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Laying the Foundation: Establishing an institutional RDM Support Service for health researchers


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Talk gave by Gareth Knight at the Data Management Planning Workshop, organised by the UCL Institute of Child Health on 18 July 2012

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Laying the Foundation: Establishing an institutional RDM Support Service for health researchers

  1. 1. Laying the Foundation Establishing an institutional RDM Support Service for health researchers Data Management Planning Workshop UCL Institute of Child Health 18 July 2012Gareth Knight & Frieda Midgley
  2. 2. Academic Environment What is the LSHTM?A university for research and postgraduate education specialising in public health and  tropical medicineConstituent college of University of London A small institution 12 academic departments in 3 faculties 17 research centre 10 research groups But distributed…. Recognised as one of world’s highest rated  universities for collaborative research4000 students & 1,300 staff working in 100+  countries
  3. 3. LSHTM initiative on research data (2009-10) Researcher as (initial) Data Champion Personal pride  ‐ want it to be available and used … Quickly realised time commitment required to support end user Research Data Working GroupReceived approval to establish a RDWG for institution in Feb 2010Membership comprised of research staff, librarians, archivists, and  other staff  Scope of work Advise institution on RDM and Open Data development Develop recommendations for next steps
  4. 4. Data Sharing Seminar‘Ill show you mine if you show me yours: Risks and rewards of sharing data’ (Nov 10) Data Management as enabler for Data Sharing: • Accountability to funders & demonstrate value for money  • Enable meta analysis – gain more mileage from data ‘Coolest thing to do  with your data..’ • Esteem factor – Wish to seen to be doing good research by peers However, too much onus placed upon researcher: • Requires significant amount of work: • Existing data requires time to organise, clean and document – is this a lost cause? • Uncertainty on type of contextual information required to understand. Consider  impossible to document for use by layperson  Conclusions: •Data management & sharing needs to have its rewards, as for publications •Quality monitoring process, linked to incentive structure. Who would do this?  •Need to empower people to act locally  •Establish Infrastructure to support data handling activities
  5. 5. Scoping Study Recommendations • Develop policies/guidance for researchers on;  – obtaining consent to permit data sharing, – maintenance of confidentiality and minimising risk  of disclosure of identities,  – Inclusion of adequate budget lines for new grants • Introduce staff, taught course and doctoral training  on documentation and meta‐data • Best practice and minimal standards for data  documentation and institutional incentives for its  application • Review career pathways for info specialists; • Develop portal/gateway for discovery of key data  assets;Recommendations fully accepted by SMT in mid 2011
  6. 6. Research Data Management Support ServiceFunding:• Wellcome Trust Infrastructure development fund• 1 year + 2 year continuationObjectives:1. Establish and embed RDM Support Service within the School2. Champion good Research Data Management practice in the School3. Advise Senior Leadership Team on issues relating to documenting, preserving and providing  access to research data, including : 1. actions required to respond to initiatives taken by funders and others in this area  2. Steps need to be taken to ensure that in the longer term the School continues to  develop and be at the cutting edge of research data management4. Monitor related developments and projects at other institutions, funding bodies etc..Approach: • 3‐year broad plan • Detailed Stage Plan for each six month phase
  7. 7. Data Management Practices SurveySurvey data management knowledge and expertise within institution &  establish standards & systems used.Target audience• Primary Investigators, researchers, department/group leaders• Research Support staff: Data Managers, Research Office & IT support• and IT support staff Methodology draws upon DAF and approaches trialled inother institutions• What type of data do you create & store?• How do you organise and label it?• Where do you store it & how is it used?• How can we help you to better manage your data?Communication:• Online questionnaire• One‐to‐one interviews• Group interviews
  8. 8. RDM Guidance material• Develop a Research Data Management microsite  to support LSHTM researchers.• Guidance framed around several lifecycles: – Funding: Preparation, funded period, post‐project – Data: Contemporary, obsolete format – Record: Active, semi‐active,  Inactive (possibly)• Several topics covered during lifecycle: – Developing Data Management Plan – Data labelling – Metadata• Guidance tailored to institutional services,  subject domains and health‐related data &  metadata formats• Material produced over several stages of  development – work with key departments
  9. 9. RDM training material Producing teaching material on various topics related to RDM.• Produce OERs consisting of slides, exercises and notes• Tailored for different audiences: – Domain independent for library & archives staff – Subject specific for tutor use in • Different course types and duration – 1 hour, 2 hour lessons for use in course – 1 day CPD, – 5‐10 week Distance Learning• ‘Training the Tutors’ programme
  10. 10. Research Data Tools and servicesRecognise need to develop/implement infrastructure and recommend tools to  simplify process of managing & publishing researcher  data Web-based services: Research Data Discovery Service Online catalogue of research data assets Data Management / data archive system Collection, Item, variable-level access Access controls for different users Desktop tools: Dataset documentation tools DDI metadata, collection manifests, etc. Deposit tools Submit dataset to different data archives & services
  11. 11. Conclusions• LSHTM currently establishing the foundation of the RDM Support Service,  but small size allows it to move quickly• Need to establish buy‐in and ensure that work is represented at different  levels: – Institutional management are on‐board – Next step is to convince research departments & groups • RCUK & EPSRC requirements, along with need to produce DM plans may help • Examine ways to simplify the researcher’s life• Locating RDM Services within Library & Archives Service has benefits – Department staff familiar with dept through existing arrangement to manage paper  records – Embedded Information Management skills can be repurposed for research data• RDM Service should combine central support with local knowledge and expertise provided by data champions• Open Access is in the media. How can we promote Open Data?
  12. 12. Thank You for your attention! Knight.RDMSS Project ManagerEmail: | Twitter: gknight2000