New video: the benefits of RDM training

A big part of the role of the Research Data Service is to provide a mixture of online and (general/tailored) in-person training courses on Research Data Management (RDM) to all University research staff and students.

In this video, PhD student Lis talks about her experiences of accessing both our online training and attending some of our face-to-face courses. Lis emphasises how valuable both of these can be to new PhD candidates, who may well be applying RDM good practice for the first time in their career.

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It is interesting to see Lis reflect on how these training opportunities made her think about how she handles data on a daily basis, bringing a realisation that much of her data was sensitive and therefore needed to be safeguarded in an appropriate manner.

Our range of regularly scheduled face-to-face training courses are run through both Digital Skills and the Institute of Academic Development – these are open to all research staff and students. In addition, we also create and provide bespoke training courses for schools and research groups based on their specific needs. Online training is delivered via MANTRA and the Research Data Management MOOC which we developed in collaboration with the University of North Carolina.

In the video Lis also discusses her experiences using some RDS tools and services, such as DataStore for storing and backing-up her research data to prevent data loss, and contacting our team for timely support in writing a Data Management Plan for her project.

If you would like to learn more about any of the things Lis mentions in her interview you should visit the RDS website, or to discuss bespoke training for your school or research centre / group please contact us via data-support@ed.ac.uk.

Kerry Miller
Research Data Support Officer
Library and University Collections
The University of Edinburgh

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An internship in the Research Data Service: Towards tailored Research Data Support

For four weeks in July and August 2018, I did an internship in the Research Data Support (RDS) of the University of Edinburgh’s Information Services (IS). Otherwise, I am working as a librarian trainee in Bern University Library in Switzerland. There, as well as in other parts of Europe, research data is an issue which constantly gains momentum, and libraries are, among others, at the forefront of the changing scene. IS has a very good reputation for their work in this field, and so, as a librarian to be, the internship in the RDS was an outstanding opportunity for me to get first hand insights and experiences.

The project I was working on was about tailoring guidance for researchers writing their Data Management Plans (DMP) with the tool dmponline. As a basis for this, I had to gather information about the practices and needs of academic and support staff around research data management (RDM) and DMP. I was to work with staff from all three colleges. (In fact, I found that my project had quite some similarities to Clarissa’s who was just finishing her project when I joined the team.)

My first step was to get in touch with the school support staff, which was essential to get an overall impression of how RDM worked in each school, and to arrange my contacts with researchers. From this, along with information gathered from each schools’ websites, I created an interview questionnaire as well as an online survey. These served to capture researchers’ and support staff’s experience with RDM. For me, conducting interviews was a new and valuable experience. I gained confidence, and I was inspired by the staff’s willingness to share their experience with RDM. I think that interviewing is a very useful skill to develop, because finding out what school staff think and what they need is important in almost every sector of library work.

From the interviews and surveys, I also learnt a lot about researchers’ different practices and challenges in the context of research data management. I analysed the responses and documented my findings in reports for IS and school support staff. Unfortunately, my internship was too short for me to complete the tailored guidance part of the project, but I hope that my work will serve as a basis for the teams’ endeavours to further adapt their DMP support.

Summing everything up, my internship was an inspiring experience which was at times intense but also hugely enriching. This was due in large part to the fantastic team who were welcoming and supported me most effectively whenever needed (this is true, too, for my contact persons in the schools). I would have loved to learn even more about their various experiences, but, after all, I am really grateful for the opportunity I have been given to participate in their work and to learn so much about RDM.

Gero Schreier
Research Data Service Project Assistant
Librarian in training, University Library, University of Bern (Switzerland)

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Dealing with Data Conference 2017 – Call for Papers

[Update: Deadline for submissions has now been extended to Thursday 5th October]

Date:                     Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Location:             Playfair Library

Themes:

  • Balancing openness with privacy – How do you meet funder demands for   open data without exposing research participants sensitive information?
  • Informed consent – Is it possible to get informed consent from a research participant if you don’t know how their data may be used in future?
  • Is your research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR)? – How easy is it to apply the FAIR data principles to your research data?
  • Is open data changing the way you do research? – Has open access to research data helped your research? Have you struggled to access data which ought to be open? Is the need to make our data open taking you away from conducting new research?
  • How have research data tools impacted on your productivity? What tools do you need to work with your research data effectively?

Format:            Presentations will be 15 minutes long, with 5 minutes for questions. Depending on numbers, thematic parallel strands may be used.  Presentations will be aimed at an academic audience, but from a wide range of disciplines. Opening and closing keynote presentations will be given.

Call for proposals:

Open research data is not an end in itself, its purpose is to push research forward by making existing research data available to others so that they can build upon it and in doing so make new discoveries not even envisaged by the original data creators.

The Dealing with Data 2017 one-data conference is your opportunity to talk about how the drive towards open data is affecting your research. How do you balance competing demands for data openness with the right to privacy of research participants? Has access to open data already helped in your research, or are the demands for openness discouraging you from undertaking certain types of project?

Are new tools providing new and exciting ways to work with your data or are you struggling to find tools to help you do what you need?

This is your opportunity to tell fellow researchers how you are benefiting from, or struggling with, the ever changing research data environment.

Please send abstracts (maximum 500 words) to dealing-with-data-conference@mlist.is.ed.ac.uk before Thursday 5th October 2017.  Proposals will be reviewed and the programme compiled by Friday 3rd November 2017.

Kerry Miller
Research Data Services Coordinator
Library & University Collections

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Highlights from the RDM Programme Progress Report: November 2015 – January 2016

Data Seal of Approval have awarded DataShare Trusted Repository status; their assessment of our service can be read at https://assessment.datasealofapproval.org/assessment_175/seal/html/. In addition a major new release of DataShare was completed in November, this makes the code open in Github as well as making general improvements to the look and feel of the website.

The ‘interim’ DataVault is now in final testing and will be rolled out on a request basis to those researchers who can demonstrate an urgent need to use the service now rather than waiting until the final version is ready later this year. The phase three funding for development of the DataVault has been received from Jisc, this runs from March to August, so the final version should be ready for launch sometime after this. The project was presented at the International Digital Curation Conference in February 2016.

Over the three month period a total of 328 staff and postgraduate researchers have attended a Research Data Management (RDM) course or workshop.

Work on the MANTRA MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) was expected to be finalised in February and launched on 1st March, at the following URL: https://www.coursera.org/learn/data-management.

University of Edinburgh wrote the Working with Data section (one out of 5 weeks of the course) and with the help of the Learning, Teaching and Web division of Information Services completed two video interviews with researchers and a ‘vox pop’ video clip of clinical researchers at the EQUATOR conference in Edinburgh in autumn, 2015. The content is open source and videos can be added to our YouTube channel to help with promotion. There will be some income from this, but a smaller portion than our partner, the University of North Carolina, based on certificates of completion priced at $49 or £33.

The need to create a dataset record in PURE for each dataset published, or referenced in a publication, is now being emphasised in all Research Data Service communications, formal and informal, and to staff at all levels. Uptake is understandably low at this point but we hope to see a steady increase as researchers and support staff begin to see the benefits of adding datasets to their research profile. In the case of DataShare records, a draft mapping of fields between DataShare and PURE has been produced as a start of a plan for migrating records from DataShare to PURE.

By the end of January 2016, 69 records had been created and published on Edinburgh Research Explorer.

Four interns have been employed using funding from Jisc as part of the UK Research Data Discovery Service (UKRDDS) project which aims to create a national aggregate register of data sets.  A trial site is available at: http://ckan.data.alpha.jisc.ac.uk/. The UKRDDS interns will help to create PURE records and upload open data into DataShare, and raise awareness of RDM generally within their schools. There are currently three PhD interns in place in LLC, SOS, and Roslin, two more in LLC, & DIPM will start in February. The approach each intern takes will depend on the nature and structure of their school and will, in some cases, be mediated by research administrators.

An innovation fund grant has been received to fund the delivery of an exhibition “Pioneering Research Data”. Each college will be represented by a PhD intern, the recruitment of these has already begun and they should be in post by the end of March. The Exhibition is due to be delivered in November of this year.

National and International Engagement Activities

Robin Rice led a panel at the IPRES conference, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on 3rd November called ‘Good, better, best’? Examining the range and rationales of institutional data curation practices’.

Robin Rice had a proposal accepted for the forthcoming Force11 (2016) conference, on Overcoming Obstacles to Sharing Data about Human Subjects, building on the training course we are delivering, Working with Personal and Sensitive Data.

Kerry Miller
RDM Service Coordinator

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