Highlights from the RDM Programme Progress Report: August – October 2015

The RDM Roadmap 2.0 has been completed, approved, and published online and work has started on achieving the deliverables. A copy of the Roadmap is publicly available on the RDM webpages and can be downloaded from http://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files//uoe-rdm-roadmap_-_v2_0.pdf.

The RDM Services brochure has now been published in both paper and electronic form and is proving very popular with researchers. The electronic version can be downloaded from http://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/rdm_service_a5_booklet_0.pdf

Work on DataVault is progressing well and an interim DataVault service is now nearly complete. The Software Sustainability Institute has worked with the DataVault team to road test the interim solution, as a result some optimisations to the process were identified and are being coded up. DataVault user events have been held in both Manchester and Edinburgh, both events were well attended and the general impression of the current DataVault functionality was positive. Further, round three, funding is being sought from Jisc in December to continue this joint development effort.

Jisc has provided funding for up to nine PhD students to be employed one day per week for four months within their school. Their role will be to help researchers within their school record their research data as Datasets in the PURE system, and to direct any RDM or DMP queries to the RDM team for further support. The Dataset records in PURE will provide the Edinburgh University contribution to the national Research Data Discovery Service, this will increase the discoverability of Edinburgh data and ensure that more researchers are meeting the requirements of their research funders to make their data discoverable and reusable. Applications for the first set of three PhD student interns have been received and are currently being shortlisted, the successful applicants should be able to begin work before the end of 2015.

In October some minor questions were received about the DataShare application for Data Seal of Approval (DSA), these were responded to and DataShare has now been approved for the DSA. This is a major achievement for the entire DataShare team who have worked hard to make DataShare a Trusted Digital Repository.

Over the three month period a total of 173 staff and PGR’s have attended a RDM course or workshop, an additional 20-25 staff have attended research committee meetings or small group presentations where RDM has been on the agenda. Both regular and on demand RDM sessions (courses, workshops, & presentations) will continue to be offered and we are currently in the process of scheduling 30 courses, workshops for January to June 2016 as well as a number of presentations.

The “Data Management and Sharing” Coursera MOOC is well under way with a December launch anticipated. Sarah Jones, DCC, is our video instructor, using scripts adapted from MANTRA.

National and International Engagement Activities

10th August meeting in London with other Alan Turing Institute members to discuss RDM requirements to be provided by member institutions.

17th of August a one day RDM event was organised for Danish visitors from the University of Copenhagen to present UoE RDM services, outreach activities and ELNs.

31st August Dealing with Data conference.

7th/8th September meeting with Gottingen University to talk about digital scholarship, including RDM.

7th October DataVault engagement event at Manchester University.

29 October, Educause conference, Indianapolis. Robin Rice was on a panel with Jan Cheetham & Brianna Marshall, University of Wisconsin and Rory Macneil, RSpace: “Drivers and responses toward research data management maturity: transatlantic perspectives.

Kerry Miller

RDM Service Co-Ordinator

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Analytics platform trial

Information Services is evaluating a new collaborative platform for data-science and analytics as part of its expanding portfolio of services for researchers. We are looking for researchers with suitable problems who expect to achieve results in the one-year trial. We will be able to work closely with a small number of projects to help them get the most out of the platform, and training will be available. In addition, we encourage further researchers to use the platform with less formal support.

The Aridhia AnalytiXagility Platform

AnalytiXagility is a purpose-built, user-friendly, collaborative platform for data science and analytics. It allows your team to easily create, discuss, modify and share analyses in a single, secure system accessed conveniently through a web browser.
The platform handles routine data management tasks such as confidentiality, availability, integrity and audit, reducing time to insight and discovery. In particular, it is ideally suited for:

  • Exploring, comparing and linking structured datasets including data quality profiling
  • Supporting data management, accountability and provenance
  • Processing large datasets that do not fit in memory

Bring your team

Project members collaborate through a private workspace configured with compute, storage and analytical tools. Embedded social media tools allow teams to post and share questions, updates, comments and insights, building an active record of the research undertaken.

Bring your data

Users import their datasets using the secure and reliable file transfer mechanism, SFTP. Working files (documents, images, analysis scripts) can be uploaded directly through the web interface, and tagged for easy management and retrieval by the team.

Bring your analysis

AnalytiXagility provides an analysis platform, based on R, which can be accessed through a web browser. Combining R with an SQL database and an associated access library allows researchers to analyse their data in a faster and more scalable way than with R alone.

Generate your output

The platform supports generation of PDF reports for communication and publication using LaTeX templates, such as those provided by many leading journals, in which users can embed active analytical scripts to auto-generate images and tabular data within the report at runtime.

More information

If you are interested in participating in the trial, please email IS.Helpline@ed.ac.uk with the subject “XAP Trial”.

Further information can be found at:

Steve Thorn
Research Services
IT Infrastructure

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New data analysis and visualisation service

Statistical Analysis without Statistical Software

The Data Library now has an SDA server (Survey Documentation and Analysis), and is ready to load numeric data files for access by either University of Edinburgh users only, or ‘the world’. The University of Edinburgh SDA server is available at: http://stats.datalib.edina.ac.uk/sda/

SDA provides an interactive interface, allowing extensive data analysis with significance tests. It also offers the ability to download user-defined subsets with syntax files for further analysis on your platform of choice.

SDA can be used to teach statistics, in the classroom or via distance-learning, without having to teach syntax. It will support most statistical techniques taught in the first year or two of applied statistics. There is no need for expensive statistical packages, or long learning curves. SDA has been awarded the American Political Science Association Best Instructional Software.

For data producers concerned about disclosure control, SDA provides the capability of defining usage restrictions on a variable-by-variable basis. For example, restrictions on minimum cell sizes (weighted or unweighted), use of particular variables without being collapsed (recoded), or restrictions on particular bi- or multivariate combinations.

For data managers and those concerned about data preservation, SDA can be used to store data files in a generic, non-software dependant format (fixed-field format ASCII), and includes capability of producing the accompanying metadata in the emerging DDI-standard XML format.

Data Library staff can mount data files very quickly if they are well documented with appropriate metadata formats (eg SAS or SPSS), depending on access restrictions appertaining to the datafile. To request a datafile be made available in SDA, contact datalib@ed.ac.uk.

Laine Ruus
EDINA and Data Library

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New faces at the Data Library

We are pleased to introduce two new staff members who have joined the Data Library team.

Laine Ruus has taken up a six-month post as Assistant Data Librarian, helping out during Stuart Macdonald’s productive secondment at CISER, Cornell University. Laine has worked in data management and services since 1974, at the University of British Columbia, Svensk Nationell Datatjänst, and the University of Toronto. Laine was Secretary of IASSIST for eighteen years. She received the IASSIST Achievement award upon her retirement from the University of Toronto in 2010 and the ICPSR Flanigan Award in 2011.

She is perhaps best known for “ABSM: a selected bibliography concerning the ‘Abominable Snowman’, the Yeti, the Sasquatch, and related hominidae, pp. 316-334 in Manlike monsters on trial: early records and modern evidence, edited by Marjorie M. Halpin and Michael M. Ames. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1980.”

Pauline Ward, Data Library Assistant, will be contributing to the Data Library and Edinburgh DataShare services for University of Edinburgh students and staff, and helping to deliver new research data management services and training as part of the wider RDM programme. Pauline has a bioinformatics background, and has worked in a variety of roles from curation of the EMBL database at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton to database development (with Oracle, MySQL, Perl and Java) and sequence analysis at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology in Glasgow. She also worked more recently as a Policy Assistant at Universities Scotland.

Pauline said: “It’s great to be back in academia. I am really chuffed to be working to help researchers share their data and make the best use of others’ data. I’m really enjoying it.”

You can follow Pauline on twitter at @PaulineDataWard or check out her previous publications.

Pauline at her desk in the EDINA offices, Edinburgh

by Robin Rice and Pauline Ward
Data Library

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