Preparations for effective research data management – how the DCC can help.

A two day event designed to allow institutions in the UK to prepare for effective research data management and understand more about how the DCC can help.

DCC Data Management Roadshow, Salford, 20-21 March 2012

As the Project Officer for the Leeds Research Data Management Pilot (RoaDMaP) based here at the University of Leeds, I found the 9th DCC Regional Roadshow held at the University of Salford to be entirely relevant, informative and thought provoking.. This was a two day event designed to allow every institution in the UK to prepare for effective research data management and understand more about how the Digital Curation Centre or DCC can help.

  • Day 1 explored some of the best practice case studies helping to build a community of data management expertise in the Northwest of England.
  • Day 2 was a strategic training day for research support staff delivered through a range of exercises that gave a further insight into the field of curation and the DCC tools available to institutions starting to plan their research data management services.

The slides from the event are available below with a special mention to the presentation of Professor Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor, University of Salford / Chair of the UK Open Access Implementation Group who gave, what I found to be a very thought-provoking and brave presentation that has firmly left the words ‘the interoperability of digital archives‘ ringing in my ears….


  • Professor Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor, University of Salford / Chair of the UK Open Access Implementation Group [Slides]
  • Meik Poschen, MaDAM and MiSS Projects, University of Manchester [Slides]
  • Managing research data: From tsunami to tools and services – Graham Pryor, DCC [Slides]
  • Introduction to RDM: Activities, Roles and Requirements [Slides][Exercise]
  • Making the Case for Data Management [Slides][Exercise]
  • Facing the Data Challenge: Developing Data Policy and Services [Slides][Exercise]

RoaDMaP anticipated benefits – initial post

Project funded under the JISCMRD2 Programme are asked to highlight key potential benefits and suggest how these will be measured. RoaDMaP should yield several benefits, but here are three at the heart of the project.

1. Benefit: better data management planning across the institution

Who/what will benefit:
(i) Researchers: reduced risk of data loss; data more discoverable and citable; saved time
(ii) Institution: reduced chance of data loss; improved understanding of data management requirements to aid capacity and support planning; more opportunity to showcase and exploit research outputs; funder data policy compliance; impact from academic excellence.
(iii) Students: increased access to research data; research data management skills
(iv) Wider research community/DCC: we will feed findings back to enhance the core DMPOnline tool.

DMPOnline will be trialled with case studies during the RoaDMaP project yielding near-term benefits; in turn, this work will feed into a model of good practice which can be applied across disciplines and at different stages in the research lifecycle for longer-term benefits.

How benefit will be demonstrated:
(i) Greater number of data management plans (we will consider how to calculate a base line figure).
(ii) Positive feedback from staff creating data management plans (PIs, Faculty IT staff, others) about the impact of the process/plan.

2. Benefit: an improved repository infrastructure

Who/what will benefit:
(i) Researchers who are not served by a discipline based data repository will have a safe place to deposit their research data; data will be more readily citable through the deployment of DOIs.
(ii) Institution: improved understanding of infrastructure requirements including how existing systems feature in the Leeds data management landscape; opportunity to build cross-service teams around the testing process – bringing together faculty and central IT support, library staff and of course researchers.
(iii) Wider repository community – we will provide a test-bed for DataFlow and communicate findings.
(iv) Funding agencies: fundees able to meet data deposit requirements; better return on investment.

Timescale: piloting the DataFlow model as one solution/partial solution will take place in 2012.  The project will make recommendations about IT solutions and resourcing to move towards a scalable repository infrastructure which should be in place before 2015.

How benefit will be demonstrated:
(i) A system for depositing multiple types of data is available to researchers the University of Leeds.
(ii) Sufficient ongoing resource to support data repository service delivery and development
(iii) data sets deposited
(iv) data sets discoverable and available for reuse

3. Benefit: an embedded training programme for researchers and research support staff

Who/what will benefit:
This activity will provide a framework to review existing research data management training offered by the institution and think carefully about the training needs of different stakeholders. This process will require an understanding of roles and responsibilities within the data management workflow. We will repurpose existing training materials where we can and, where there are gaps, create new supporting materials. We could also look at other approaches to mutual support and training such as facilitating communities of practice. There are multiple beneficiaries:

(i) Researchers – supported in reviewing and enhancing data management practice; opportunity to feed back to improve materials and help tailor for specific disciplines; time saved through efficient data management processes.
(ii) Institution – demonstrates support for researchers and support staff; improves awareness of data management issues and hopefully enhances data management practice, thus reducing risk of data loss and improving data access, reuse and impact.
(iii) Research support staff – we will probably need to segment this broad category as we assess training needs and perform gap analysis but let’s take library staff as an example: increased awareness and confidence, greater clarity/opportunity to explore their role in the data management context, networking opportunities to foster cross-team collaboration

Timescale: a review of current training provision and gap analysis will be undertaken in 2012, making use of contacts curently involved in central and faculty based training for researchers. We hope to demonstrate significant development of training options for Leeds staff before the end of the RoaDMaP project in 2013. We also hope there will be ongoing benefits and regular review of training post-project; we will keep in mind the sustainability of what we develop from the outset.

How benefit will be demonstrated:
(i) a programme of training activities including face to face courses, online resources and networking opportunities;
(ii) evidence of participation – number of people attending courses, activity on any web based resources;
(iii) feedback from participants; evidence showing how training materials have been/will be embedded
(iv) sustainability plan showing ongoing support for the training programme