First online meeting of the Research Outputs Forum (15th October 2020)

After a brief introduction from chair Martin Donnelly, who recapped the rationale for merging the former Open Access and Research Data Management forums into a single channel for communicating progress across Library Research Support to research support colleagues within the Schools and Colleges, Nik Hussin from the Research Information Systems team kicked off with a status report on the future upgrade schedule for the University’s Pure CRIS system, which records research outputs and underpins the University’s all-important REF submission.

Head of Library Research Support Dominic Tate began by talking about the new Research Publications Policy, which is in the process of being scrutinised and approved by various committees and other stakeholders. Dominic explained that the overall goals of the new policy are to make compliance with REF and funders’ Open Access policies easier for all concerned, and to empower researchers to make their own decisions about how and where to publish. Fiona Wright from the Scholarly Communications team then provided updates on publications Block Grants in light of Plan S. These come from Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. Dominic wrapped up with a brief REF update, noting that as much of the submission as possible will be done electronically, although some hard copies will still be required.

Moving on to Research Data Support, we heard from Pauline Ward about new features and improvements to the DataVault, including a larger maximum deposit size of ten terabytes, the refined and more streamlined review process, and the new ‘roles’ feature which enables, for example, a research administrator to access information about all of the deposits from their School.

Robin Rice gave a recap of progress on the Data Safe Haven, including its ISO27001 accreditation and an elucidation of the charges and cost recovery mechanism for using the Safe Haven. Finally, Martin Donnelly talked about the pros and cons of moving our previously face-to-face training online – in short, less interaction with attendees but higher levels of attendance and uptake – and gave a quick overview of the guidance resources produced by Research Data Service, such as the Quick Guides on topics such as data storage options, the FAIR principles for data, and much more.

We received positive feedback from the meeting, and will be organising the next one for early in 2021.

(Update: the Research Data Support slides from this meeting are now available here.)

Martin Donnelly
Research Data Support Manager
Library and University Collections


Research Data Training: Semester 1 2020/21

A universal truth: things are a bit weird just now. So over the past few months we have been working hard to convert our popular face-to-face training workshops for online delivery. Below you will find a list of the courses we’ve scheduled to delivery during semester 1 using Collaborate virtual classroom. Come along and join us!

Full details about each course are on our training webpage

Workshop Audience Date Time Booking Link
Writing A Data Management Plan for Your Research (RDS002) Research Staff 08 September 2020 09:30 – 11:30
Writing A Data Management Plan for Your Research (RDS002) All Staff & PGR’s 23 September 2020 10:00 – 12:00
Edinburgh DataVault: supporting users archiving their research data (RDS008) Professional Service Staff 25 September 2020 14:00 – 16:00
Realising the Benefits of Good Research Data Management (RDS001) Research Staff 29-30 September 2020 09:30 – 11:00 x 2
Realising the Benefits of Good Research Data Management (RDS001) All Staff & PGR’s 13-14 October 20 10:30 – 1200 x 2 Part 1 –,

Part 2 –

Working with Personal and Sensitive Data (RDS003) Research Staff 28 October 2020 09:30 – 11:30
Realising the Benefits of Good Research Data Management (RDS001) Research Staff 11-12 November 2020 13:30 – 15:00 x 2
Realising the Benefits of Good Research Data Management (RDS001) PhD students 01-02 December 2020 09:30 – 11:00 x 2
Working with Personal and Sensitive Data (RDS003) All Staff & PGR’s 07 December 2020 10:30 – 12:30

The following courses will not run during semester 1, but we plan to relaunch them in 2021. In the meantime if you need any support just get in touch with us via and we’ll be happy to help.

  • Data Cleaning with OpenRefine (RDS004)
  • Handling Data Using SPSS (RDS005)
  • Assessing Disclosure Risk in Quantitative Data (RDS006)
  • Assessing Data Quality in Quantitative Data (RDS007)
  • Data Mindfulness: Making the Most of your Dissertation (RDS009)
  • Introduction to Visualising Data in ArcGIS (RDS011)
  • Introduction to Visualising Data in QGIS (RDS012)

Kerry Miller
Research Data Support Officer
Library and University Collections


DataVault – larger deposits and new review process notifications

New deposit size limit: 10TB

Great news for DataVault users: you can now deposit up to a whopping ten terabytes in a single deposit in the Edinburgh DataVault! That’s five times greater than the previous deposit limit, saving you time that might have been wasted splitting your data artificially and making multiple deposits.

It’s still a good idea to divide up your data into deposits that correspond well to whatever subsets of the dataset you and your colleagues are likely to want to retrieve at any one time. That’s because you can only retrieve a single deposit in its entirety; you cannot select individual files in the deposit to retrieve. Smaller deposits are quicker to retrieve. And remember you’ll need enough space for the retrieved data to arrive in.

We’ve made some performance improvements thanks to our brilliant technical team, so depositing now goes significantly faster. Nonetheless, please bear in mind that any deposit of multiple terabytes will probably take several days to complete (depending on how many deposits are queueing and some characteristics of the fileset), because the DataVault needs time to encrypt the data and store it on the tape archives and into the cloud. Remember not to delete your original copy from your working area on DataStore until you receive our email confirming that the deposit has completed!

And you can archive as many deposits as you like into a vault, as long as you have the resources to pay the bill when we send you the eIT!

A reminder on how to structure your data:

 Ensuring good stewardship of your data through the review process

Another great feature that’s now up and running is the review process notification system, and the accompanying dashboard which allows the curators to implement decisions about retaining or deleting data.

Vault owners should receive an email when the chosen review date is six months away, seeking your involvement in the review process. The email will provide you with the information you need about when the funder’s minimum retention period (if there is one) expires, and how to access the vault. Don’t worry if you think you might have moved on by then; the system is designed to allow the University to implement good stewardship of all the data vaults, even when the Principal Investigator (PI) is no longer contactable. Our curators use a review dashboard to see all vaults whose review dates are approaching, and who the Nominated Data Managers (NDMs) are. In the absence of the Owner, the system notifies the NDMs instead. We will consult with the NDMs or the School about the vault, to ensure all deposits that should be deleted are deleted in good time, and all deposits that should be kept longer are kept safe and sound and still accessible to all authorised users.

DataVault Review Process: 

The new max. deposit size of 10 TB is equivalent to over five million images of around 2 MB each – that’s one selfie for every person in Scotland. Image: A selfie on the cliffs at Bell Hill, St Abbs
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Walter Baxter –

Pauline Ward
Research Data Support Assistant
Library & University Collections

Share trial… six months on!

We launched a trial of Enterprise in December 2019, and a lot has been achieved in the first six months.

The number of registered UoE users has increased from 121 to 217 and the number of private protocols from 36 to 106 which demonstrates a significant interest in using the platform with its additional Enterprise functionality,

We have also run a number of webinars specifically for UoE staff and students which have been well attended.

While these numbers suggest interest amongst our research community in using we have to collect better feedback before we can decide if Enterprise is to become an ongoing service provided by the University.

That is why we are now launching this short survey about which is open to all UoE research staff and students. The aim is to gather initial thoughts from our community and to identify people who may be prepared to contribute more in-depth feedback as the trial progresses.

The survey can be accessed at

To find out more about or this trial you can read this blogpost from when the trial launched:

Alternatively please visit our website, where you will also find links to all the webinars we have run:

Kerry Miller
Research Data Support Officer
Library & University Collections