Fostering open science in social science

FOSTER_logoOn 10th of June, the Data Library team ran two workshops in association with the EU Horizon 2020 project, FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research), and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.

The aim of the morning workshop, “Good practice in data management & data sharing with social research,” was to provide new entrants into the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science with a grounding in research data management using our online interactive training resource MANTRA, which covers good practice in data management and issues associated with data sharing.

The morning started with a brief presentation by Robin Rice on ‘open science’ and its meaning for the social sciences. Pauline Ward then demonstrated the importance of data management plans to ensure work is safeguarded and that data sharing is made possible. I introduced MANTRA briefly, and then Laine Ruus assigned different MANTRA units to participants and asked them to briefly go through the units and extract one or two key messages and report back to the rest of the group. After the coffee break we had another presentation on ethics, informed consent and the barriers for sharing, and we finished the morning session with a ‘Do’s and Dont’s exercise where we asked participants to write in post-it notes the things they remembered, the things they were taking with them from the workshop: green for things they should DO, and pink for those they should NOT. Here are some of the points the learners posted:

DO
– consider your usernames & passwords
– read the Data Protection Act
– check funder/institution regulations/policies
– obtain informed consent
– design a clear consent form
– give participants info about the research
– inform participants of how we will manage data
– confidentiality
– label your data with enough info to retrieve it in future
– develop a data management plan
– follow the certain policies when you re-use dataset[s] created by others
– have a clear data storage plan
– think about how & how long you will store your data
– store data in at least 3 places, in at least 2 separate locations
– backup!
– consider how/where you back up your data
– delete or archive old versions
– data preservation
– keep your data safe and secure with the help of facilities of fund bodies or university
– think about sharing
– consider sharing at all stages. Think about who will use my data next
– share data (responsibly)

DON’T
– unclear informed consent
– a sense of forcing participants to be part of research
– do not store sensitive information unless necessary
– don’t staple consent forms to de-identified data records/store them together
– take information security for granted
– assume all software will be able to handle your data
– don’t assume you will remember stuff. Document your data
– assume people understand
– disclose participants’ identity
– leave computer on
– share confidential data
– leave your laptop on the bus!
– leave your laptop on the train!
– leave your files on a train!
– don’t forget it is not just my data, it is public data
– forget to future proof

Robin Rice presenting at FOSTERing Open Science workshop

Our message was that open science will thrive when researchers:

  • organise and version their data files effectively,
  • provide comprehensive and sufficient documentation for others to understand and replicate results and thus cite the source properly
  • know how to store and transport your data safely and securely (ensuring backup and encryption)
  • understand legal and ethical requirements for managing data about human subjects
  • Recognise the importance of good research data management practice in your own context

The afternoon workshop on “Overcoming obstacles to sharing data about human subjects” built on one of the main themes introduced in the morning, with a large overlap of attendees. The ethical and regulatory issues in this area can appear daunting. However, data created from research with human subjects are valuable, and therefore are worth sharing for all the same reasons as other research data (impact, transparency, validation etc). So it was heartening to find ourselves working with a group of mostly new PhD students, keen to find ways to anonymise, aggregate, or otherwise transform their data appropriately to allow sharing.

Robin Rice introduced the Data Protection Act, as it relates to research with human subjects, and ethical considerations. Naturally, we directed our participants to MANTRA, which has detailed information on the ethical and practical issues, with specific modules on “Data protection, rights & access” and “Sharing, preservation & licensing”. Of course not all data are suitable for sharing, and there are risks to be considered.

In many cases, data can be anonymised effectively, to allow the data to be shared. Richard Welpton from the UK Data Archive shared practical information on anonymisation approaches and tools for ‘statistical disclosure control’, recommending sdcMicroGUI (a graphical interface for carrying out anonymisation techniques, which is an R package, but should require no knowledge of the R language).

DrNiamhMooreFinally Dr Niamh Moore from University of Edinburgh shared her experiences of sharing qualitative data. She spoke about the need to respect the wishes of subjects, her research gathering oral history, and the enthusiasm of many of her human subjects to be named in her research outputs, in a sense to own their own story, their own words.

Links:

Rocio von Jungenfeld & Pauline Ward
EDINA and Data Library

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Highlights from the RDM Programme Progress Report: Jan – Feb 2015

The Library and University Collections (L&UC) in association with project partner Manchester University received funding from the Jisc “Research Data Spring” programme to define and develop an open source Data Vault application which will allow data creators to describe and store data safely in one of the growing number of archival storage options. Phase 1 of the project started in March 2015.

The University of Edinburgh (UoE) were invited to contribute to a series of EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Compliance Case Studies. Stuart MacDonald, RDM Service Coordinator, was interviewed by Jisc and the DCC in relation to the RDM programme and institutional compliancy with forthcoming EPSRC research data expectations. The case study will be published on the Jisc website in May 2015.

RDM Service Coordinator Stuart MacDonald co-presented with Rory Macneil (RSpace) their practice paper “Service Integration to Enhance RDM: RSpace electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) case study” at the International Conference on Digital Curation (IDCC) in London (Feb 2015). The paper has been published in the International Journal of Digital Curation (http://www.ijdc.net/index.php/ijdc/article/view/10.1.163), open access.

The RDM Service Coordinator also presented on ‘RDM Training Initiatives @ Edinburgh’ at the “Comparing Notes: Training Librarians for Research Data Management and Open Science Support” workshop at IDCC.

An EPSRC Expectations Awareness Survey was sent out to 98 EPSRC grant holders of which 38 responded. 9** grant holders agreed to participate in a follow-up interview. The findings of the interviews will follow shortly. Dr Evamaria Krause (Marburgh University, Germany) completed a 6 week internship with L&UC where she assisted with the EPSRC Expectations Awareness Survey and EPSRC grant holder interview exercises.

All Schools in the College of Humanities and Social Science (CHSS) have now added links to RDM Programme website and other RDM pages via their intranets. RDM Project Plan deadlines and deliverables which underpin the RDM Roadmap have been updated.* For more details visit the RDM Programme wiki (some content only available to UoE staff).

Four tailored Data Management Plans sessions have been organised with research groups in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and CHSS, and two workshops for the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) conference in Edinburgh are scheduled to run in June 2015.

Edinburgh DataShare release 1.71 has been announced with new features including faceted browsing, SOLR usage statistics, size limit on assisted deposit of items increased from 5Gb to 10Gb.

DataSync (a Dropbox-like service in development) was themed and made available for beta testing to Information Services colleagues.

Links:

* IT Infrastructure input pending
** 1 PhD student who was forwarded the survey agreed to be interviewed

Stuart Macdonald
RDM Service Coordinator

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Managing data: photographs in research

In collaboration with Scholarly Communications, the Data Library participated in the workshop “Data: photographs in research” as part of a series of workshops organised by Dr Tom Allbeson and Dr Ella Chmielewska for the pilot project “Fostering Photographic Research at CHSS” supported by the College of Humanities and Social Science (CHSS) Challenge Investment Fund.

In our research support roles, Theo Andrew and I addressed issues associated with finding and using photographs from repositories, archives and collections, and the challenges of re-using photographs in research publications. Workshop attendants came from a wide range of disciplines, and were at different stages in their research careers.

First, I gave a brief intro on terminology and research data basics, and navigated through media platforms and digital repositories like Jisc Media Hub, VADS, Wellcome Trust, Europeana, Live Art Archive, Flickr Commons, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Muybridge http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a45870) – links below.

Eadweard Muybridge. 1878. The Horse in motion. Photograph.

From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

Then, Theo presented key concepts of copyright and licensing, which opened up an extensive discussion on what things researchers have to consider when re-using photographs and what institutional support researchers expect to have. Some workshop attendees shared their experience of reusing photographs from collections and archives, and discussed the challenges they face with online publications.

The last presentation tackling the basics of managing photographic research data was not delivered due to time constraints. The presentation was for researchers who produce photographic materials, however, advice on best RDM practice is relevant to any researcher independently of whether they are producing primary data or reusing secondary data. There may be another opportunity to present the remaining slides to CHSS researchers at a future workshop.

ONLINE RESOURCES

LICENSING

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New release of Research Data MANTRA (Management Training) online course

The Research Data MANTRA course is an open, online training course that provides instruction in good practice in research data management. There are nine interactive learning units on key topics such as data management planning, organising and formatting data, using shared data and licensing your own data, as well as four data handling tutorials with open datasets for use in R, SPSS, NVivo and ArcGIS.

This fourth release of MANTRA has been revised and systematically updated with new content, videos, reading lists, and interactive quizzes. Three of the data handling tutorials have been rewritten and tested for newer software versions too.

New content in the online learning modules with the September, 2014 release:

  • New video footage from previous interviewees and introducing Richard Rodger, Professor of Economic and Social History and Stephen Lawrie, Professor of Psychiatry & Neuro-Imaging
  • Big Data now in Research Data Explained
  • Data citation and ‘reproducible research’ added to Documentation and Metadata
  • Safe password practice and more on encryption in Storage and Security
  • Refined information about the DPA and IPR in Data Protection, Rights and Access
  • Linked Open Data and CC 4.0 and CC0 now covered in Sharing, Preservation & Licensing

MANTRA home pageThis release will also be more stable and more accessible due to back-end enhancements. The flow of the learning units and usability of quizzes have been improved based on testing and feedback. We have simplified our feedback form and added a four-star rating button to the home page. A YouTube playlist for each unit is available on the Data Library channel.

MANTRA was originally created with funding from Jisc and is maintained by EDINA and Data Library, a division of Information Services, University of Edinburgh. It is an integral part of the University’s Research Data Management Programme and is designed to be modular and self-paced for maximum convenience; it is a non-assessed training course targeted at postgraduate research students and early career researchers.

Data management skills enable researchers to better organise, document, store and share data, making research more reproducible and preserving it for future use. Researchers in 144 countries used MANTRA last year, which is available without registration from the website. Postgraduate training organisations in the UK, Canada, and Australia have used the Creative Commons licensed material in the Jorum repository to create their own training. The website also hosts a ‘training kit’ for librarians wishing to increase their skills in supporting Research Data Management.

Visit MANTRA and consider recommending it to your colleagues and research students this term! http://datalib.edina.ac.uk/mantra/

Usage Statistics

According to Google Analytics, the following organisation’s websites were the top ten referrers to the MANTRA website for the academic year 2013-2014 (discounting Data Library, EDINA and Information Services):

  • Institute for Academic Development, University of Edinburgh
  • LIS Links (India)
  • Digital Curation Centre
  • eScience Portal for New England Libraries at University of Massachusetts Medical Library
  • Oxford University
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA)
  • Carleton University (Canada)
  • Glasgow University
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Jisc

Social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Slideshare provided a large number of referrals; several more came from other UK institutions, and HEIs in Australia, the rest of Europe, and North America—University Library pages especially. Forty percent of sessions came  from a referring website.

Visitors to MANTRA over the year came from 144 countries. Google searches accounted for 4,000 sessions, 25% of the total. Nearly ten thousand visits were from new users (based on IP addresses) over the year from 22nd August, 2013 – 23rd August, 2014. Here is a link to a Google Analytics summary spreadsheet extracted from our account.

We expect to have more detailed usage statistics over the forthcoming year due to moving the learning units out of the authoring software (Xerte Online Toolkits) onto the main MANTRA website.

Postscript, 15 Sept: See my Storify story, “Research Data MANTRA Buzz” to find out who’s been talking about MANTRA on twitter!

Robin Rice
Data Librarian

 

 

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