An interesting post on the JISC Repositories list on 21st March highlights a survey being undertaken by the University of Michigan looking at the relationship between data archives and institutional repositories. Their 10 minutes survey is available here for any that wish to contribute.
The poster also mentions a draft 12 page guide (available on Scribd, but easier to read as a Google doc) which is interesting and useful about building links between social science data archives and institutional repositories ” . . . that provides guidelines and decision rules for institutional repositories at each stage of the archiving process: from appraisal to acquisition to curation to dissemination. ”
We’ve been talking today about the move towards open data and how we can draw upon our experiences of trying to deliver open access publishing. Experience from the open access work we have done at the University of Nottingham tells us that we need to take a long term view of this. The open access work has been on-going for nearly ten years and even now there is resistance to publishing using this methodology. Achieving similar results for open data may inevitably take just as long and potentially has bigger hurdles to overcome since researchers build careers upon their IPR and the data they generate and hold.
Is ownership of data much more ingrained into their personal USP as a researcher who brings value to an organisation than perhaps publications are? Inherent in publishing is a certain “letting go” that is accepted as part of the process of being an academic researcher. Is it the case that this does not necessarily exist in the psyche for datasets?
So in light of this we’re seeking to identify ways in which researchers are already “open” with their data. For example depositing in national archives at the end of a project. In the current mindset this might be a tick box towards “sustainability” in the funding bid, but can we re-purpose that thinking and turn it to “being open with data”?
Does that then simplify the process of creating the “local repository” (and supporting metadata) such that the entry describes the dataset and where it is held, linking off to the national repository? Perhaps that is a small additional step that is achievable beyond what the researcher is already doing and can be a catalyst towards change and more openness? If so, then does that local repository become part of the framework we are striving for in ADMIRe for us to build a process around? A quick retrospective trawl might help us to get a quick win and build such a repository to show its potential.
Open access started on a “build it and they will come” approach, and perhaps we need to do the same for open data?
We have been thinking, along with other projects, of the possible benefits of the ADMIRe project and the larger framework of RDM development within the University, in which ADMIRe fits.
Many of the benefits are qualitative in nature, although we do expect solid returns in terms of research exposure, management and re-use.
Our current thinking – very much in draft form for now – can be found here.
We would welcome comments and reflections from others that are going down similar paths in identifying institutional and other benefits for their RDM programmes.