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Services, policy, guidance and training: Improving research data management at one institution
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Services, policy, guidance and training: Improving research data management at one institution


Presented at IASSIST 2010 in the session 'Data Management: Engaging Researchers and Crossing Disciplines'.

Presented at IASSIST 2010 in the session 'Data Management: Engaging Researchers and Crossing Disciplines'.

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  • 1. Robin Rice
    Data Librarian, University of Edinburgh
    IASSIST 2010, Ithaca, New York
    Services, policy, guidance and training: Improving research data management at one institution
  • 2. The more things change…
    Improving best practice in research data management is really about culture change.
    (What’s a librarian doing trying to change academic culture?)
    Indigenous artwork and poetry in the information centre at Petroglyphs Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. CC-attribution license, zayzayem (flickr)
  • 3. Overview
    Data Library service at UoE
    Recent projects and why they pointed us towards Research Data Management (RDM)
    DISC-UK DataShare
    Data Audit Framework Implementation
    Developing guidance in RDM
    Developing policy in RDM
    Developing training in RDM
  • 4. EDINA and Data Library at UoE
    Data Library established out of the Program Library Unit in early 1980s to provide access to data on mainframes, e.g. 1981 population census data. Was part of Computing Service, now in Information Services.
    Part of long tradition of sharing machine-readable data for secondary analysis in the social sciences
    Became a national data centre as EDINA in 1993 - data library continues University remit
    celebrated 25th anniversary in 2008 with a few IASSIST notables and others
  • 5. 5
    EDINA and Data Library at UoE
    EDINA is a JISC-designated national academic data centre based at the University of Edinburgh.
    ‘Our mission is to ‘enhance the productivity of research, learning and teaching’ across all universities, research institutes and colleges in the UK.
    ‘We do this by delivering first-rate online services … [for bibliographic, geographic and multimedia data] and by carrying out successful R&D projects.’
  • 6. 6
    Edinburgh Data Library services … distilled
    “I need to analyse some data for a project, but all I can find are published papers with tables and graphs, not the original data source.”
    Accessing …
    “I’ve found the data I need, but I’m not sure how to gain access to it.”
    Using …
    “I’ve got the data I need, but I’m having problems analysing it in my chosen software.”
    Managing …
    “I have collected my own data and I’d like to document and preserve it and make it available to others.”
    Teaching …
    “I need a dataset that teaches X to my students.”
  • 7. 7
    A forum for data professionals working in UK Higher Education who specialise in supporting staff and students in the use of numeric and geo-spatial data.
    DISC-UK’s aims are -
    Foster understanding between data users and providers
    Raise awareness of the value of data support in Universities
    Share information and resources among local data support staff
  • 8. 8
    DISC-UK has completed a JISC-funded repository enhancement project (March 07 - March 09) with the aim of “exploring new pathways to assist academics wishing to share their data over the Internet” (hint: repositories!)
    With three institutions taking part – the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford and Southampton – a range of institutional data repositories and related services have been established.
    The project was led by the JISC-funded national data centre, EDINA, at the University of Edinburgh, which also runs the University’s Data Library service.
  • 9. 9
    Project Keywords
    “Live” cloud tag at based on social bookmarks
  • 10.
  • 11. 11
    Benefits to data deposit in an IR
    The repository submission process can guide the researcher through the process of data description to create a formal record of the dataset.
    IRs provide a suitable deposit environment where funders mandate that data must be made publicly available.
    Deposit in an IR provides researchers with reliable access to their own data for future use.
    Deposit of data in an IR, in addition to publications, provides a fuller record of an individual’s research.
    Metadata for discovery and harvesting increases the exposure of an individual’s research within the research community.
  • 12. 12
    Benefits to data deposit in an IR
    Where an embargo facility is available, research can be deposited and stored until the researcher is ready for the data to be shared.
    Where links are made between source data and output publications, the research process will be further eased.
    Where the Institution aims to preserve access in the longer term, preservation issues become the responsibility of the institution rather than the individual.
    Time-stamps on submissions provide researchers with proof of the timing of their work, should this be disputed.
    Gibbs, H. (2007). DISC-UK DataShare: State-of-the-Art Review
  • 13. Enter Data Audit Framework
    Recommendation to JISC:
    “JISC should develop a Data Audit Framework to enable all universities and colleges to carry out an audit of departmental data collections, awareness, policies and practice for data curation and preservation.”
    Liz Lyon (2007). Dealing with Data: Roles, Rights,
    Responsibilities and Relationships
  • 14. Data Audit Framework (DAF) Projects 2008
    JISC funded five six-month projects:
    DAF Development (DAFD) Project, led by Seamus Ross (Director), Sarah Jones (Project Manager) HATII/DCC, University of Glasgow
    Four pilot implementation projects:
    King’s College London
    University of Edinburgh
    University College London
    Imperial College London
    Two more conducted by DataShare partners, the Universities of Oxford and Southampton, as added deliverables
  • 15. See
    DAF project reports available (findings)
    Appendices with questionnaires, interview schedules, etc
    Methodology document
    Online tool ready for others to conduct data audits
  • 16. Methodology
    Based on Records Management Audit methodology. Five stages:
    Planning the audit;
    Identifying data assets;
    Classifying and appraising data assets;
    Assessing the management of data assets;
    Reporting findings and recommending change.
  • 17. Findings from 5 DAF ‘case studies’
    Inadequate storage space (reliable, regularly backed up, secure, easily accessible)
    Lack of awareness and understanding of research data management
    Lack of formal research data management plans
    Demand for training in research data management and curation
    Lack of good practice guidance and advice from support services as and when needed
    Lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities for research data management by University research staff
  • 18. Web Guidance for Researchers
    Subliminal message: Deposit Your Data!
  • 19. Towards a University Data Policy
    Ownership and intellectual property rights of research data assets produced by research staff and students should be clarified, including multi-institutional collaborations.
    Development and compliance with data management plans and procedures should be implemented at college, school, research unit and individual project level. These should include:
    the allocation of appropriate roles and responsibilities
    documentation/metadata to an identified mininimum standard
    arrangements for access and re-use
    legal compliance.
    storage and backup procedures including provision for business continuity arrangements.
    Data upon which research outputs are published should be retained by the institution for sufficient time to allow reference.
  • 20. Towards a University Data Policy
    Guidance on the assignment of retention periods for research data should be made available by the University.
    Support and advice should be provided for researchers who wish to have their research data curated either after the recommended retention period, after the close of the research project, or when the researcher leaves the institution.
    A formal procedure for data transfer should be developed for when staff and students leave the institution.
  • 21. Research Data MANTRA (MANagementTRAining)
    Proposal to JISC, May 2010
    The project will be a partnership between Information Services, the Institute of Academic Development, the Graduate Schools of Social and Political Science and GeoSciences along with the Clinical and Health Psychology Professional Doctorate in the University of Edinburgh.
    Online learning materials in research data management will be created which are grounded in the best practice of the respective disciplines, provide examples based on video interviews of senior researchers, and provide interactive components for postgraduate students, including data handling exercises in four software analysis packages.
    The resulting materials will be embedded in the three participating postgraduate programmes, ported into a University VLE for use by all postgraduate and early career researchers and deposited with an open license in JorumOpen.
  • 22. How to effect culture change??
    CC-attribution license, mayorkoch (flickr)