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DIY Research Data Management training Kit for Librarians


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Pre-print of Framing the Digital Curation Curriculum International Conference Proceedings, May 2013.

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DIY Research Data Management training Kit for Librarians

  1. 1. ‘DIY’ Research Data ManagementTraining Kit for LibrariansStuart MacdonaldEDINA & Data LibraryUniversity of EdinburghEdinburgh, Scotland, RiceEDINA & Data LibraryUniversity of EdinburghEdinburgh, Scotland, – This paper discusses extended professional developmenttraining in research data management for librarians piloted at theUniversity of Edinburgh. This is framed by the evolving research datamanagement Roadmap at the University, national and internationalinitiatives in managing research data by bodies such as Jisc andLIBER, and the subsequent need to ‘up skill’ informationprofessionals in the emerging area of academic research datamanagement. This knowledge-transfer exercise includes independentstudy based on the research data MANTRA course and reflectivewriting, face to face sessions with different speakers giving shortpresentations followed by discussion, and group exercises. Theresultant training ‘kit’ was released in Spring 2013 with an openlicence for other institutions, particularly those without local researchdata management expertise, to utilise for ‘DIY’ RDM training.Keywords – research data management, training, librariansI. INTRODUCTIONThe University of Edinburgh Information ServicesDivision (IS) has developed a high-level plan or ‘Roadmap’1to deliver research data services across 4 strategic areas: datamanagement planning, active data infrastructure, datastewardship, and data management support. This cross-divisional Roadmap will help to engage academic units andprincipal investigators in research data management andprovide services to implement the University’s Research DataManagement (RDM) Policy2passed by Senate in May 2001.In order to realise the vision of the Roadmap staff across ISwill need to acquire new skills and confidence in engagingwith RDM activity and support. As part of this exercise anextended professional development training for four liaisonlibrarians at the University was piloted, facilitated by the DataLibrary, in relation to RDM and how it may be applicable toresearch practises in the disciplinary areas each librarianrepresents.1!/fileManager/UoE-RDM-Roadmap201121102.pdf2 PILOT COURSEThere is an abundance of pointers in recent literature foracademic libraries to move "upstream" in the publicationprocess and work more closely with researchers at the pre-publication stages [1]. For example, in 2012 LIBER(Association of European Research Libraries) set down " TenRecommendations for Libraries to Get Started with ResearchData Management" [2], including providing support servicesfor data management plans, metadata and data standards,developing staff skills in data librarianship, encouraging opendata policies, supporting the entire research data lifecycle andpromoting data citation. Such ideas have been reinforced bythe Jisc Managing Research Data programme3(2011-2013) inparticular the Research Data Management Training strandwhose aim is to increase research data management skills inUK higher education and research organisations by providinghigh quality training materials developed to serve the needs ofa variety of roles and stakeholders. (While the University ofEdinburgh was not funded in this programme, it did participatein programme activities as a DCC institutional engagementparticipant.)During autumn and winter 2012-13, data librarians at theUniversity of Edinburgh led a pilot course on Research DataManagement (RDM) based on the research data MANTRAopen online training modules4originally developed by EDINAand Data Library to reflect best practice in research datamanagement for PhD students and early career researchers.Materials from the training sessions were subsequentlyassembled to produce the ‘Do-It-Yourself Research DataManagement Training Kit for Librarians’.The training kit uses a blended learning approach and isdesigned to contain everything needed for academic librariansin small groups to get themselves up to speed on five keytopics in RDM. It makes no assumptions about the role oflibrarians in supporting research data management, but aims to3
  2. 2. empower librarians to support each other in gainingconfidence in this area of research support. It also providessome training in three of the identified skills that are named asgaps in the RLUK report ‘Re-skilling for Research’ [3]: Knowledge to advise on data management andcuration, including ingest, discovery, access,dissemination, preservation, and portability Knowledge to support researchers in complying withthe various mandates of funders, including open accessrequirements Knowledge to advocate and advise on the use ofmetadata,and touches on some others, such as the "Ability to advise onpreserving research outputs."Digital preservation receives a light touch in the training,partly because it receives a light touch in MANTRA itselfpartly due to the intended audience of the materials, partlybecause this topic was seen as worthy of its own extendedtraining, and partly because it may not be the responsibility ofliaison librarians to run trusted preservation services such asan institutional data repository. The training kit does howeverlist key resources for further study in digital preservation andother advanced topics.The training comprises five 2-hour face-to-face sessions.These open with short talks followed by discussion and groupexercises from the UK Data Archive, in a private collegiatesetting. Emphasis is placed on facilitation and individuallearning rather than long lectures and passive listening.MANTRA modules are used as reading assignments andreflective writing questions are designed to help librarians putthemselves in the shoes of the researcher. Learning isreinforced and put into practice through an independent studyassignment of completing and publishing an interview with aresearcher using the Data Curation Profile frameworkdeveloped by D2C2 at Purdue University.III. TOPICSThe ‘DIY Research Data Management Training Kit forLibrarians’ focuses on learning objectives for the followingtopics:1. Data management planningIncluding an understanding of appropriate datamanagement in accordance with responsible conduct ofresearch, an awareness of good practice in managing research,and an understanding of what constitutes a data managementplan.2. Organising & documenting dataCombining two MANTRA units to provide anunderstanding of why it is important to organise and documentresearch data including managing data file versioning, namingand re-naming conventions, and an appreciation of why andwhen to use metadata.3. Data storage & securityProviding an awareness of secure data storage options,encryption, and the importance of regular data backups andbackup policies.4. Ethics & copyrightFocusing on the ethical requirements that apply to thecollection and management of data involving human subjects,and providing an appreciation of privacy and confidentiality,and how they apply to the management of research data. Italso explains what IPR is and how it applies to research dataas well as how Freedom of Information and related legislationaffects access to research data.5. Data sharingIntroducing the benefits, challenges and drivers associatedwith sharing research data as well as the raising awareness ofthe risks to the longevity of digital data. The topic alsointroduces the basic concepts of digital preservation andtrusted repositories, and data licensing.IV. TRAINING KIT CONTENTS Promotional slides for the RDM Training Kit Training schedule Research Data MANTRA online course developed byEDINA and Data Library, University of Edinburgh: Reflective writing questions Selected group exercises (with answers) from UK DataArchive, University of Essex - Managing and sharing data:Training resources. September, 2011 (PDF). Complete RDMResources Training Pack available at: Podcasts for short talks by the original Edinburghspeakers if running course without ‘live’ speakers (Windowsor Quicktime versions). Presentation files (pptx and pdf) if learners decide totake turns presenting each topic. Evaluation forms
  3. 3.  Independent study assignment: Data Curation Profile,from D2C2, Purdue University Libraries. Resources available: INDEPENDENT STUDY: DATA CURATION PROFILESIn the University of Edinburgh pilot training, theevaluations indicated that overall the librarians consideredwhat they were learning was of value to them. However, therewas no ready way to apply their knowledge in their day to daywork. In order to test their knowledge and also increase theconfidence of the librarians to engage in discussions withresearchers about data management, a post-trainingindependent study was assigned. Data Curation Profiles,hosted by the Distributed Data Curation Center at the PurdueUniversity Libraries, were the chosen method for theindependent study work.Data Curation Profiles provide a complete framework forinterviewing a researcher in any discipline about their researchdata and their data management practices. Register on theDCP Toolkit website, todownload the user guide, interviewer’s manual, interviewworksheet and template, as well as to access the user supportforum.The pilot training was deemed successful by participantsand Information Services managers, and another round oftraining with another small group is about to begin, withdiscussions on going to extend training kit materials fortechnical support staff as well. Meanwhile, the librarianstrained in the pilot are in the process of pursuing theirindependent studies - interviews with researchers from liaisonconstituencies which will result in new public Data CurationProfiles.VI. PUBLIC RELEASEThe DIY Training Kit is designed to contain everythingneeded to complete a similar training course independently (insmall groups) and is based on open educational materials.Users can apply their own creativity to reshape the course asthey wish. For example, there are a number of group exercisesavailable from the UKDA training resources pack, many ofwhich are not included in the kit.The public release of the ‘Do-It-Yourself Research DataManagement Training Kit for Librarians’ is now availableunder a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution) licence: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY In MANTRA there are four software modules in datahandling. These modules are based on four commondata analysis packages. You can print off the userguide, download the dataset and work through theexercises at your own pace (some familiarity with eachsoftware package is suggested as a pre-requisite). Data Intelligence 4 Librarians is another online course,developed by data librarians at 3TU.Datacentrum in theNetherlands - available in Dutch and English. Their"Data management" unit is similar to MANTRA, butyou could investigate more librarian-specific advancedtopics by working through "Technical Skills" and"Acquisition and Advice" on your own. The UK Digital Curation Centre (DCC) websiteprovides a clearinghouse of valuable information. Inparticular, browse their ‘Resources for digital curators’to find useful and up to date reading material. The DCC also hosts a relevant email discussion listwith subscribers from around the world. Join Research-dataman on JISCMail. Last but not least we encourage anyone whose jobinvolves academic data support to consider joiningIASSIST, the international professional organisationfor data professionals from all sorts of environmentsdealing with social and other types of research data.IASSIST hosts a vibrant annual conference - normallyin the US, Canada or Europe. Their Fellows awardsprovides international travel stipends to selectedapplicants to broaden attendance from underrepresented countries.ACKNOWLEDGMENTWe would like to thank Anne Donnelly for co-leading thepilot course, and Dr Alastair F. Brown and Kerry Miller(DCC) for their contributions.We would also like to acknowledge the UK Data Archive,Digital Curation Centre (DCC), and Distributed Data CurationCenter at the Purdue University Libraries.REFERENCES[1] Gold, Anna. Cyberinfrastructure, Data, and Libraries, Part 2: Librariesand the Data Challenge: Roles and Actions for Libraries. Dlib Magazine,September/October 2007. doi:10.1045/september2007-gold-pt2[2] LIBER Working Group on E-science. Ten Recommendations forLibraries to Get Started with Research Data Management The Hague,Netherlands: LIBER, 2012.[3] Auckland, Mary. Re-skilling for Research London: Research LibrariesUK (RLUK), January 2012.