Updated MANTRA content: Research data in context

The Research Data Support team is pleased to announce the launch of the first in a series of updates to MANTRA, the free and open online research data management training course.

The first updated module ‘Research data in context’ (previously ‘Research data explained’) is now live on the MANTRA site and provides an introduction to research data, alongside detail on the contexts in which data are generated, and the challenges presented by big data in society.

MANTRA is designed to give post-graduate students, early career researchers, and information professionals the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with research data.

Since launching in 2011, MANTRA has been through a number of significant rewrites to keep up with current trends, and over 10,000 different learners have visited MANTRA in the last academic year.

The ‘Research data in context’ module has been substantially revised in order to:

  • remove dated and obsolete content;
  • simplify and improve the readability of existing material;
  • add information on data literacy and data science.

The changes in this module include:

  • Revised pages: Introduction; Why is research data management important?; What are data?; What are research data?; Data as research output; Module Summary; Next & further reading.
  • New pages: Data in society; Data Science; Video: machine learning; Data literacy and skills.

A change log detailing all changes in this release is available on request from the Research Data Support team (data-support@ed.ac.uk).

We hope you find this update interesting and useful and welcome any feedback you may have.

Further MANTRA updates are forthcoming, focusing on FAIR data and newer data protection legislation and we will announce these in future blog posts.

Bob Sanders
Research Data Support

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New training: Assessing Data Quality and Disclosure Risk in Numeric Data

The Research Data Service, in collaboration with the UK Data Service, are running workshops on the theme ‘Assessing Data Quality and Disclosure Risk in Numeric Data’. These hands-on sessions introduce the key elements of data quality and disclosure risk, and include practical demonstrations of two tools to evaluate the quality (QAMyData) and disclosure risk (sdcMicro) of numeric research data.

Workshops will run across two days, with sessions on different days for researchers interested in social survey data (10th June) and health data (11th June).

Session 1: Assessing Data Quality in Numeric Data

This workshop will introduce the key elements of data quality assessment, including file checks, and undertaking data and metadata checks. Attendees will gain hands-on experience using QAMyData, a purpose-built configurable tool to quickly and automatically detect some of the most common problems in survey and other numeric data (SPSS, STATA, SAS & csv files).

Session 2: Assessing Disclosure Risk in Numeric Data

This workshop will provide an introduction to statistical disclosure control (SDC), covering: types of Identifiers; de-identification and anonymization; types of disclosure; SDC approaches; k-anonymity and l-diversity. The workshop introduces sdcMicro, a practical R package for measuring disclosure risk in numeric data. The session will give attendees hands-on experience using sdcMicro to assess disclosure risk and apply SDC methods to anonymize numeric data, while evaluating the balance between disclosure risk and data loss.

These sessions are available to research staff and students and can be booked using the links below:

Assessing Data Quality in Numeric Data (Social Survey Data) –                                      10th June 0930-1200, Lister Learning and Teaching Centre, Room 1.16 (Central Area)  https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=34939

Assessing Disclosure Risk in Numeric Data (Social Survey Data) –                                10th June 1330-1700, Lister Learning and Teaching Centre, Room 1.16 (Central Area) https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=34941

Assessing Data Quality in Numeric Data (Health Data) –                                                  11th June 0930-1230, Microlab 1, Chancellor’s Building (Little France) https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=34940

Assessing Disclosure Risk in Numeric Data (Health Data) –                                            11th June 1300-1700, Microlab 1, Chancellor’s Building (Little France)                                 https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=34942

Bob Sanders
Research Data Support
Library & University Collections

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Research Data MANTRA gets a refresh

Research Data MANTRA updates

MANTRA, the free online training course which provides guidelines for good practice in research data management (RDM), has recently been refreshed. The course content remains applicable to all research disciplines, and is particularly appropriate for postgraduate students and early career researchers who would like to learn more about managing their research data.

The latest release helps ensure that content from each of the eight learning modules remains up-to-date, with interactive elements across all units being revised to make them more user friendly, and new content added to some units.

Additionally, as part of the CEPAL, United Nations project some video content used within MANTRA has been translated. Claudia Vilches and Gabriela Andaur from Hernán Santa Cruz Library (Santiago, Chile) have helpfully translated several of the video interviews with research staff, and these can now be viewed with Spanish subtitles within MANTRA or on our Youtube channel, helping to widen accessibility to these training materials for researchers outside the UK. Please contact us if you wish to translate any of the MANTRA materials.

MANTRA learning units now available via Zenodo

In addition to being a free-of-charge online learning resource, all content from MANTRA is openly available for use and re-use by others. For those interested in developing their own RDM training materials based on MANTRA content, all MANTRA units (along with four sets of data handling exercises) are now available for direct download from the Zenodo repository’s RDM Open Training Materials community. The eight individual MANTRA units were created using open source software Xerte Online Toolkits and units can be imported and edited in Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) such as Moodle. All that we ask is for attribution according to our CC-BY licence.

Content from a number of shorter MANTRA ‘taster’ units is also openly available from Zenodo. These provide an overview of RDM in four very short modules which can be edited so as to add information about local RDM support services, before deploying locally in a VLE or on the Web.

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