Research360

Managing data across the institutional research lifecycle

University of Bath Data Management Plan template and guidance

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📥  General

One of our key tasks for the Research360 project was to produce an institutional template for data management plans (DMPs) at the University of Bath — an initial version of this is now complete and available to download, along with guidance on its completion.

We used an iterative method to develop these documents, going back and forth between members of the project team and a number of researchers to produce a template that is functional and fills the needs of researchers as well as the institution and our funders. Since most other UK funders already provide a template, we focused on the needs of our EPSRC-funded researchers, but drew heavily on the policies and templates of all the other RCUK funders, as well as the DCC Checklist for a Data Management Plan.

The template

The template itself is available in two versions: a blank version, and one with suggested possible answers. The latter was developed based on feedback from researchers (who wanted a simple way to get started on a DMP) and could potentially be used in a multiple-choice fashion to quickly draft a DMP which covers the full range of issues.

We suggest a two-stage process to developing a data management plan using the institutional template:

  1. Pre-award: when applying for funding, use the multiple-choice template to quickly produce a basic DMP and identify resources which may need to be included in the project budget;
  2. Post-award: after funding has been granted, review the initial template and fill in further details as appropriate for the project in question — at this point issues should be referred to the relevant University support department (e.g. computer services) or third-party body (e.g. data archives).

This will ensure that all potential issues are surfaced at an early stage, while allowing the researchers to focus on the more important scientific aspects of the bid. By building up the DMP in several stages, each of which is itself only a small step, we hope to lower the barrier to entry for data management planning.

The guidance

The guidance document accompanying the template serves two purposes:

  1. To give advice on how each question should be answered; and
  2. To explain why each question is important.

Our intention is to help researchers make informed decisions about both what should go into their DMP and what they can leave out if it does not apply to them. We also intend this document to signpost specific infrastructure and support services that researchers may not be fully aware of. We have therefore taken care to highlight relevant University support services and policies for each question.

Future work

We have begun work on specialised versions of the template to fulfil particular sets of requirements, by narrowing down the questions asked and giving additional guidance where appropriate.

All of the funders we work with have slightly different requirements and emphases for data management plans, so by tailoring our own template to suit the needs of each funder (e.g. by being selective about the questions that are included), we hope to be able to maintain a single set of guidance which will apply to all funders.

We are also developing a version of the template to help researchers develop a standing research data policy for their research group or department. We hope to implement a mechanism to allow these local policies to be published on the web, so that each project DMP can focus on project-specific issues and simply refer to the standing policy anything more generic.

Closing workshop poster: sustainability of project outputs

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📥  Outreach

Our poster, "Research360: Sustainability of Project Outputs", is now available to download from the University of Bath publication repository. This poster was presented at the JISCMRD programme's final workshop in Birmingham on 25–26 March 2013.

The poster gives an overview of the major strands of work in the Research360 project (Roadmap & Business Case, RDM Policy & Policy Guidelines, RDM Website & Researcher Support, RDM Training Workshops). It describes the outcomes in each area, along with the continuing work which will support and further develop these outcomes going forward.

Updated postgraduate data management planning guidance

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📥  Training

Since our original post about data management planning for postgraduate researchers we've updated the template a couple of times. We've also created a guidance document to accompany it, which will help researchers develop a data management plan even if they haven't been able to attend a face-to-face workshop.

We've started using the template as part of our main data management workshop for PGRs, and we've also had a group of Doctoral Training Centre students complete DMPs using it as well. Feedback from both groups has been very positive.

You can access both documents from our institutional repository:

Research Data Management and REF2014

📥  General

The Research360 project is pleased to announce the public release of its guidance document Research Data Management and REF2014, prepared by staff at the University of Bath and Charles Beagrie Ltd. It is being disseminated and shared with the research community in Bath and other universities.

Many universities are still in the process of enhancing and formalising strategies for research data management at this time, so this paper may contribute to planning for future assessment exercises beyond REF2014, as well as business cases for further development of strategies and procedures for research data in research-intensive universities.
With the results from the REF determining institutional quality-related (QR) funding allocations (just over £1.3 billion in 2012/13), the research element of QR funding is one of the key funding streams for research in UK universities. Support for future assessment exercises is therefore a potential element in any business case for research data management.

The Research Data Management and REF2014 document can be downloaded in Word or PDF formats from: http://opus.bath.ac.uk/35518/.

The REF guidance document follows on from the previous release of the summary stakeholder benefits analysis (based on the KRDS Benefits Framework) from the Research Data Management business case for the University of Bath. The stakeholder benefits analysis is also still available separately to download in PDF format from http://opus.bath.ac.uk/32509.

The Research360 project is funded by Jisc and is developing the technical and human infrastructure for research data management at the University of Bath, as an exemplar research-intensive university.

8th International Digital Curation Conference 2013

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📥  Outreach

From Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 January 2013, Cathy and I attended the 8th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC13) in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

On Monday morning, we ran a workshop, jointly with Hannah Lloyd-Jones from Open Exeter, entitled "Designing Data Management Training Resources: Tools for the provision of interactive research data management workshops". This offered participants the opportunity to learn more about the way we run our face-to-face data management training with staff and students, and to experience first-hand some of the interactive exercises we use.

These included Open Exeter's "Research Data Dating" exercise, in which two concentric circles of participants have 3 minutes to describe their research data to each other before moving on to the next person. I demonstrated how we use "clickers" (audience response systems) to survey our students during face-to-face workshops, and we also had a discussion of the pros and cons of the data management plan (DMP) templates that we've used with students.

For more info, take a look at Marieke Guy's blog post, IDCC13: Exemplar RDM Training Exercises and Jill Evans's summary of tweets from the workshop. For those who are interested, we used PollEverywhere, a website which permits voting on questions via SMS or the web on a smartphone or laptop.

Update: You can now download Hannah's slides: Designing Data Management Training Resources: IDCC 2013 Workshop

Cathy Pink presented a practice paper entitled "Meeting the Data Management Compliance Challenge: Funder Expectations and Institutional Reality". The paper drew together lessons learnt by the Research360 project, based on its experience in meeting the varied data management needs of both an institution and its external stakeholders. The text of Cathy's paper will be available online soon.

Liz Lyon facilitated the "What is a data scientist?" symposium, an interactive panel discussion around roles and skills required to cope with the growing importance of data in scholarship. See Marieke's blog post, "IDCC13: What’s in a name? The ‘data scientist’ symposium" for more details.

Finally, we also presented a poster, "Creating an Online Training Module on RDM", about the process of developing our research data management e-learning module for postgraduate students. The poster was designed and written by our colleague Marieke Guy from UKOLN, and I gave a "minute madness" presentation summarising it as well.

There is also a searchable archive of tweets with the #idcc13 hashtag.

Stakeholder Benefits from Research Data Management

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📥  General

The Research360 project has just has released the summary stakeholder benefits analysis from the Research Data Management (RDM) business case for the University of Bath. The 4 page document is available to download in PDF format from opus.bath.ac.uk/32509.

The benefits summary covers key stakeholder groups both within the university community (academic staff and researchers, students, professional services and the institution) and for external partners (industry and commerce, public and voluntary sectors, government and society).

The stakeholder benefits were developed by Neil Beagrie at Charles Beagrie Ltd, in collaboration with members of the Research360 and REDm-MED project teams. Helpful insight and feedback were also gathered from researchers working in industry.

You can read more about the stakeholder benefits analysis, how they can be used and how they were developed in the accompanying UKOLN news feature.

Working with commercial partners

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📥  Events

On Monday 29 October, Cathy Pink gave an invited presentation on research data management with commercial partners at the latest DataCite workshop. The workshop was jointly run by JISC and the British Library, and focused on issues around citing sensitive data.

Cathy's slides are now available for download from our institutional repository:

JISC MRD progress workshop slides & poster

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📥  Events

On Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 October 2012, Cathy and I attended the JISC MRD programme progress workshop in Nottingham. The workshop was an excellent opportunity to share the lessons we're learning on the Research360 project and learn from colleagues working on research data management elsewhere, including a number outside the JISC-funded MRD programme.

Our slides and poster from the progress workshop are now available through our institutional repository:

University of Bath Research Data web pages go live

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📥  Progress updates

I'm pleased to announce that our redeveloped Research Data web pages have now been published.

We hope that this resource will be useful for researchers and support staff both within and beyond the University.

They will continue to be added to and updated as time goes on, particularly over the next 6 months or so as we finalise the University's policy on research data.

For those who are interested in such things, we've taken a conscious decision to keep the content as brief as possible and signpost visitors to good advice held elsewhere, by organisations such as the Digital Curation Centre.

There are two ways into the content:

  • The left-hand navigation bar, which appears on each page, is organised logically into categories. In addition, the navigation bar also includes an email link to our main point of contact for research data, to encourage a) people to seek personalised advice; and b) feedback to improve the site further.
  • The home page is intended to signpost useful resources to help with particular activities and situations, broadly divided into stages of the research lifecycle.

Many of the pages have boxouts with crosslinks pointing to other areas of the site with related content.

Any feedback would be most welcome: contact me at j.cope@bath.ac.uk.