Presentation on theme: "Institutional measures to encourage and facilitate effective data management and sharing. A matter of cash, careers or cultural change? 7th DCC/RIN Research."— Presentation transcript:
1 Institutional measures to encourage and facilitate effective data management and sharing. A matter of cash, careers or cultural change?7th DCC/RIN Research Data Management ForumUniversity of Warwick, 3rd November 2011Miggie PicktonResearch Support LibrarianLibrary and Learning Services
2 Outline Background and context Understanding data management practices at Northampton – DAF projectFrom project to policyPositive outcomesWhere next at Northampton?So is it a matter of cash, careers or cultural change?
3 Background – the university About The University of Northampton:Achieved university status and research degree awarding powers in 2005Ambitious plans to develop research capacity200+ research students, ??? research active staff – numbers are risingIncreased focus on supporting the research communityLike everyone else... thinking about satisfying funders, increasing research impact, developing research environment, the REF...
4 Background - the KeepIt project The JISC-funded KeepIt project aimed to bring together existing preservation tools and services with appropriate training and advice to enable repository managers to formulate practical and achievable preservation plansLed by a preservation expert – Steve HitchcockFeatured four exemplar repositories:eCrystals (science data)EdShare (educational resources)UAL Research Online (arts)NECTAR (research)A further 12 repository managers attended the KeepIt training course
5 KeepIt course – toolsData Asset Framework (DAF) - identify, locate, describe and assess research data assetsAssessing Digital Institutional Assets self assessment toolkit (AIDA)Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS) – benefits and costs of a repositoryLIFE3 – predictive costing tool for digital contentEprints preservation toolkitDROID & JHOVE – file format identification and characterisationPREMIS - data dictionary for preservation metadataPlato - preservation planning tool from PLANETSDigital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment (DRAMBORA) – repository risk assessment and reportingSome tools, for example, the Data Asset Framework (DAF), the Assessing Digital Institutional Assets self assessment toolkit (AIDA), LIFE3, and the Plato preservation planning tool from Planets, were pre-existing tools designed for more general use in digital preservation, but their application was focussed in the KeepIt course on the special needs of repositories. Others, such as DRAMBORA from the Digital Curation Centre, were developed specifically for repositories.
6 Data Asset FrameworkCould see an immediate benefit in several tools, but particularly the Data Asset Framework from the Digital Curation CentreWhat is DAF? “The Data Asset Framework is a set of methods to:find out what data assets are being created and held within institutions;explore how those data are stored, managed, shared and reused;identify any risks e.g. misuse, data loss or irretrievability;learn about researchers’ attitudes towards data creation and sharing;suggest ways to improve ongoing data management.”(Digital Curation Centre, 2009, p.3)Not the purpose of this presentation to describe the full DAF methodology – this has already been done elsewhere
7 Why conduct a DAF project? Little was known centrally about university researchers’ data storage requirements, or the research workflow that incorporates the creation and management of dataNo university wide data storage policy or procedure existedAware that research funders were beginning to require data as well as published research outputs to be made openly availableIn NECTAR (our institutional repository), we had available the infrastructure to store and preserve digital dataPrevious studies had noted that the process of undertaking DAF had been valuable in itself, even if the resulting inventory of data was only partial
8 DAF at Northampton Project team: two project researchers (graduate interns) plus a Project Board comprising staff with expertise in repositories, records management and collection developmentRan from May to June 2010 (eight weeks)Data collection, three stages:Initial interviews with research leaders in each School; online survey of researchers; one-to-one interviews with researchersTopics covered:Types, sizes and formats of research data; data ownership; storage; security; sharing and access (short and long term); funders’ requirements
9 DAF at Northampton – some findings Three generic types of researcher (each with characteristic needs and behaviours) - research student; independent researcher; group researcher/collaboratorData storage needs, behaviours and vulnerabilities varied through the research lifecycleConsensus in use of some file types (e.g. .doc, .xls, .jpeg) but not others (e.g. for audio, video, databases)Very few Northampton researchers had applied for funding from an organisation that mandated open access to research dataJust over a half of respondents expressed interest in a university repository for data (either open or closed access)Data storage e.g. Memory sticks and laptops commonly used during data collection period, networked storage used for subsequent backup; CDs and DVDs at project end
10 DAF at Northampton - concerns Lots of good practice, especially in data security, but in some cases:Uncertainty over ownership of research dataData still collected in out-dated formatsData management practices guided by intuition rather than informed by good practiceData neglected once a project is completeResearchers often ill-informed (or misinformed) of the services available to them
11 DAF at Northampton - recommendations A Research Data Policy to be drafted and approved by the University Research Committee (URC)University to clarify its position on the ownership of research dataGraduate School, Records Manager and Library staff to develop and promote training sessions and guides to RDMInformation Services to further develop and disseminate expertise in preservation planning to support researchers wishing to store and access their data over the medium to long termProject findings to be disseminated to Schools and Research Centres, together with advice and guidance in line with the new policy(Full results and recommendations are described in the project report – see Alexogiannopoulos et al., 2010)
12 From project to policyOctober 2010 – DAF project report presented to URCNovember URC Research Data Working Group convened to discuss:Scope of policyFit with research lifecycleProcedure to support policyRelationship with other university policies and practices (e.g. research ethics; academic misconduct)November-December 2010 – policies from other institutions reviewedURC Research Data Working Group comprised: Repository Manager; University Records manager; Director of Research and KT; a researcher
13 From project to policyJanuary 2011 – discussions with the DCC re ‘generic’ version of DMP OnlineJanuary 2010 – first RDM proposal presented to URC:RCUK recommendations to be followed (RCUK, 2009)Principal Investigator to complete a data management plan at the start of every project (DMP Online recommended for this purpose)A central dedicated storage facility for research data to be providedSupport and training to be offered to researchersMembers of URC expressed concern
14 From project to policy URC concerns: Duplication of effort - “we have to do this already ” ... for funders, professional bodies, etc.Relevance or applicability to different disciplinesReluctance to set disposal date (or even review date) – “I’d be very upset if my data were deleted” ...after I had leftAversion to procedures being mandatoryExpense – who will pay for it?So back to the drawing board...
15 From project to policyRevised proposal eventually approved by URC in June 2011:Emphasis on encouragement rather than mandateNo longer expected for every research projectSimplified internal proceduresDefault five year review periodAdditional help offered for identifying external data archives
16 Positive outcomesThe DAF project gave us the chance to have much more meaningful and in-depth discussions with individual researchers – allowing us to learn more of their needs and to promote our services (including NECTAR)Awareness of the full implications of good research data management has increasedData management training is now a standard element of research student inductionGreater recognition among researchers of the expertise held by support staff in records and data managementGood research data management should support the University Records Manager’s role in dealing with FOI and EIR requests (JISC, 2010)Good RDM means more than data storageResearchers asking library staff for advice on RDM and funding bids
17 Less positively...Approval of the policy by URC has not yet resulted in obvious behavioural changeMajor (ongoing) structural changes across the university support services have hindered progress since JuneWithout clear incentives (or sanctions), researchers lack motivation to conform to policy
18 Where next? We need to: How? Disseminate the new policy to all Schools and DivisionsDevelop RDM training programme – paying particular attention to the needs of different disciplinesFulfil our commitment to provide a dedicated research data storage facilityHow?Through multiple communication channels e.g. School Research Forums; university website; one-to-onesInvolve Records Manager, library staff and researchers in development of training sessions and guidelinesSeek authorisation from new budget holder; take advice on best way of implementing hardware and softwareand seek ways to embed it in the working practices of researchers
19 Where next? How? We need to: Gain support from opinion leaders; focus on key messages; emphasise benefits to research groups and individuals. Raise awareness among both academic and support staff.Take advice from DCC and other expertsWe need to:Promote the importance and value of effective data management and sharingSeek ways to support the embedding of good data management practice in research workflowsGain visible and vocal support from respected research leaders and university senior managementDeliver a strong message: RDM matters - funders want it; research careers could depend on it
20 To conclude A matter of cash, careers or cultural change? Cash (i.e. funding) – only if the prospective funder clearly expects good RDM practice or data sharing (otherwise, why bother?)Careers – there must be a demonstrable link between good RDM and career progression (e.g. data citation)Cultural change – essential.All three together? Effective data management and sharing will result from the application of appropriate carrots and sticks by funders and employers, combined with clear demonstration of career benefits and recognition of the value of good data management practice among the scholarly community.
21 ReferencesAlexogiannopoulos, E., McKenney, S. and Pickton, M. (2010) Research Data Management Project: a DAF investigation of research data management practices at The University of Northampton. Northampton: University of Northampton. Available from: [Accessed ].Digital Curation Centre (2009) Data Asset Framework: Implementation guide. Available from: [Accessed ].JISC (2010) Freedom of Information and research data: Questions and answers. Available from: [Accessed ].Research Councils UK (2009) RCUK Policy and code of conduct on the governance of good research conduct: Integrity, clarity and good management. Available from: [Accessed ].
22 AcknowledgementWe are grateful to the JISC for funding the KeepIt project; to the Graduate Boost programme for supplying the two DAF project researchers, Sam McKenney and Edward Alexogiannopoulos; and to Sarah Jones and Martin Donnelly of the Digital Curation Centre for their help and support with the DAF and DMP Online tools.