Category Archives: JISCMRD

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 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 <>


JISC Managing Research Data Benefits & Evidence Workshop

In late November I attended the JISC Managing Research Data Benefits & Evidence Workshop in Bristol. The two day event was a good chance to review progress and devise KPIs and metrics with which to measure the success of both our project and the implementation of our service. As you would expect there’s a huge amount of reading to be done around policies, funding requirements and work coming out of the other JISC MRD projects, luckily I’ve taken this speed reading course…

I have managed to produce a workable benefits and evidence template, which is available here: Benefits Management Plan – ADMIRe

As you will see, a lot of the metrics require a sufficient level of maturity and are mainly forward looking – our project is expected to hand over a fledgling RDM service, with minimal metrics collected and provide a baseline for what already exists.

JISC MRD Workshop thoughts

The ADMIRe team had an entertaining few days at the JISC MRD workshop on the 24th-25th October 2012. It’s very interesting to learn from our fellow travellers and see where our commonalities lie.

Some highlights for us were:

  • Evaluating which data to retain and discard, the NERC checklist was particularly interesting.
  • Using the JANET brokerage to lever resources and explore shared RDM services
  • Training and guidance – there were some useful examples of RDM websites
  • RDM business cases – Bristol are far ahead here

The final point is one that is looming ever larger in our work, we’re a year into the project and the focus has shifted from one of analysis to implementation – a noticeable change that has required a shift in both mindset and working patterns. Our RDM website is due to launch in November and our RDM survey results are also due for release – both deliverables that will engage the academic community and generate interest in our fledgling service. In this respect, we’re working hard to understand what the University requires and what roles, skills and departmental structures are required to support RDM requests.

Clearly, we expect the website to generate enquiries, but do we signpost them to other people (i.e. Library, IT Support etc) or engage with them ourselves? these are questions which others at the conference are faced with and many are at a similar point – is launching a website equivalent to launching a full-scale service with limited support (i.e. only the JISC funded team) and is this a wise move?

If anything, our progress to date is making it exceptionally clear that now is the time to take our thoughts on sustainability and to turn this into a structured business case – so expect updates on this as we progress.

ADMIRe presentations and posters are available here:

ADMIRe JISC Workshop Poster

University of Nottingham RDM policies