Balancing the Books – the Economics of Digital Curation Training & Education
Balancing the BooksThe Economics of Digital Curation TrainingNeil GrindleyDigital Preservation & Curation ProgrammeJiscLondon, UKn.firstname.lastname@example.orgDigCurV International Conference6th-7th May 2013Florence, Italy
Jisc Managing Research Data Training Projects• Curating Artistic Research Output (CAiRO)• DataTrain• Research data management training for health studies (DATUM for Health)• Postgraduate training for research data management in the psychological sciences (DMTpsych)• Research Data MANTRA• Data Management Skills and Support Initiative – Assessment, Benchmarking and Classification (DaMSSI-ABC)• RDMRose• Research Data Management Training for the whole project lifecycle in Physics & Astronomy research (RDMTPA)• Sound Data Management Training (SoDaMaT)• Training for Data Management at UEL (TraD)http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/mrd/rdmtrain.aspxhttp://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/di_researchmanagement/managingresearchdata/research-data-management-training/Jisc’s contribution to training initiativesJisc Digital Preservation Programme (Enhancing Capability within Institutions)• DataSafe• Digital Communications Enhancement (DICE)• Preservation: Promoting Awareness to Researchers (PrePARe)• Preservation of Historical Research Data (SHARD)http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/preservation/12-11projectlist.aspxClosing the DigitalCuration Gap (CDCG)International DigitalCuration EducationAction Group (IDEA)ICE ForumSimon HodsonJisc MRDProgramme
But now let’s go in a slightly different direction ...A brief look at digital curation training from a costs & economics perspectiveA. I hope it makes an original contribution to the conferenceB. It’s a good fit for an organisation like Jisc to be interested in ‘the money’ side of thingsC. It aligns well with work that has just started which is looking very closely at issues to do with thecosts and economics of digital curation4C will help organisations across Europe to invest more effectively in digitalcuration and preservation. Past research in the area has tended toemphasize the cost and complexity of the task. 4C reminds us that thepoint of this investment is to realise a benefit, so our research mustencompass related concepts such as risk, value, quality and sustainability.Organizations that understand this will be more able to effectively controland manage their digital assets over time, but they may also be able tocreate new cost-effective solutions and services for others.http://www.4CProject.eu
4C will help organisations across Europe to invest more effectively in digitalcuration and preservation. Past research in the area has tended toemphasize the cost and complexity of the task. 4C reminds us that thepoint of this investment is to realise a benefit, so our research mustencompass related concepts such as risk, value, quality and sustainability.Organizations that understand this will be more able to effectively controland manage their digital assets over time, but they may also be able tocreate new cost-effective solutions and services for others.http://www.4CProject.euBut now let’s go in a slightly different direction ...A brief look at digital curation training from a costs & economics perspectiveA. I hope it makes an original contribution to the conferenceB. It’s a good fit for an organisation like Jisc to be interested in ‘the money’ side of thingsC. It aligns well with work that has just started which is looking very closely at issues to do with thecosts and economics of digital curation
Training as an investment ...The skills and capabilities that personnel acquire via training have to realise a benefit tothat individual. Sponsorship of training by organisations is all part of the complexfinancial equation that ensures that the digital assets owned by that organisation remainsafe and accessible.The purpose is to look at training through an economic lens to see whether new insightsemerge
Current evidence and indications of DEMAND for digital curation training19 out of every 20 individuals surveyed [by DigCurV] declared that their organisationeither already had, or was going to have, responsibility for the long term care of digitalassetsWell over half of them (57.3%) said that their organisations did not intend to recruitnew staff to deal with this issueOver a third (35.4%) of respondents said that training would be provided for staff whohad no previous experience. Just under a third (31.4%) said that staff who already hadsome expertise would receive further training.
There is a great demand for training from staff already engaged in library andarchive settings, and in particular for accessible introductory material.APARSEN ProjectParticipants [...] have shown willingness, even urgency, to make pragmatic progressin the preservation of digital collections. They favour small parcels of practicaladvice which is ‘good enough’ over comprehensive theoretical overviews andinaccessible research questions.APARSEN ProjectSurvey carried out for Jisc by Charles Beagrie Ltd. (2013)
But what is the actual nature of the demand for training ...?Who is demanding training? An individual ... an organisation ... a project?From the economist’s point of view, the issue is not so much about the identity ofthe customer when it comes to training, it’s about the relationship (or thetransaction) between the person who would benefit from being trained, and theperson (representing the interests of the organisation as a whole) who can make adecision whether to sponsor that training or not.In the real world, people tackle this is many different ways, and use all theiringenuity, communication and interpersonal skills to get what they want ...The world of economic theory is rather more mechanistic ...
According to standard economic theory ...Training is a human capital investment decisionOrganisations will not invest in general training for their employees and willunder-invest in specific trainingGeneral TrainingTraining that will make the employeeequally useful to many differentorganisationsSpecific TrainingTraining that makes the employee usefulwithin the sponsoring organisation and hasno effect on the productivity of that personin alternative employmentThe ‘perfect market’ = full and open competition between organisations in theirsearch for human capital; where all training is general; where all organisations train;all workers are trained; everyone is purely motivated by financial gain
Where does this lead us?Organisations won’t sponsor training because they don’t trust their employees to stayin post once they have acquired new skills.No wonder they call it the dismal science!To be fair, however ... the concept of reciprocity is acknowledged as mitigating someof the more excessive focus on mechanistic and theory-driven outcomesReciprocity = A mutual or cooperative interchange of favours or privileges
Reciprocity Study• Older respondents are less inclined to return a favour in response to someone doingsomething that is beneficial to them• Younger employees are more reciprocal and participate more in training• Those with more advanced levels of educational attainment are more reciprocal• There is no systematic relation between respondents’ reciprocal attitudes whetherthey are female, migrant, single or have children• Women are less likely to participate in organisation-sponsored training than men, butare more likely to participate in training that the organisation does not support• Employees are more likely to participate in sponsored training when the employerpossesses its own training centre and when the organisation is larger• Organisations learn quickly about the level of an employee’s reciprocity• Respondents with a high reciprocity rating were 15% more likely to receive training ina 12 month period than those declaring low reciprocityLeuven et al (2003) – http://www.economists.nl/files/20070903-leuvenEA2005.pdf
What can we conclude then about demand ...?There would seem to be a lot of demand and it’s highly likely to develop and increaseThat economic theory can frame it in formal ways and may explain unhelpful attitudestowards the uptake of training opportunities in some organisationsDemand is complicated and full of contextual and fuzzy factors... And on the basis of some reports, it appears demand is not being met by supplyFor example … the DigCurV study states: “Across the groups participants stated a lack ofappropriate training offers.”
SUPPLYDepending on where you look, and what you are looking for, you might argue that itseems like there are quite a lot of offerings covering all sort of topics at all kinds ofprices from $0 – around $1500 for traininghttp://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2011/07/how-do-you-find-training-on-digital-preservation/BUT ... We see from surveys and we read in reports and anecdotally we hearThat there is an insufficient supply of training to meet a predictable and growingdemand for trainingIn economic terms, we have ... MARKET FAILUREWhy have we got market failure and what can we do about it?
5 Possible Reasons1. Developing training courses or materials for digital curation is disproportionatelyexpensive or difficult ...?2. Digital Curation is too technically complex or niche a field and many providers arenot yet in a position to assemble and deliver appropriate training ...?3. The market for training is confusing and obscure for training providers and theydon’t understand who they would deliver products to ...?4. There are no established products that address clear tasks that institutionsrequire someone to tackle ...?5. There is no obvious level of certified capability that confers credit on the traineror the trainee ...?
Is this what weshould beaiming for?OAIS ISO 14721TRACISO 16363DIN 31644ISO 31000ISO 27000DANS DSAMETS (PREMIS)ISO 10303LOTARISO 15489-2:2001
Of course it may be possible that ...• The shortfall in supply is only apparent rather than genuine; or what is beingoffered is just not understood by potential customers• The demand is stated but not actualSo what are the implications?And what should we do about it?
The demand-side and the supply side of digital curation training are complex and westill don’t fully understand either. This indicates lingering immaturity in relation toother work domains. So this warrants further research – particularly on the preciseorigin of the demand within organisations.We need to carefully design courses and be very clear in the marketing of themwhether they are pitched at a basic, intermediate or advanced level; and we need tounderstand very clearly what those levels mean; and what they will enable people toachieve afterwards. Enabling rapid productivity gains (at all levels) needs to be theoverriding objective.If standard economic theories about training are (even partially) applicable, then wehave to foster more trust and reciprocity in our organisations to take fuller advantageof the training that is on offer.
One way we might foster that trust is to use career and personal developmentopportunities within our organisations as the incentive to stay – rather than themechanism which allows people to leave for more lucrative postshttp://mashable.com/2012/12/15/survey-overworking/
365DaysIf sponsoring organisations are unwilling to allow staff the‘time off work’ to attend training, it is perhaps indicative of adeeper structural problem within the organisation.Organisations have a duty to understand the true level ofreciprocity that is occurring between the organisation and itsemployees.
Days174 Weekends – 104 daysBank Holidays – 12 daysSickness – 5 daysHolidays – 25 daysAdmin – 23 daysInternal Meetings – 12 daysTravelling for Work – 10 days
Days172 Weekends – 104 daysBank Holidays – 12 daysSickness – 5 daysHolidays – 25 daysAdmin – 23 daysInternal Meetings – 12 daysTravelling for Work – 10 daysObligatory Training – 2 days
Days167 Weekends – 104 daysBank Holidays – 12 daysSickness – 5 daysHolidays – 25 daysAdmin – 23 daysInternal Meetings – 12 daysTravelling for Work – 10 daysObligatory Training – 2 daysCareer & Personal development – 5 days
Days167 Weekends – 104 daysBank Holidays – 12 daysSickness – 5 daysHolidays – 25 daysAdmin – 23 daysInternal Meetings – 12 daysTravelling for Work – 10 daysObligatory Training – 2 daysCareer & Personal Development – 5 daysCORE Productive year – 167 days
What relevance does all of this thinking about training issues have for the 4C Projectand other projects working in the digital curation space?It’s certainly made me realise that training and skills and capability withinorganisations (to undertake digital curation) is an important indirect economicdeterminant.And consequently (as a potential threat to the sustainability of digital assets) thisneeds to be a component part of the Economic Sustainability Reference Model thatwe are continuing to develop.And we need to think carefully about our stakeholder engagement with training andeducation professionals and what information they might usefully extract from theCuration Costs Exchange (CCEx)
And finally ...One of the things I was asked to do was to think about the overall rationale forinvestment in human capital in the digital curation area.I haven’t really done that here. I’ve assumed that people need to know about digitalcuration and I’ve started to investigate whether economics can explain some of thebarriers to uptake of training.So I’ll end with a very quick quote that I think does a good job explaining why weneed to have trained people in our organisations doing effective digital curation ...“One of the greatest risks we run in not preserving ourown digital assets for ourselves is that wesimultaneously cease to preserve our own viability asinstitutions.”K. Skinner and M. Schultz, Eds. (Atlanta, GA: Educopia Institute, 2010)
ThankyouNeil Grindley I Programme Manager - Digital Preservation & Curation I JiscT: +44 (0)203 006 6059 I M: +44 (0)7816 277 573 I Twitter: @neilgrindley I Skype: email@example.com