distributed global collaboration is now possible, using distributed information technologies, supported by next generation cyber-infrastructure” – this has lead to the rise of eScience. – or eResearchHow scientists and researchers work is changing, as the tools and workflows they use are changing. The types of problems they address, and the way they communicate the results of their research are also changing.How do libraries support researchers in this environment?
  • Traditional roles of the library with regards to information:OrganiseProvide accessPreserveAnd for a teaching focussed university like ECU, we have also concentrated on our information literacy offerings, and have been building collections to support undergraduate students
  • We’re accustomed to talking about “information”, not DATA.ANDS project found that researchers across the university produce a wide variety of data types: qualitative, quantitative in various formatsHow do we preserve, provide access to, and SHARE data?
  • ANDS project done in 2011 found a number of things:InfrastructureAwareness – of obligations, best practiceServices – time poor academic staff
  • 2012 Re-skilling for Research report identified a skills gapRe-skilling for Research In January 2012 in the UK RLUK (Research Libraries UK) published a major report by Mary Auckland on the changing needs of researchers and the effect on the subject/liaison role within libraries.  Research practices and activities are changing and evolving, research support provided by libraries must evolve with them. In terms of what libraries are currently offering the, Re-skilling for Research report found a Skills gap 9 areas: 
  • The 9 areas identified as having potentially the most significant skills gap are: The Ability to advise on preserving research outputsKnowledge to advise on data management and curation, including ingest, discovery, access, dissemination, preservation, and portability Knowledge to support researchers in complying with the various mandates of funders, including open access requirementsKnowledge to advise on potential data manipulation tools used in the disciplineKnowledge to advise on data miningKnowledge to advocate, and advise on, the use of metadata Ability to advise on the preservation of project records e.g. Knowledge of sources of research funding to assist researchers to identify potential funders Skills to develop metadata schema, and advise on discipline/subject standards and practices, for individual research projects
  • 4. Knowledge to advise on potential data manipulation tools used in the discipline5. Knowledge to advise on data mining
  • 6. Knowledge to advocate, and advise on, the use of metadata 7. Ability to advise on the preservation of project records e.g. correspondence
  • A quick poll of library schools around Australia was done – asked the question “does the school teach a unit on research data management?”Only one school answered yes
  • Managing research data: new roles for librarians

    1. 1. Managing Research Data:New Roles for LibrariansConstance Wiebrands & Julia Gross
    2. 2. NASA “Discover”supercomputerNASA Goddard Space Flight Centre a_goddard/6559334995/
    3. 3. What researchers want
    4. 4. Do librarians have the skills needed? Re-skilling for Research (Auckland, 2012)
    5. 5. 9 skills gaps1. Ability to advise on preserving research outputs2. Knowledge to advise on data management and curation3. Knowledge on complying with funder mandates, incl open access (Auckland, 2012)
    6. 6. 4. Knowledge to advise onpotential data manipulation tools5. Knowledge to advise on datamining6. Knowledge to advocate, andadvise on, the use of metadata (Auckland, 2012)
    7. 7. 7. Ability to advise on thepreservation of project records8. Knowledge of sources ofresearch funding9. Skills to develop metadataschema (Auckland, 2012)
    8. 8. Formal training?
    9. 9. Informal learning?
    10. 10. Questions?
    11. 11. References Auckland, M (2012), Re-skilling for Research, Research Libraries UK (RLUK) report skilling-research Corrall, S (2012), Skills Which Librarians Need, presentation at “Clarifying The Roles Of Libraries In Research Data Management: A Discussion Day To Find Creative Solutions”, RL UK libraries-research-data-management-discussion-day-find-creative-solutions Institute for the Future (2011), Future Work Skills 2020 report NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre NERSC Franklin Cray XT4s - supercomputer cluster Wired UK - NDNAD Infographic Future work skills 2020 LKSC Go HD, Maestro, Classroom training iStillness by Shapeshift