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University of Edinburgh joins ICPSR for access to a wealth of datasets

The Data Library is pleased to announce it has secured access to a world-renowned data repository on behalf of the Research Data Service. The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), based at the University of Michigan, is a network of approximately 700 universities and colleges united in the acquisition, preservation, and distribution of social science data.

Staff and student researchers at the University of Edinburgh will now have access to over 10,000 American and international datasets covering an array of topics such as health and nutrition, crime reporting, youth development, election surveys, consumer attitudes and national economic indicators. ICPSR makes searching for suitable datasets easy through its Finding Data portal and provides data-related publications and resources for students.

Researchers can also take advantage of its highly regarded summer program of social science quantitative methods training, with a significant discount.

To view datasets and other resources visit https://www.icpsr.umich.edu. Many datasets are publicly available; some require registration and access from a University IP address.

Diarmuid McDonnell
EDINA and Data Library

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Introducing new support team members

Since mid-January, two new Research Data Service Assistants have joined the busy ‘virtual team’ working across divisions of Information Services to provide user support for RDM and Data Library enquiries and to quality assure DataShare submissions. You may have already come in contact with them, but a brief welcome is in order nonetheless.

Both new team members have a research background but surprisingly, from the same field and institution! Nevertheless they had not met until they arrived at our offices in Argyle House for their first day of work. Diarmuid joins us full-time, commuting daily from Glasgow, and Bob works half-time, taking advantage of a short walk from home.

mcdonnellDiarmuid McDonnell has taught a variety of research design, data management and analysis courses across a number of Scottish universities and levels. He is proficient in the use of Stata, SPSS and SAS for research and teaching purposes and is particularly experienced in the use of administrative data for social science research, which he used for his recently completed PhD thesis at Stirling University.

sandersBob Sanders recently completed his PhD at Stirling University looking at the relationship between dependency and care receipt in later life. He has extensive experience undertaking quantitative research, including the routine and advanced management and statistical analysis of large-scale longitudinal data. He is capable of conducting end-to-end data preparation, management and analysis using syntax-driven commands in Stata, with experience using other statistical software packages such as SPSS and Excel.

In addition to their repository and user support work for EDINA and Data Library, they have already made unique contributions to the service. Diarmuid has revised and taught our Data Handling in SPSS half-day workshop, as well as piloted an Introduction to Statistical Literacy workshop for Humanists. Bob has joined the Data Safe Haven development project, helping to work out operational processes and user documentation, as well as giving the online MANTRA course a thorough editing job.

Robin Rice
Data Librarian and Head, Research Data Support
EDINA and Data Library

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Data Carpentry & Software Carpentry workshops

The Research Data Service hosted back to back 2-day workshops in the Main Library this week, run by the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) to train University of Edinburgh researchers in basic data science and research computing skills.

Learners at Data Carpentry workshop

Learners at Data Carpentry workshop

Software Carpentry (SC) is a popular global initiative originating in the US, aimed at training researchers in good practice in writing, storing and sharing code. Both SC and its newer offshoot, Data Carpentry, teaches methods and tools that helps researchers makes their science reproducible. The SSI, based at Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC), organises workshops for both throughout the UK.

Martin Callaghan, University of Leeds

Martin Callaghan, University of Leeds, introduces goals of Data Carpentry workshop.

Each workshop is taught by trainers trained by the SC organisation, using proven methods of delivery, to learners using their own laptops, and with plenty of support by knowledgeable helpers. Instructors at our workshops were from Leeds and EPCC. Comments from the learners – staff and postgraduate students from a range of schools, included, ‘Variety of needs and academic activities/disciplines catered for. Useful exercies and explanations,’ and ‘Very powerful tools.’

Lessons can vary between different workshops, depending on the level of the learners and their requirements, as determined by a pre-workshop survey. The Data Carpentry workshop on Monday and Tuesday included:

  • Using spreadsheets effectively
  • OpenRefine
  • Introduction to R
  • R and visualisation
  • Databases and SQL
  • Using R with SQLite
  • Managing Research & Data Management Plans

The Software Carpentry workshop was aimed at researchers who write their own code, and covered the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Shell
  • Version Control
  • Introduction to Python
  • Using the Shell (scripts)
  • Version Control (with Github)
  • Open Science and Open Research
Software Carpentry learners

Software Carpentry learners

Clearly the workshops were valued by learners and very worthwhile. The team will consider how it can offer similar workshops in the future at a similarly low cost; your ideas welcome!

Robin Rice
EDINA and Data Library

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New MOOC! Research Data Management and Sharing

[Guest post from Dr. Helen Tibbo, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill]

The School of Information and Library Science and the Odum Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and EDINA at the University of Edinburgh are pleased to announce the forthcoming Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Research Data Management and Sharing.

CaptureThis is a collaboration of the UNC-CH CRADLE team (Curating Research Assets and Data Using Lifecycle Education) and MANTRA. CRADLE has been funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop training for both researchers and library professionals. MANTRA was designed as a prime resource for postgraduate training in research data management skills and is used by learners worldwide.

The MOOC uses the Coursera on-demand format to provide short, video-based lessons and assessments across a five-week period, but learners can proceed at their own pace. Although no formal credit is assigned for the MOOC, Statements of Accomplishment will be available to any learner who completes a course for a small fee.

The Research Data Management and Sharing MOOC will launch 1st March, 2016, and enrolment is open now. Subjects covered in the 5-week course follow the stages of any research project. They are:

  • Understanding Research Data
  • Data Management Planning
  • Working with Data
  • Sharing Data
  • Archiving Data

Dr. Helen Tibbo from the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill delivers four of the five sets of lessons, and Sarah Jones, Digital Curation Centre, delivers the University of Edinburgh-developed content in Week 3 (Working with Data). Quizzes and supplementary videos add to the learning experience, and assignments are peer reviewed by fellow learners, with questions and answers handled by peers and team teachers in the forum.

Staff from both organizations will monitor the learning forums and the peer-reviewed assignments to make sure learners are on the right track, and to watch for adjustments needed in course content.

The course is open to enrolment now, and will ‘go live’ on 1st March.
https://www.coursera.org/learn/research-data-management-and-sharing

Hashtag: #RDMSmooc

A preview of one of the supplementary videos is now available on Youtube:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhVqImna7cU

Please join us in this data adventure.
-Helen

Dr. Helen R. Tibbo, Alumni Distinguished Professor
President, 2010-2011 & Fellow, Society of American Archivists
School of Information and Library Science
201 Manning Hall, CB#3360
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360
Tel: 919-962-8063
Fax: 919-962-8071
tibbo@ils.unc.edu

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