Postgraduate researchers can now try out their data management skills in a new text-based role-playing game.
The University of Bath Library, in collaboration with Stellenbosch University Library, have created an online role playing game in order to help postgraduate researchers brush up their data management skills, help them identify what they already know and assess what they may need to improve upon.
The RDM game takes the form of a text adventure, similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy books and guides players through the lifecycle of a research project, from applying for funding through to publishing papers. Along the way, they have to make decisions about the best way to write a data management plan and how to organise and curate their data. Some of those decisions can have surprising consequences.
The game allows you to chose from two research modes: a qualitative researcher working with human participants or an experimental researcher working in the natural sciences. Throughout the game, the player is presented with scenarios that they could encounter in their real world research practices and presents them with options about how to deal with the situations. The game scores the player on each of their decisions and at various points throughout they are presented with a breakdown of their scores and are given feedback on the outcomes of their decisions.
Alex Ball, Research Data Librarian (Systems) and lead developer of the game, explained:
“The most important point we want people to take away from this game is that if you get research data management right, there are real and tangible benefits. If you get it wrong, it exposes you to all sorts of risks. It is one thing to explain this through our regular training and guidance, and another for researchers to experience it personally. The beauty of a role-playing game is that we can give people a sense of what these benefits and risks might mean for them in practice.”
Since the game's launch in November 2020 it has been played by people across 28 countries, and has recently been shortlisted as one of the nominees for the NSTF-South32 Awards for an award under the data for research category.
It has also been included in The Wellcome Trust's Early Career Researcher Pack. Sonya Towers (Grants Adviser at the Wellcome Trust), stated:
"The game is a great, fun way to teach researchers about how to manage their research data, throughout the entire grant life cycle. I really like the way it feels like you are part of an exciting story, where each decision acts as a cog in determining how the story ends."
The whole game takes about an hour to play, but it is split into five stages that can be played independently. This means researchers can play a section of the game before or after a regular training session to test their understanding on the session topic.
Play the game now, and see what kind of Research Data Management Adventure you have.