It is with sadness that we announce that UKOLN Informatics will cease to operate on 31 July 2015. UKOLN Informatics fulfilled UKOLN’s commitments to projects such as the DCC (Digital Curation Centre) and CCMDIR (Community Capability Model for Data-Intensive Research) following the cessation of its core activity, the Innovation Support Centre, in 2013.
The reason for the closure is largely one of sustainability, or rather the lack of it. It was initially hoped that the unit would build up momentum with a portfolio of new projects, but the funding climate meant it was not possible to set this up before the UKOLN Director moved on. Therefore there was no project to replace CCMDIR when it ceased in 2014, and the remaining DCC staff were put at risk of redundancy on an annual basis due to the timing of funding extensions. Since the research interests of UKOLN were unique at Bath, the unit could not be aligned with another group within the university, and efforts to transfer the unit to another institution did not bear fruit.
As a result of this collision of circumstances, the University of Bath will withdraw from the DCC consortium at the end of July 2015 and close UKOLN. Alex Ball will take up a new position within the university as Research Data Librarian, while the other staff are on notice of redundancy.
Aspects of UKOLN’s work will continue beyond Bath. The DCC goes forward as a collaboration between the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow; the International Digital Curation Conference will be held as planned in 2016 and no doubt beyond, and a refreshed editorial team will take on the International Journal of Digital Curation. Looking further back, Ariadne, the Web magazine for information professionals, has a new home at Loughborough University Library.
The timing of this closure is unfortunate. We believe that issues of digital information management, whether involving research data or cultural heritage collections, will become more relevant to society, not less. The skills and expertise nurtured by UKOLN over its 38 years are exactly those needed in today’s networked and data-driven world. It is therefore to be hoped that UKOLN may one day be revived to tackle the new issues and challenges that arise. But for now at least, it is time to say goodbye.
The DCC recently released a new guide on How to Track the Impact of Research Data with Metrics by Alex Ball and Monica Duke.
"The guide will help you to track and measure the impact of research data, whether your own or that of your department/institution. It provides an overview of the key impact measurement concepts and the services and tools available for measuring impact. After discussing some of the current issues and challenges, it provides some tips on increasing the impact of your own data. This guide should interest researchers and principal investigators working on data-led research, administrators working with research quality assessment submissions, librarians and others helping to track the impact of data within institutions."
It is available for free on the web pages or to download as a pdf. Paper copies can be ordered from the DCC online shop.
With a view to sharing solutions and lessons learned across the higher education sector, activities and experiences within four UK universities – the University of East London, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds and the University of St Andrews – were examined as they meet the expectations set out in the EPSRC research data policy framework.
Information was collected through semi-structured qualitative interviews with selected RDM staff at each of the four universities. The interviews were conducted and summaries prepared in January and February 2015. The overall structure of the interview questions groups the EPSRC requirements into three areas:
- Overarching issues on RDM policy, strategy, governance and sustainability
- Development of support services and increasing RDM capability and skills
- Technical infrastructure and services required for storage, preservation and sharing
The case studies were prepared by Monica Duke (DCC), JonathanRans (DCC) and Verena Weigert (Jisc) in collaboration with the interviewees: Stephen Grace (University of East London), Stuart MacDonald (University of Edinburgh), Rachel Proudfoot (University of Leeds), and Anna Clements (University of St Andrews).
The case studies are published alongside the guide Meeting the requirements of the EPSRC research data policy
The Co-Chairs of the 11th International Digital Curation Conference have announced the date and venue for the event. It will be held from Monday 22 February to Thursday 25 February 2016 at the Mövenpick Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. As in previous years, the main business of the conference will be held on two of the four days, with the others given over to workshops.
See the IDCC 2016 website for more details as they become available.
The entirety of Volume 10, Issue 1 of the International Journal of Digital Curation (IJDC) is available to view online.
The IJDC is published on a 'half-rolling' basis where papers are published continually throughout the year, but are still grouped into issues. The first papers from this issue were made available in February 2015, with more added over the course of the following months. In all, 24 papers and articles have been published: 2 original peer-reviewed papers, versions of the 6 research papers presented at IDCC15, and 16 IDCC practice papers.
Among the topics represented are education and training; various technical proposals including distributed identifier management, treating scripts as workflows, metadata extraction, and identifying community groups; institutional research data management; choosing where to deposit data; and digitization for preservation.
For more information about the contents of the issue, see the editorial by Alex Ball.
Some more conference items from UKOLN staff in early 2015 are now available from the University of Bath repository:
From the 10th International Digital Curation Conference:
From the Research Data Alliance Fifth Plenary:
From the Spring 2015 EuroCRIS Membership Meeting:
Alex Ball will present a paper at the Spring 2015 EuroCRIS Membership Meeting.
Entitled 'Using CRIS to power research data discovery', the paper will be based on the work done so far in the Jisc Research Data Discovery Service project. It will propose a mapping from CERIF, the metadata standard used by many Current Research Information Systems, to the RIF-CS scheme used by the Phase 1 discovery service prototype, and discuss any potential issues with implementing it.
The EuroCRIS Membership Meeting will be held on 11–12 May 2015 in Paris.
Alex Ball will present the outputs of the Metadata Standards Directory Working Group (MSDWG) at the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Fifth Plenary.
The group was tasked with setting up a sustainable, community-maintained directory of metadata standards in use across the full range of academic disciplines. It has also collected use cases for research metadata to help with organizing standards witin the directory. Alex will present the work of the group at three different sessions:
- a joint session of the Metadata Interest Group, MSDWG, the Data in Context Interest Group, and Research Data Provenance Interest Group;
- the Outputs Plenary;
- the Metadata Plenary.
The RDA Fifth Plenary will be held on 8–11 March 2015 at the Paradise Point Hotel, San Diego.
There are only two weeks left to register for the 10th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC 15).
This year's conference promises to provide a fascinating look back at how far the field of digital curation has come over the past ten years, as well as food for thought on what the future developments might be.
There are a few UKOLN connections hidden within the programme. Former UKOLN Director Liz Lyon will present a paper that discusses how iSchools are bringing about change in the information profession and equipping a generation of graduates with the necessary skills for research data management and digital curation. Liz also co-authors one of the posters, as does current staff member Alex Ball.
The conference will be held at 30 Euston Square in London, on 9–12 February 2015. Registration closes on 27 January, so for more information on how to register, please visit the IDCC15 Web site.