Data Conversations on 30 January “Sharing Data – Benefits and Boundaries“
We are very excited about the first Data Conversations event at Lancaster University coming up on 30 January 2017, 1.45-4pm. There will be 6 short talks from academics talking about aspects of their research data. We can now publish the agenda.
Well… it’s probably quite hard to get to the truth of the matter but here at Lancaster we are trying to find out what researchers really think. This is crucial for developing and improving our services and vital for delivering the service our researchers want.
We are one of the organisations taking part in the JISC RDM Shared Services pilot and you can read their take on the work being done here. With JISC’s help we undertook a researcher survey to find out a bit more about the kinds of research data which were being produced, how the data were (or weren’t) being managed and researcher attitudes towards their data.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Pericles/DPC Conference: Acting on Change at the Wellcome Institute in London. The theme of the conference was moving forward with digital preservation; in other words taking steps beyond just the technical tools and looking outward instead of inward. There were excellent keynotes and panel sessions and useful and thought-provoking workshops. PERICLES (Promoting and Enhancing Reuse of Information through the Content Lifecycle) is a EU funded four year project which seeks to address the issues of managing digital preservation in an ever changing world.
Are research institutions engaging their researchers with Research Data Management (RDM)? And if so, how are they doing it? In this post Hardy Schwamm (@hardyschwamm), Research Data Manager, Lancaster University, and Rosie Higman (@RosieHLib), Research Data Advisor, University of Cambridge, and explore the work they are doing in their respective institutions.
Whilst funder policies were the initial catalyst for many RDM services at UK universities there are many reasons to engage with RDM, from increased impact to moving towards Open Research as the new normal. And a growing number of researchers are keen to get involved! These reasons also highlight the need for a democratic, researcher-led approach if the behavioural change necessary for RDM is to be achieved. Following initial discussions online and at the Research Data Network event in Cambridge on 6 September, we wanted to find out whether and how others are engaging researchers beyond iterating funder policies.
I attended the first Research Data Alliance workshop held in sunny Birmingham which was designed to bring together practitioners from across the UK to find out more about the work of the RDA. It was also a chance to see how we might be able to contribute and benefit from what the organisation has to offer. Despite already being a member of the RDA Interest Groups for Archives and Records Professionals, I confess to having been more of a casual observer than an active participant. So it was a brilliant opportunity to find out more about exactly what the Research Data Alliance is, how it works and what it hopes to achieve.
We have been doing some thinking around how to improve the research data management services we offer here at Lancaster. We’re keen to move away from the idea of the role of research data management as purely for compliance purposes – we want to really push the idea of open data and data reuse and develop the idea that the research data produced by the university are valuable assets. We know that researchers at the university are working on interesting, valuable and important work. Look at Derek Gatherer’s work on the Zika virus or Maggie Mort’s project looking at disaster planning and children and a host of other more specialized datasets supporting research right across the sciences and the humanities. Each dataset will have its own context, background and requirements for it to be properly interpreted and understood.