Since it was set up in January 2012, mandated by Jisc as part of the Roadmap project, the Research Data Leeds @ResDataLeeds Twitter account has been somewhat underused with a grand total of 7 tweets between 2012 and 2015.
Guest post from James Mooney, Lecturer in Music Technology, University of Leeds
As part of International Data Week, Sept 11-17 2016, James Mooney reflects on his experience of using the Research Data Leeds institutional data repository.
I have recently completed a project that involved curating, researching and staging three performances of live electronic music compositions by the English composer Hugh Davies (1943-2005). Staging these concerts has, in many cases, involved building the equipment required to perform them from scratch, based on incomplete or ambiguous information gleaned from archival documents. In addition, these are experimental pieces, with scores that comprise text-based instructions and descriptions rather than standard notation, as well as other inherently unpredictable elements that mean that the pieces turn out differently every time they are performed. These were, in other words, pieces that could only be fully understood by performing them. In this situation, the practice-based elements of the project – that is, the performances – are a valuable project output in their own right, since they convey much more about the nature of the pieces than could ever be understood from any abstract or theoretical description of them.
I was interested in using the Research Data Leeds Repository because it offered the possibility of rendering these performances as outputs – entities as concrete, readily identifiable, and as easy to reference as, say, a journal article would be.
Using the Repository allowed each of these three concerts to be packaged as an output, complete with title, abstract, DOI, and authorial information, as well as video-recordings of the pre-concert talk and each of the pieces themselves, and programme notes in PDF format. In this way they could be: (a) preserved for posterity; (b) viewed and auditioned by individuals who were not able to attend the original events; and (c) used and referenced in future research.
Preparation of Materials
In anticipation of their inclusion in the Repository, all three performances were video recorded. Detailed pre-concert lectures delivered in advance of each of the three concerts were also video-recorded. Extensive programme notes – prepared in hard copy for the performances themselves – were also retained in PDF format for inclusion in the Repository.
Decisions also needed to be made in relation to the ‘granularity’ of the materials to be presented. Would we, for example, package each individual piece as a separate entity within the Repository, or would one entity per concert be preferable? Would we include separate video files for each individual piece performed, or a single continuous video file for each concert? Or both? Ultimately, we opted for one entity per concert but with separate files for each individual piece. This configuration, we felt, represented the best balance between representing the original aims of the project (which had specified three concerts as outputs), and catering the potential needs of future researchers (who might appreciate being able to refer to individual pieces quickly and easily).
Having made these decisions, the video-files naturally had to be prepared accordingly. The videos of the concerts were edited so as to provide an individual video-file for each piece performed. Titles and credits for each individual piece were added using Final Cut Pro.
Readying these materials for the Repository also necessitated gaining permission from the various rights-holders, including composers (or their next of kin, if deceased), performers, and in some cases, publishers. If carried out methodically, this need not represent too onerous an administrative burden. In this case, a standard email was drafted, and responses recorded in a spreadsheet, which was then uploaded to the Repository along with the other materials.
Benefits and Applicability
Packaging the concerts as outputs in this way represents a more sustainable option than using websites like YouTube and Vimeo, where the continued availability of the videos is contingent upon the integrity of one individual’s user account (which could cease to be maintained for a variety of different reasons), and upon third-party terms and conditions that may change unpredictably. It also represents a preferable option to hosting such outputs on an individual’s personal website, or on a bespoke institutionally-hosted one, since these options will only be effective for as long as somebody is ready and able to maintain them. In contrast with these less-than-ideal options, the Repository allows these outputs to be preserved in perpetuity, theoretically at least.
Depositing materials in this way would potentially be beneficial for any research-based activity that incorporates a practice-based element. For the current project, similar repositories are planned as documentation for the project exhibition, and as a ‘video proceedings’ for the project conference. So long as appropriate materials (e.g. video and other digital formats) are gathered while the practice is under-way, such materials can be combined with a title and abstract at a later date, and packed as an output, complete with digital object identifier (DOI).
Colleagues writing funding proposals may wish to build plans for packaging outputs in the Repository into their grant applications. This would doubtless be attractive to funders, who will welcome any efforts to assure the sustainability of digital outputs.
Lecturer in Music Technology
School of Music
Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications
University of Leeds
Research Data Leeds, the research data repository for the university, is now live:
Materials from the latest version of the Research Data Management session delivered as part of the University of Leeds Teaching and Research Award (ULTRA).
The structure and content of the Research Data Management (RDM) session delivered as part of the ULTRA course has been revised for academic year 2014/2015. More video content has been incorporated and the session is more interactive and discursive. Feedback was very positive – though some participants would like more time to let the discussion flow freely.
Audience: primarily early career researchers
Timing: 2 1/2 – 3 hour session with 3 presenters
Slides: presentation slides from the session – including links to videos and RDM sites
Workbook: a short workbook encouraging participants to take notes and reflect on their own data during and after the session. Contains two sample data management plans.
All materials are made available to the students in the Leeds University Virtual Learning Environment.
Session structure -summarised below:
- Introduction (5 mins)
- Setting the scene (10 mins) – presentation and discussion of researcher video
- Your own research data (20 mins) – types of data, reflection on students’ data and some practical tips on mins
- Research data lifecycle / why manage data (10 mins) – zip through a data lifecycle; reasons to manage data, including personal benefit and external drivers
- Research data reuse by yourself and others (20 mins) – storage, backup, reuse. Presentation and discussion of the mins Health Science animation on barriers to data sharing.
- Metadata for reuse (20 mins) – examples of metadata for discovery and reuse, including examples drawn from citizen science initiatives. Reflection on students’ own metadata.
- Research data for the long term (25 mins) – fileformats, data repositories, data citation, scholarly communications, ORCIDs, your research profile. Discussion of students’ own data: what would / wouldn’t be shared.
- Data management plans (15 mins) – read and discuss two example DMPs
- Data management plans – practicalities (20 mins) – funder requirements, demonstration of RDM. Students start to write own RDM.
- Summary and further information (10 mins) – help available from the RDM Team and further training courses.
Very useful=12; Mainly useful=4; Not really useful=1; Not at all useful=0
Students liked the video materials and opportunities for discussion with other participants and instructors. Several mentioned changes they would make in their own practice – particularly greater attention to forward planning, including writing a data management plan, review of storage and backup arrangements and discussion of metadata collection protocols in research teams.
Some participants suggested the course should be offered to all PhD students and wished they had attended a similar course at the beginning of their PhD research.
Areas for improvement
The table for reflection on the student’s own data needs more explanation and possibly a redesign.
More information on cloud storage.
One student felt there was insufficient emphasis on ethical aspects of RDM and would have liked more discussion of when in it inappropriate to share data openly.
If you will be publishing a research paper on or after 1st May 2015 then click here for those EPSRC expectations in scope for your research.
? University and funder data management policies…
? Data Management Plan…
? Training and support…
Simply email the Research Data Management team based in the Edward Boyle Library at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are waiting to hear from you!
Links to notes and presentations
Eprints UK User Group Meeting notes in Google Docs https://t.co/jnTVByWyH1 – thanks to all those who added notes on the day.
- EPrints Services (Seb Francois, EPrints Lead Developer, University of Southampton)
- Jisc Update (Balviar Notay, Repository Services Senior Manager, Jisc)
EPrints and Statistics
- University of Sussex and IRUS (Chris Keene, Technical Development Manager, University of Sussex)
- IRStats and EPStats (John Salter and John Beaman, Library Systems Team, University of Leeds)
- Altmetrics (William Nixon, Digital Library Development Manager, University of Glasgow)
Reporting and Compliance
- Jisc End-to-End Open Access Project (Valerie McCutcheon, Research Information Manager, University of Glasgow) E2EOA blog
- RIOXX Update and questions (Paul Walk, Head of Technology Strategy and Planning, EDINA, University of Edinburgh ) RIOXX
Various discussion groups broke out from the main meeting. The discussion are recorded in the notes from the day in Google Docs above. Discussion topics included:
- Research data management
- Open access
- Getting started with EPrints
Twitter hash tag #eprintsusergroup
The next EPrints UK User Group meeting will be in November / December 2014. Venue to be confirmed.