Category Archives: Data Management

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 <>


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:

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.






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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Notes from the 2nd Datacite Workshop

Tom Parsons and I attended the 2nd DataCite Workshop at the British Library Conference Centre on July 6th, which proved to be an excellent opportunity to compare notes with other institutions working on incorporating the DataCite metadata schema into their workflows.

Caroline Wilkinson has already written a report on the Workshop, and the slides from the Workshop are available. So rather than repeat that information, here are the notes I made on points raised during the day which seemed particularly relevant to our current work at the University of Nottingham – hopefully there will be something here that’s helpful to others as well.

DataCite Mandatory Metadata

  • Many metadata schemas exist; it’s advisable to choose or define one that meets your specific needs
  • “Title” should always be different from the article title: it’s the title of the dataset
  • When listing “Creators” (authors) in DataCite, it’s important to also define their roles and IDs
  • “PublicationYear” should be the date of public availability
  • “Publisher” should be the data center or archive making the data available.
  • “ResourceType” is currently being considered as a mandatory, rather than an optional field
  • Citation suggestion: Creator (Year): Title. Publisher. Identifier.

Subject-Specific Metadata

  • There are a large number of additional subject-specific metadata schemas in use
  • eg: Data Documentation Initiative – Standard for statistical and social science data (v 3.1 released in 2009)
  • Some datasets have huge numbers of contributors (eg genetics) where the list of contributors is itself a large dataset
  • For geospatial data, geographical extent is a crucial metadata item, which can be surfaced in landing pages as an embedded Google Map

Protocols and Standards

  • Bristol are providing serialisation using RDF/XML, and using SWORD as the repository deposit protocol
  • DC2AP – A DataCite Dublin Core Application Profile is in development
  • DataCite2RDF – Maps DataCite metadata to RDF
  • ISO 19101 – Deals with subsets of data
  • XForms – “XML format for the specification of a data processing model for XML data and user interface(s) for the XML data, such as web forms”
  • WAF – Web Accessible Folder

Useful Software

  • Bristol have used Apache Tika to extract metadata from data files
  • OrbianForms – XForms-compliant web form builder available in a free open source Community Edition
  • Ex Libris Rosetta – “highly scalable, secure, and easily managed digital preservation system”
  • Ex Libris Primo – “one-stop solution for the discovery and delivery of local and remote resources, such as books, journal articles, and digital objects”


  • A “Schematron” validates content as well as conformance to XML schema

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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Open access to research outputs

Two key publications have been made available this week, both of which are of interest to the ADMIRe project team. Firstly we had the highly awaited publication of the Finch Report: “Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications” . This 140 page publication presents the findings of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch. The report recommends a programme of action which will enable more people to read and use the publications arising from research. The report makes ten recommendations and outlines the key actions necessary in order to implement the recommendations of the working group. An executive summary is available and the report has had some interesting media coverage this week, including in the Guardian and the BBC.

The Royal Society today published their substantial report “Science as an open enterprise: open data for open science” which:

“highlights the need to grapple with the huge deluge of data created by modern technologies in order to preserve the principle of openness and to exploit data in ways that have the potential to create a second open science revolution.”

The report highlights six key areas for action, and these include:

  • Scientists needing to be more open amongst themselves and with the public and media
  • Greater recognition for the value of data gathering, analysis and communication
  • Common standards for sharing information in order to make data widely usable
  • Publishing data in a reusable form to support findings must be mandatory
  • More experts in managing and supporting the use of digital data are required
  • New software tools need to be developed to analyse the growing amount of data being gathered

The report includes some interesting case studies of data use and the costs of digital repositories.

It will be interesting to see the impact that both these publications have on academic scholarly communications and opening up access to research outputs (both publications and data).


Data citation, sharing data, and RDM at Nottingham

It has been a pretty hectic couple of weeks for Tom and I filled with meetings with key University of Nottingham staff from different departments and divisions all whom are keen to facilitate and deliver good and effective research data management (RDM) practice at our institution. We have identified and contacted academics from all five faculties (Arts, Engineering, Medicine and Health Sciences, Science, and Social Sciences) to take part in our phase one RDM pilots and we have also given plenty of thought to what we would like the University of Nottingham RDM website to contain and offer our research community. We are also working on a RDM@Nottingham survey which we hope will inform the development of the ADMIRe project.

Since my last blog post I have also attended some interesting external events including the excellent DataCite workshop at the British Library which covered topics such as how to mint a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), why making research data available and citable is important, and the challenges there are with citing research data. All the presentations from the day are available here.

I also attended the Repositories Support Project one day event on scholarly communications and new developments in open access in London on the 01st June. It was held at the stunning Art Deco venue the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the programme showcased some great case examples of innovative approaches supporting data sharing, open access to research outputs and an open approach to scholarship.  Videos and presentations from the event are all available here.

Ethics, consent and data sharing – for anyone interested in this area of RDM I would definitely recommend listening to the recording of the Webinar delivered by Margaret Henty of the Australian National Data Service in April. She considers the myths around data sharing, meeting funding bodies obligations, informed consent, access control, and the importance of incorporating data sharing into research planning.

Also published this week is the Council on Library and Information Resources publication “How does big data change the research landscape for the humanities and social sciences?”. The full-text publication and associated press release is available here.