Anything But A Policy - Building Institutional Support for
Data Services at Carnegie Mellon University
Steven Van Tuyl – D...
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RDAP14 Poster: Anything but a policy – building institutional support for data services at Carnegie Mellon University


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Research Data Access & Preservation Summit
March 26-28, 2014
San Diego, CA

Steven Van Tuyl, Carnegie Mellon University

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RDAP14 Poster: Anything but a policy – building institutional support for data services at Carnegie Mellon University

  1. 1. Anything But A Policy - Building Institutional Support for Data Services at Carnegie Mellon University Steven Van Tuyl – Data Services Librarian - Carnegie Mellon University Contact: – Abstract The administrative and research environment at Carnegie Mellon University is extremely balkanized and hands-off. This environment tends to result in innovation and productivity at the expense (sometimes) of strong central administration. Given this environment, the Data Management Services Group at CMU has chosen to build a research data management service infrastructure first and ask for a university policy on data management later. We have been able to build a broad base of support, starting with Faculty outreach, engaging with a handful of high profile use cases, and by taking advantage of widespread administrative uncertainty at the university. About Carnegie Mellon University The “Hunting License” • CMU Researchers have historically been extreme freedom to do as they please with their research • Results in innovation and productivity • Also – balkanization, animosity towards central authority • CMU doesn’t like policies* – so we decided to do without *well, not exactly, but its REALLY hard to create and pass policy at CMU… Building Support from all Quarters • Faculty Senate resolution to push for university-level support for research data management • High-profile pilot projects create champions across university • Build support among deans and across university IT infrastructures • Embedded data management planning into orientations and responsible conduct of research training Successes • Listen and Do • Secure University commitment (Faculty Senate, President) • Respond to early requests for help (even without services in place – Pilot Projects) • Suggest services around requests for assistance and clear research data problem areas (web hosting, data storage, backup charges) • Ask for Help • ~ 80% of time initially spent talking and asking questions • Result is a robust set of collaborators and partners: • Find Gaps/Fill Gaps • Push back on “the way things are normally done” • Identify IT service gaps • Assert into the Space • Don’t wait for commitments or positions to be filled (see below) • Identify existing training programs and jump on-board (e.g. RCR) • Create a roadmap – then ask for review and assent $135 $124 $56 $40 $22 $9 $7$3 $2$2 $11 Software Engineering Computer Science Engieering Science Humanities/Social Science Public-Private Partnerships Silicon Valley Business Social Science/Management Fine Arts Other • Pittsburgh, PA • ~12,000 students • ~1400 faculty • World leader in Robotics, Comp. Sci., Engineering among others • > $400 Million in sponsored funding in 2013 Dollars in Millions About CMU University Libraries • ~ 25 Librarians & Archivists • ~ 75 Staff & Administrative • 3 Libraries plus affiliates • New Dean starting mid-2013 Information Gathering • Faculty Survey • ~10% response rate • Results as expected… • Re-launch with Deans • In-depth Data Interviews • 10-15 Faculty • Across data/problem types These are good… …But these are even better. • “I'm fairly fond of my own solutions, especially the flexibility and access that sorting myself out provides” • “None of [data management plan] is written down. The PI decides” • “This is all advice? Not clear advice will be important to me unless the result is that your team takes responsibility” • “I don’t need these services, I need a University commitment to provide these services” • “What is a metadata?” Web Presence – not just a pretty face • Low cost, potentially high impact • Provides basic information and tools (e.g. DMPTool) to start…BUT… • …Intentionally informational – to instigate discussion (and argument) around Type of Service and Depth of Service Purely Informational Low-Level Consultation In-Depth Consultation Data Management Services Group • Responsible for planning and execution of data management services roadmap • Composition not fixed initially: • Revolving cast of characters for over a year • Occasional experts and interested parties involved in planning • Settled on a core group • Final group very different from original expectations Don’t Forget the Luck • Keith Webster • New Dean of Libraries • Collaborator with ANDS while dean at Univ. Queensland • Subra Suresh • New President of CMU • Former head of National Science Foundation • Steve Huth • New Chief Information Officer • Interested in new, centralized IT services • Massive administrative changes at CMU ca. 2012-2013 • Three key positions filled with intensely supportive administration • VPR position being filled now with expectation of support • Also… • Timing of OSTP Memo of 2013 • Rejection of high-profile NSF grant  DMP rewritten, project funded Data Services Librarian Scholarly Comm. Librarian Head – Digital Library Initiatives Head – Office of Research Integrity &Compliance Director – Administrative Computing Liaison Librarians Research Compliance Office Office of Sponsored Programs College-Level Research Admins. DMSG DMSG Support This bare-bones website was helpful for defining what was level of service was ideal Building a roadmap for services was initiated out of these discussions