Category Archives: Funder Requirements

JISC, EPSRC and DCC RDM awareness event at Nottingham

As the ADMIRe project reaches its final stages, we were pleased to host a large Research Data Management awareness event on The University of Nottingham’s main campus. The event was the culmination of extensive planning by Laurian Williamson and Research Graduate Services, It was designed so that Heads of Schools and senior Professional Services managers could learn about RDM and the impact this may have on their respective roles.

The event started with a buffet lunch, before continuing with a selection of enlightening talks from both external and internal speakers. Attendance was limited to 60 people and we were pleased to say that we had a full house, with only one or two seats being empty in the room. The agenda of the event is here: ADMIRe RDM Event Briefing and Programme

The speakers and their presentations are listed below:

Dr Simon Hodson, Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Manager: Hodson MRD Overview – Nottingham
Ben Ryan, EPSRC Senior Manager, Research Outcomes: EPSRC RDM (Nottingham June 2013)
Joy Davidson, Digital Curation Centre (DCC) Associate Director: Introduction to RDM DCC
Caroline Williams, Director of Libraries and Research and Learning Resources, University of Nottingham: ADMIRe RDM Event June 2013
Paul Kennedy, Group Leader, Security Group, IT Services, University of Nottingham: RDM-Launch-Data-Security
Dr Steven Bamford, Senior Research Fellow, School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Nottingham: RDM meeting Steve Bamford Galaxy Zoo

The talks were followed by Q&A sessions and a panel discussion at the end of the afternoon. As would be expected, discussions were lively and we gave researchers the chance to ask the RDM experts and learn how other institutions are faring. Questions from the floor focused upon the issues around:

  1. Long-term funding of data retention and storage
  2. Sharing sensitive and commercial data
  3. What to store and what to delete (is it cheaper to re-run an experiment for example)
  4. Obsolescence of software/data
  5. Quality of the research being impaired by RDM policy requirements
  6. Subject repositories versus an institutional policy
  7. National and international efforts on RDM
  8. Lodging patent applications and the timely release of data
  9. Costs of data management after the grant ends
  10. The area of PhD and data ownership and long-term responsibility for that data
  11. Metadata and contextual data (e.g. from email trails)
  12. Anonymous data and data fusion (identifying individuals by fusing disparate data sets)

One poignant comment noted that the EPSRC deadline of 2015 is only two years away, so significant progress must be made in all of these areas if RDM is to succeed – both at Nottingham and in the wider research community.

Although this represents the final researcher engagement session for ADMIRe, it is not the end of RDM at Nottingham. Plans are in place for sessions such as these to continue throughout the coming years at Nottingham and explore and answer the questions that were raised today.

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 <>


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).


OpenAIRE Plus

Following from the previous two posts, which touch on governmental level responses to open access to publication outputs and public data, this is a development which will try and tie them together.

The European OpenAIRE project has out out a press release which reviews its aim to link peer-reviewed literature to associated data.

From the press release:

“The 30 month project, funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme, will work in tandem with OpenAIRE, extending the mission further to facilitate access to the entire Open Access scientific production of the European Research Area, providing cross-links from publications to data and funding schemes.  This large-scale project brings together 41 pan-European partners, including three cross-disciplinary research communities.”

Nottingham is proud to be a partner in this work, acting as the National Open Access Desk for the UK for this and the continuing and precursor OpenAIRE project.


European drive towards data openness

Hot on the heels of the UK White Paper mentioned in the previous post, the EU Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, has announced plans for a revision of an EU directive on the use of public data to open data up for re-use and exploitation.

The irreverent blog “The Register” summarises the plans including:

  • Making it a general rule that all documents made accessible by public sector bodies can be reused for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, unless protected by third-party copyright.
  • Making it compulsory to provide data in commonly-used, machine-readable formats, to ensure data can be effectively re-used.

Now, while it is arguable as to whether research data fits the criteria for public data, this and the UK’s White Paper is indicative of a growing push towards data openness from governments. This may possibly stem from thirst for new economic exploitation of open information for much needed growth, rather than the high-minded principles of earlier Open Access directives, but the path is the same.

PS – Neelie Kroes has an interesting video online on the drive towards openness, of which this is part. Given her role, in some ways this can be seen as demonstrating the Commission’s position. This was delivered at the libraries LIBER 40th annual conference, Barcelona earlier this year.


Government White Paper

You might have heard that a White Paper has been released which shows the government’s commitment to Open Access as an economic lever for growth.

“Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth”

This contains a clear push for research *publications* policy compliance which will have consequences for us in the University in the service we give to researchers and the advice we provide. I suspect that the suggested emphasis on compliance with research *publications* will be quickly extended to robust calls for compliance with funder’s policies on *data* availability and clear management. As such this will relate to the ADMIRe work in that any internal service will engage with academics and their outputs, but this is obviously a separate process/service as well.

For some time the funding councils have had open access policies requiring that recipients of funding make their research outputs openly accessible – particularly through repositories. However, this has been unemphasised by funders and so difficult to promote as an additional activity for researchers inside institutions.  Compliance with this requirement is low, nationally, and I think it is fair to say that it has not been seen as a priority within institutions. The Wellcome Trust has a similar guideline and has now achieved over 50% compliance, albeit at the cost of writing to VCs directly to ask why their researchers are not complying.

This White Paper takes a robust line about compliance and sees this as the first step in a larger “access to research” project/service as a national picture of UK research, and so this is not just compliance for the sake of it, but as part of a larger developmental picture.

For example, from the White Paper:

Para 6.9: “The Research Councils expect the researchers they fund to deposit published articles or conference proceedings in an open access repository at or around the time of publication. But this practice is unevenly enforced. Therefore, as an immediate step, we have asked the Research Councils to ensure the researchers they fund fulfil the current requirements. Additionally, the Research Councils have now agreed to invest £2 million in the development, by 2013, of a UK ‘Gateway to Research’. In the first instance this will allow ready access to Research Council funded research information and related data but it will be designed so that it can also include research funded by others in due course.”

Other related mentions include:

Para 6.6: “The Government, in line with our overarching commitment to transparency and open data, is committed to ensuring that publicly-funded research should be accessible free of charge.”

Whatever the status of the advice within the White Paper, robust change regarding funder policy compliance does seem to be coming and it is far from general amongst all institutions (as far as I know) to track to see if grant requirements for open access are being met.

I think it would be beneficial if within this programme strand we are aware of compliance monitoring that will be required for publications, so as to better offer academics a joined-up service from their central services.