This recent blog post from the University of Cambridge gives a valuable insight into how Cambridge is looking to support their researchers in Data Sharing and shows how much planning and strategic thought is involved. At Cambridge, the issue needed the consultation and involvement of many administrative staff (over 100!), academics and researchers; as well as important external stakeholders such as the Research Councils and Research Charities (like the Wellcome Trust and CRUK).
In their blog post, Danny Kingsley and Marta Teperek explain how Cambridge considered the sustainability, transparency, administration and charging of their model. Their consultation with funders has led to a position in which Cambridge will endeavour to recover the cost of Research Data Management through overheads on research grants rather than as direct costs. Although this was driven by the position of the Research Councils, a major funding source, it has implications for the recovery of costs from funders who don’t cover overheads, such as the Wellcome Trust. This opens up the genuine question of what the costs are and who should pay; if data sharing is integral to what a research institution does then perhaps including it as overheads shows this? On the other hand, the post notes that making the cost of this activity less visible has consequence for the profile of research data management and for the awareness of researchers – who ultimately need to know about and use the services under discussion.
Thank you, Danny and Marta, for sharing this detailed and insightful post!