Protocols.io trial… six months on!

We launched a trial of protocols.io 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 protocols.io we have to collect better feedback before we can decide if protocols.io Enterprise is to become an ongoing service provided by the University.

That is why we are now launching this short survey about protocols.io 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 https://edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/protocols-io-6-month-survey

To find out more about protocols.io or this trial you can read this blogpost from when the trial launched: http://datablog.is.ed.ac.uk/2019/12/13/new-research-data-management-tool-on-one-year-trial-protocols-io/

Alternatively please visit our website, where you will also find links to all the protocols.io webinars we have run: https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/research-support/research-data-service/during/open-research-tools/protocols

Kerry Miller
Research Data Support Officer
Library & University Collections

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New research data management tool on one-year trial: protocols.io

Information Services aims to offer a research data service that meets most of the data lifecycle needs of the majority of UoE researchers without interfering with their freedom to choose tools and technologies which suit their work. In some cases cloud tools that are free to individual users are offered commercially as enterprise versions, allowing groups of researchers (such as lab groups) to work together efficiently.

The service’s steering group has agreed a set of criteria to apply when a tool is put forward by a research group for adoption. The criteria were developed after our two-year trial of the electronic lab notebook software, RSpace, and have been most recently applied to protocols.io. The protocols.io trial begins this month and will run for one year. An evaluation will determine whether to continue the enterprise subscription and how to fund it.

protocols.io is an online platform for the creation, management, and sharing of research protocols or methods. Users can create new protocols within the system, or upload existing methods and digitise them. Those with access to a protocol can then update, annotate, or fork it so that it can be continually improved and developed. There is interoperability with Github and RSpace, and long-term preservation of protocols through CLOCKSS.

Users can publish their protocol(s) making them freely available for others to use and cite or, with the enterprise version, keep them private. The tool supports the Open Science / Open Research agenda by helping to ensure that methods used to produce data and publications are made available, assisting with reproducibility.

Subscribing to the University plan will allow research groups to organize their methods and ensures that knowledge is not lost as trainees graduate and postdoctoral students move on. There are currently over 70 University of Edinburgh researchers registered to use protocols.io. You may follow these instructions to move your current protocols.io account to the premium university version. For more information contact data-support@ed.ac.uk.

Kerry Miller and Robin Rice
Research Data Support team

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