Author Archives: Laurian Williamson

University of Nottingham Research Data Management Website

We recently launched the University of Nottingham Research Data Management (RDM) website, which provides a single location for authoritative RDM information and resources for our research community at UoN.

This first phase of the development of the website provides both generic and UoN specific information and phase two development (2013 -2014) will include subject-specific RDM information, more content added to the ‘research data showcase’ and the site content will be refined and enhanced based on further feedback and input from the research community and key stakeholders.

From the onset we wanted a site that would sit within the UoN research domain and adhere to the UoN brand look & feel. The collaboration with the UoN Web manager was crucial and he was very keen on the idea of creating a RDM website for academics at UoN but also using the site to showcase UoN research data.

There are two main audiences for the site:

  • Researchers – both University researchers and interested external researchers (site content will be instructional and used as a tool by researchers)
  • General Public – community active people (site content will promote UoN research and data sets) and our JiscMRD programme partners

Creating the site content was a collaborative effort and it took a while to identify key stakeholders and assign responsibility for authoring and ownership of individual pages. Bringing it all together was quite a challenge and we had to delay the launch until the UoN RDM policy was approved.

There are 50+ pages on the site and deciding on the site hierarchy was heavily influenced by other RDM sites, specifically the University of Glasgow data management site for researchers, which we thought was an excellent RDM site.

In the UoN RDM survey we asked the respondents (366) to select areas where they would like to receive help with RDM, and having a UoN website was one of the tools that they indicated would be useful:

 

In the next few weeks the team will be raising awareness of the RDM site using a variety of internal communication channels, and we welcome any feedback from both the UoN research community and our JiscMRD programme partners.

Adapting, using, and re-using RDM training materials

It was quite timely when I returned to work today that I saw the JiscMRD Evidence blog posting Jisc MRD project materials: use and reuse for RDM training outlining how outputs from the programme are being used and re-used in DCC training events.

Here at ADMIRe we have adapted, used and re-used the excellent Research Data MANTRA and the Training for Data Management (TraD) supportDM for two different UoN audiences, postgraduate students/early career researchers and support staff (library and IT support). In both instances we have embedded these training resources in Moodle, using  valuable outputs from the wider Jisc MRD Programme.

University of Nottingham short course on research data management

We collaborated with the Graduate School during 2012/2013 and adapted and embedded the University of Edinburgh Research Data Management MANTRA online course in Moodle. Christine from the Graduate School did all the technical work in Moodle and I adapted the content of MANTRA for the UoN audience. This standalone online (self-study) online course is delivered entirely online via Moodle and is aimed specifically at postgraduate research students and early career researchers and was made available in April 2013. It now forms part of the UoN short course portfolio and the postgraduate students can gain training points by completing an optional assessment questionnaire (only two questions).

The collaboration with the Graduate School worked really well and it is hoped that this ‘RDM’ collaboration will improve RDM capacity and capability at UoN.

supportDM course for research data management support services

Last week I embedded the first module of the University of East London (UeL) Training for Data Management (TraD) supportDM course in Moodle, aimed specifically at those involved in research data management support services (at UoN this is currently library staff and IT support).

The SupportDM course presumes no prior knowledge of data management or digital curation and is designed for use in a blended learning environment with group meetings and individual tasks to complement the Xerte online elements. It is also suitable for standalone self-directed learning using the Xerte modules.

It has been really useful having these high quality training materials available for adaptation and re-use, many thanks to EDINA and Data Library, University of Edinburgh, and the University of East London for making their project outputs available for re-use and adaptation.

I recently circulated a brief paper on RDM Training to the head of professional development at UoN – providing an overview of what is currently available nationally and what has been done by the ADMIRe project in the area of online RDM training.

Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Workshop

The ADMIRe team attended the excellent Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Workshop this week and we presented on our progress made and some of the challenges we have faced thus far around two themes, business cases and plans for sustainability and data repositories, portals and institutional systems.

The workshop provided a platform for the JiscMRD projects to consider and reflect on the progress made, highlight successes, and reflect on some of the challenges that still remain when considering RDM, especially within a very complex UK HEI context.

Tom’s presented on Data catalogues and data repository and I presented on our work around ADMIRe RDM service models.

There was plenty of time to share experiences and in particular how challenging it is trying to deliver and build institutional RDM capacity and capability.

The keynote from Professor Geoffrey S. Boulton, University of Edinburgh really made me think about the broader ‘data’ context and in particular that RDM isn’t just about compliance with the data expectations from the funding bodies, we need to remember that researchers want to exploit the growing data resources that are available.

University of Nottingham Research Data Management Survey results

The results and analysis of the University of Nottingham Research Data Management survey are now available and the full-text report is available here:  ADMIRe Survey Results and Analysis 2013

The survey covered several key components of research data management (RDM) practice and provides a benchmark to measure progress against the RCUK principles on data. We do hope that the research community and all our Jisc Managing Research Data Programme partners will find something of interest in these results.

The survey was disseminated (using a variety of internal communication channels) to researchers across the University, and was an important part of the requirements gathering phase of the ADMIRe project. This served multiple purposes:

1. To baseline current RDM practices

2. To gather the researchers requirements for RDM

3. Raise awareness for the prospective service and gauge interest levels for the proposed service.

4. Identify areas where support, training, and advocacy were required.

We had 366 respondents, which was a very positive response rate and allows some valid conclusions to be made. Some interesting observations are:

  • The diversity of data types and the strong presence of non-digital data such as lab notebooks
  • Multiple locations for the data and therefore, the ad-hoc strategies of back-up
  • RDM training is high on the agenda
  • Low awareness of the expectations from research funders
  • Low awareness of funding requirements regarding data sharing

We welcome any comments on the survey and if you are interested in having access to the anonymized raw survey data, please do contact  us at <researchdata@nottingham.ac.uk>

 

Data sharing, what are the incentives?

Data sharing is a hot topic amongst the scientific community and in some instances sharing research data is a requirement/stipulation of your funding body.

In our research data management survey (results to be released shortly) we asked our researchers who could access their research data and the majority of respondents shared their data with their collaborators, with minimal sharing of data outside of the University. See chart below:

Guest blog on data sharing

This guest blog post is from Dr Marianne Bamkin, Research communications assistant and JoRD Project Officer, from the Centre for Research Communications, University of Nottingham. She explains what JoRD is and describes some of the feedback they have had from researchers on the issue of data sharing.

The Journal Research Data Policy Bank (JoRD) project is a JISC funded initiative looking into the feasibility of a service that will collate and summarise journal policies on Research Data in order to provide researchers, managers of research data and other stakeholders with an easy source of reference to understand and comply with these policies. The information held in JoRD would be freely accessible to researchers, publishers and any other interested parties who may want to know whether a journal insists on the inclusion of data in the article, or as supplementary materials to the article, or if the data should be in a certain format or stored in a certain repository. The feasibility study is researching a number of aspects of such a service, f or instance, various business models for funding the service, what publishers and researchers would want from such a service, and most importantly, whether the service would be actively used.

From feedback gained through a combination of a focus group, workshop, online questionnaire and interviews it appears that researchers would be very interested in using the resource to choose where to publish and to understand the requirements of journals. The online questionnaire was answered by researchers from all over the globe, representing each academic discipline and 36 different subjects. The predominant opinion that shone through was that all researchers shared their data with someone, although it may only be a research partner, and the vast majority of researchers believed that in today’s internet society data should be freely shared and openly accessed and they were prepared to share their data. That opinion was also reflected by the participants of a focus group.

There are qualifications to sharing, the most important to researchers being that of attribution and intellectual property. If they had spent many years gathering the data, they want that effort recognised, not necessarily rewarded, money was not a personal concern, but the acknowledgement for their hard work. Another caveat was expressed that truly raw data are not shareable: quantitative data may have errors, qualitative data may be indecipherable, and data may be confidential and sensitive. Data would therefore need a certain level of processing before sharing. Researchers also felt that there were certain optimum times when they would be willing to share data, for example, doctoral research is required to be unique so any data shared before the thesis is submitted may be used to reach the same conclusions by another researcher, preventing the first researcher’s work to be unique. Publishing the data after the doctoral award would be no problem.

However, the researchers’ list of the benefits of sharing data outweighed the problems. They felt that sharing data was expected in current society, leading to scientific openness and accountability. The researchers benefit by having increased access to data, by finding storage for data that would make it future-proof and would also allow greater opportunity for collaboration. Science benefits because shared data increases research efficiency, promotes knowledge, allows data to be verified and studies to be replicated, which in turn increases the quality of Science. Looking at it from that point of view, sharing data is a win : win situation. I am just going to go and upload some data…

For more information on the JoRD project and our findings so far please visit our blog on: http://jordproject.wordpress.com/

Event report: JISC Research Data Management Training Workshop

I attended the JISC Research Data Management Training Workshop, which was held on the 26th October 2012. The aim of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for the new JISCMRD Training projects to introduce what they have been doing in their projects and outlining their progress in the area of developing research data management training materials. This strand of projects are producing RDM training materials for the sciences and/or librarians.

Here at ADMIRe we have already delivered RDM training sessions for library and IT support staff and are very interested in finding out what others are doing when planning sustainable RDM training for their research community. We have developed a RDM training plan, much of which will need to be sustained beyond the timescale and lifetime of the ADMIRe project.

As well as the excellent presentations, the workshop provided plenty of opportunities to discuss challenges, opportunities, benchmarks, and how to make RDM training outputs easy to find and re-usable. A really useful aspect of the day was the involvement of some of the projects from the JISC digital preservation programme, who shared their experiences around developing training resources. In the afternoon we had the opportunity to provide feedback on the Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition (RIDLs) proposed criteria for describing, reviewing and assessing practice in information literacy training. I found this session really useful, especially when considering how important it is to plan and evaluate courses and resources. The draft criteria are available from here.

The JISCMRD training projects which presented on their activities thus far, included:

  • DaMSSI-ABC – they aim to deliver work that will provide benchmarks on how to best describe training materials and align them with the Vitae Research Development Framework and digital curation
  • RDMRose – led by the University of Sheffield this project aims to develop learning materials on RDM for all LIS students
  • RDMTPA – this project (led by the University of Hertfordshire) is delivering RDM training for physics and astronomy. They have produced a really useful mindmap for RDM training and linking it to the research data lifecycle
  • SoDaMaT – a project led by QMUL which aims to develop discipline-specific research data management training materials for postgraduate research students, researchers and academics working in the area of digital music and audio research
  • TraD – led by UEL this project aims to produce an adapted data management course for PhD students in psychology and a new data management materials for postgraduate students in computer science

There was much to reflect on and take-away ideas from this event, some of which will inform how we move forward with our RDM training and awareness raising. For example:

  1. The possibility of creating a central hub for RDM training resources
  2. DCC will be developing a career profile for librarians involved with RDM
  3. Big challenges – storage, big data, capacity, preservation, which data will be archived with publication, who will re-use the training material?
  4. Discipline-specific RDM resources vs.generic RDM ones
  5. Develop resources around the research process and research data lifeycle
  6. Map your RDM training to the Vitae RDF
  7. ‘Tiered training’ approach
  8. ‘Slogan based’ RDM training – this worked well for some institutions
  9. Embedding RDM training within the CPD culture of an institution (this is the gold standard)
  10. We need to gather evidence for the benefits of RDM training – benefits from RDM training are difficult to quantify
  11. Must fit training around the needs of your researchers
  12. Advocacy, advocacy advocacy – try an find RDM champions and ‘enablers’ at your institution

A really valuable day and ADMIRe are looking forward to seeing and possibly utilising the project outputs once they are made available.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bixentro/2199711056/sizes/s/in/photostream/

 

 

 


 

 

RDM@nottingham training event

Last week I was invited to give a two hour workshop/presentation on research data management at the University of Nottingham (UoN) Academic Librarians’ Forum (ALF). This forum meets regularly to discuss wider LIS issues and topics relevant to their role in supporting the researchers’ at UoN.

An integral part of the ADMIRe project is to identify the RDM training needs of both our research community and those that will be providing services offering research data management support. A key aspect of raising RDM awareness at UoN is the delivery and organisation of RDM training, advocacy and outreach. This was a great opportunity to gather some initial thoughts and views on how the academic librarians’ saw the future of a sustainable RDM service, and in particular the skills that they may already have on managing information, as well as finding information.

The title of the event was ‘What is research data management?’ and the event organiser provided me with a series of RDM topics to cover during the session. The aim of the event was to raise awareness of research data management (RDM) and identify some of the key skills required for the delivery of a research data management service. The event and user feedback from the event will inform and enhance the development of the RDM service at the University of Nottingham.

We had 12 attendees and had two interesting break-out activities, one was around the RDM skills matrix ADMIRe has been working on and the other was reviewing the recently published: ‘Ten recommendations for libraries to get started with research data management’, published in August 2012 by the LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries).

Activity one – RDM skills matrix

The RDM skills matrix includes several key elements of the research lifecycle and attendees where asked to identify where they think library staff could provide support on a variety of RDM issues. The majority agreed that they already had the skills in the following areas:

  1. Metadata
  2. Open Access and Repositories
  3. Data discovery and data re-use
  4. Compliance with funding policies and requirements
  5. Data classification

Some of the areas where they felt they needed further training included:

  1. Data types
  2. Data storage
  3. Data preservation
  4. Data archiving
  5. Data Management Plans

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ADMIRe RDM survey at the University of Nottingham

The more we become embedded with all things research data management (RDM) at the University of Nottingham the less time we seem to have to update this blog with our ADMIRe JISCMRD activities. I know how beneficial I find all the JISCMRD blog postings, especially learning from some of the projects which are at a more advanced stage than ours, so hopefully this posting will provide you with some idea of the work we have been doing.

July was a really busy month, so this is the first in a planned series of updates of some of our key activities that the ADMIRe team have been focusing on recently.

Research Data Management Survey

As Tom outlined in his blog posting earlier this month our research data management survey (using the Bristol Online Survey tool) was launched and will be open until mid September.We currently have 196 responses from researchers across all faculties. UoN is a research-intensive university with more than 2500 career researchers (excluding PhD researchers).

Our survey is aimed at all UoN researchers (including PhD researchers) and we wanted to discover how data is used and managed across the University. Requirements gathering on RDM is a key activity for us, we aim to deliver a sustainable RDM service which will facilitate and embed good RDM practice at UoN.

We will publish the survey results (anonymised) once they have been analysed, sometime during the Autumn. Some  interim results are as follows:

  1. 85% of respondents are creating or working with documents (txt, pdf, Word etc)
  2. 32% back-up their data daily
  3. 59% do not record or document any metadata about their data
  4. 66% work on externally funded projects
  5. 26% developed a RDM plan for their project
  6. 92% had not received any RDM training
  7. 129/196 respondents wanted to receive training in developing a RDM plan
  8. 49.0% said their research data was confidential to their research group
  9. 30% said they were unsure whether they were required to make their data publicly discoverable and accessible after the project closed
  10. 40% said they would not deposit their data in a subject/discipline specific respository and 48% weren’t sure

Plenty of interesting responses thus far for us to mull over. Tomorrow I will provide an update on our work with DAF and sensitive data, our planned RDM website, and other training and RDM awareness training activities.

 

Event report: research data management and the role of libraries

On Tuesday I attended the excellent joint JIBS/RLUK event ‘Demystifying Research Data: don’t be scared be prepared’, held at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London.The event was aimed at subject/liaison librarians, key stakeholders who are likely to become increasingly involved in supporting research data management (RDM) activities as institutions start to develop their RDM policies and services. This event really did help in raising awareness of RDM and considered the roles that librarians have in delivering a robust RDM infrastructure and service within a University environment.

The programme was a good mix of presentations and breakout group sessions and I left the event with the feeling that RDM is certainly a hot and topical issue amongst university library staff challenged and engaged with the whole issue of RDM.

All the presentations and notes from the breakout sessions will be made available on the JIBS website, so I will just blog about some of the highlights I took away from this event. Definitely worth having a look at all the presentations once they are made available.

Michael Day from UKOLN gave a thorough overview of the importance of RDM and outlined how until recently there was no consistent way of managing research data in universities. Increasingly research bodies are becoming stricter in what they expect from the research they fund and managing research is important because it enables data re-use, ensures research integrity, improves research impact, and enables UK HEIs to fulfill any regulatory requirements.

He stressed the importance of buy-in from senior management on the necessity for good RDM practice and also to remember that RDM is the shared responsibility of both the institution and the researcher.

When it comes to the institutional drivers for effective RDM practice, two were continually mentioned throughout the day, by several presenters and in the breakout sessions:

  1. Compliance with funding mandates and policies
  2. EPSRC expectations and their Roadmap 2012 – compliance is essential by 2015

Liz Holliday presented on the UWE JISCMRD project and she gave a personal reflection on future librarian roles in RDM and why librarians are, or should be, involved. Liz’s presentation can be viewed here.

Rachel Proudfoot from the University of Leeds presented on the JISCMRD RoaDMaP project which is assessing data management requirements in a number of different subject disciplines and at different stages of the research application process (pre-award, live award, and post-award). She talked about current RDM capacity at Leeds and how important it is to ’embed’ RDM as part of normal university practice.

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