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Balancing the Books The Economics of Digital Curation Training Neil Grindley Digital Preservation & Curation Programme Jisc London, UK

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Presentation on theme: "Balancing the Books The Economics of Digital Curation Training Neil Grindley Digital Preservation & Curation Programme Jisc London, UK"— Presentation transcript:

1 Balancing the Books The Economics of Digital Curation Training Neil Grindley Digital Preservation & Curation Programme Jisc London, UK DigCurV International Conference 6 th -7 th May 2013 Florence, Italy

2 Jisc Managing Research Data Training Projects Curating Artistic Research Output (CAiRO) DataTrain Research data management training for health studies (DATUM for Health) Postgraduate training for research data management in the psychological sciences (DMTpsych) Research Data MANTRA Data Management Skills and Support Initiative – Assessment, Benchmarking and Classification (DaMSSI-ABC) RDMRose Research Data Management Training for the whole project lifecycle in Physics & Astronomy research (RDMTPA) Sound Data Management Training (SoDaMaT) Training for Data Management at UEL (TraD) Jisc’s contribution to training initiatives Jisc Digital Preservation Programme (Enhancing Capability within Institutions) DataSafe Digital Communications Enhancement (DICE) Preservation: Promoting Awareness to Researchers (PrePARe) Preservation of Historical Research Data (SHARD) Closing the Digital Curation Gap (CDCG) International Digital Curation Education Action Group (IDEA ) ICE Forum Simon Hodson Jisc MRD Programme

3 But now let’s go in a slightly different direction... A brief look at digital curation training from a costs & economics perspective A.I hope it makes an original contribution to the conference B.It’s a good fit for an organisation like Jisc to be interested in ‘the money’ side of things C.It aligns well with work that has just started which is looking very closely at issues to do with the costs and economics of digital curation 4C will help organisations across Europe to invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation. Past research in the area has tended to emphasize the cost and complexity of the task. 4C reminds us that the point of this investment is to realise a benefit, so our research must encompass related concepts such as risk, value, quality and sustainability. Organizations that understand this will be more able to effectively control and manage their digital assets over time, but they may also be able to create new cost-effective solutions and services for others.

4 4C will help organisations across Europe to invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation. Past research in the area has tended to emphasize the cost and complexity of the task. 4C reminds us that the point of this investment is to realise a benefit, so our research must encompass related concepts such as risk, value, quality and sustainability. Organizations that understand this will be more able to effectively control and manage their digital assets over time, but they may also be able to create new cost-effective solutions and services for others. But now let’s go in a slightly different direction... A brief look at digital curation training from a costs & economics perspective A.I hope it makes an original contribution to the conference B.It’s a good fit for an organisation like Jisc to be interested in ‘the money’ side of things C.It aligns well with work that has just started which is looking very closely at issues to do with the costs and economics of digital curation

5 Training as an investment... The skills and capabilities that personnel acquire via training have to realise a benefit to that individual. Sponsorship of training by organisations is all part of the complex financial equation that ensures that the digital assets owned by that organisation remain safe and accessible. The purpose is to look at training through an economic lens to see whether new insights emerge

6 Current evidence and indications of DEMAND for digital curation training 19 out of every 20 individuals surveyed [by DigCurV] declared that their organisation either already had, or was going to have, responsibility for the long term care of digital assets Well over half of them (57.3%) said that their organisations did not intend to recruit new staff to deal with this issue Over a third (35.4%) of respondents said that training would be provided for staff who had no previous experience. Just under a third (31.4%) said that staff who already had some expertise would receive further training.

7 There is a great demand for training from staff already engaged in library and archive settings, and in particular for accessible introductory material. APARSEN Project Participants [...] have shown willingness, even urgency, to make pragmatic progress in the preservation of digital collections. They favour small parcels of practical advice which is ‘good enough’ over comprehensive theoretical overviews and inaccessible research questions. APARSEN Project Survey carried out for Jisc by Charles Beagrie Ltd. (2013)

8 But what is the actual nature of the demand for training...? Who is demanding training? An individual... an organisation... a project? From the economist’s point of view, the issue is not so much about the identity of the customer when it comes to training, it’s about the relationship (or the transaction) between the person who would benefit from being trained, and the person (representing the interests of the organisation as a whole) who can make a decision whether to sponsor that training or not. In the real world, people tackle this is many different ways, and use all their ingenuity, communication and interpersonal skills to get what they want... The world of economic theory is rather more mechanistic...

9 According to standard economic theory... Training is a human capital investment decision Organisations will not invest in general training for their employees and will under-invest in specific training General Training Training that will make the employee equally useful to many different organisations Specific Training Training that makes the employee useful within the sponsoring organisation and has no effect on the productivity of that person in alternative employment The ‘perfect market’ = full and open competition between organisations in their search for human capital; where all training is general; where all organisations train; all workers are trained; everyone is purely motivated by financial gain

10 Where does this lead us? Organisations won’t sponsor training because they don’t trust their employees to stay in post once they have acquired new skills. No wonder they call it the dismal science! To be fair, however... the concept of reciprocity is acknowledged as mitigating some of the more excessive focus on mechanistic and theory-driven outcomes Reciprocity = A mutual or cooperative interchange of favours or privileges

11 Reciprocity Study Older respondents are less inclined to return a favour in response to someone doing something that is beneficial to them Younger employees are more reciprocal and participate more in training Those with more advanced levels of educational attainment are more reciprocal There is no systematic relation between respondents’ reciprocal attitudes whether they are female, migrant, single or have children Women are less likely to participate in organisation-sponsored training than men, but are more likely to participate in training that the organisation does not support Employees are more likely to participate in sponsored training when the employer possesses its own training centre and when the organisation is larger Organisations learn quickly about the level of an employee’s reciprocity Respondents with a high reciprocity rating were 15% more likely to receive training in a 12 month period than those declaring low reciprocity Leuven et al (2003) –

12 What can we conclude then about demand...? There would seem to be a lot of demand and it’s highly likely to develop and increase That economic theory can frame it in formal ways and may explain unhelpful attitudes towards the uptake of training opportunities in some organisations Demand is complicated and full of contextual and fuzzy factors... And on the basis of some reports, it appears demand is not being met by supply For example … the DigCurV study states: “Across the groups participants stated a lack of appropriate training offers.”

13 SUPPLY Depending on where you look, and what you are looking for, you might argue that it seems like there are quite a lot of offerings covering all sort of topics at all kinds of prices from $0 – around $1500 for training BUT... We see from surveys and we read in reports and anecdotally we hear That there is an insufficient supply of training to meet a predictable and growing demand for training In economic terms, we have... MARKET FAILURE Why have we got market failure and what can we do about it?

14 5 Possible Reasons 1.Developing training courses or materials for digital curation is disproportionately expensive or difficult...? 2.Digital Curation is too technically complex or niche a field and many providers are not yet in a position to assemble and deliver appropriate training...? 3.The market for training is confusing and obscure for training providers and they don’t understand who they would deliver products to...? 4.There are no established products that address clear tasks that institutions require someone to tackle...? 5.There is no obvious level of certified capability that confers credit on the trainer or the trainee...?

15 Is this what we should be aiming for? OAIS ISO TRAC ISO DIN ISO ISO DANS DSA METS (PREMIS) ISO LOTAR ISO :2001

16 Of course it may be possible that... The shortfall in supply is only apparent rather than genuine; or what is being offered is just not understood by potential customers The demand is stated but not actual So what are the implications? And what should we do about it?

17 The demand-side and the supply side of digital curation training are complex and we still don’t fully understand either. This indicates lingering immaturity in relation to other work domains. So this warrants further research – particularly on the precise origin of the demand within organisations. We need to carefully design courses and be very clear in the marketing of them whether they are pitched at a basic, intermediate or advanced level; and we need to understand very clearly what those levels mean; and what they will enable people to achieve afterwards. Enabling rapid productivity gains (at all levels) needs to be the overriding objective. If standard economic theories about training are (even partially) applicable, then we have to foster more trust and reciprocity in our organisations to take fuller advantage of the training that is on offer.

18 One way we might foster that trust is to use career and personal development opportunities within our organisations as the incentive to stay – rather than the mechanism which allows people to leave for more lucrative posts

19 365 Days If sponsoring organisations are unwilling to allow staff the ‘time off work’ to attend training, it is perhaps indicative of a deeper structural problem within the organisation. Organisations have a duty to understand the true level of reciprocity that is occurring between the organisation and its employees.

20 Days 261 Weekends – 104 days

21 Days 249 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days

22 Days 244 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days

23 Days 219 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days Holidays – 25 days

24 Days 196 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days Holidays – 25 days Admin – 23 days

25 Days 184 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days Holidays – 25 days Admin – 23 days Internal Meetings – 12 days

26 Days 174 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days Holidays – 25 days Admin – 23 days Internal Meetings – 12 days Travelling for Work – 10 days

27 Days 172 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days Holidays – 25 days Admin – 23 days Internal Meetings – 12 days Travelling for Work – 10 days Obligatory Training – 2 days

28 Days 167 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days Holidays – 25 days Admin – 23 days Internal Meetings – 12 days Travelling for Work – 10 days Obligatory Training – 2 days Career & Personal development – 5 days

29 Days 167 Weekends – 104 days Bank Holidays – 12 days Sickness – 5 days Holidays – 25 days Admin – 23 days Internal Meetings – 12 days Travelling for Work – 10 days Obligatory Training – 2 days Career & Personal Development – 5 days CORE Productive year – 167 days

30 What relevance does all of this thinking about training issues have for the 4C Project and other projects working in the digital curation space? It’s certainly made me realise that training and skills and capability within organisations (to undertake digital curation) is an important indirect economic determinant. And consequently (as a potential threat to the sustainability of digital assets) this needs to be a component part of the Economic Sustainability Reference Model that we are continuing to develop. And we need to think carefully about our stakeholder engagement with training and education professionals and what information they might usefully extract from the Curation Costs Exchange (CCEx)

31 And finally... One of the things I was asked to do was to think about the overall rationale for investment in human capital in the digital curation area. I haven’t really done that here. I’ve assumed that people need to know about digital curation and I’ve started to investigate whether economics can explain some of the barriers to uptake of training. So I’ll end with a very quick quote that I think does a good job explaining why we need to have trained people in our organisations doing effective digital curation... “One of the greatest risks we run in not preserving our own digital assets for ourselves is that we simultaneously cease to preserve our own viability as institutions.” K. Skinner and M. Schultz, Eds. (Atlanta, GA: Educopia Institute, 2010)

32 Thankyou Neil Grindley I Programme Manager - Digital Preservation & Curation I JiscJisc T: +44 (0) I M: +44 (0) I I Skype: neil.grindley


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