Author Archives: lmhatii

Jisc MRD programme 2011-13: Outputs and Approaches

I mentioned in my last post that “[i]t’s a real challenge trying to communicate the mass and the variety of the activities that the JiscMRD projects are tackling…”. I don’t apologise for the understatement of that sentence, but I do apologise for the length of time it has taken me to get a round-up of the outputs and approaches of the second MRD programme onto some sort of public platform. In my defence, I can only say that things happened, people left, I’ve been working on other things for the Digital Curation Centre (including this) and in a few cases, it took a bit of time for some of the project outputs to be made publicly available themselves.

However, I’ve been keen to provide a round-up of who made what and where it is, so with immense thanks to all the projects, to Simon Hodson for his leadership of the programme and to my fellow EGs Jonny Tedds and Meik Poschen for being all-round good eggs – and before the delay gets any more embarrassing – here is a list of MRD02 outputs and approaches. As usual, please let me know of any corrections or updates: laura.molloy AT

Jisc MRD programme: Outputs and Approaches


Summary of outputs from the core MRD projects looking at institutional RDM support and RDM tools.

There were three projects for which the principal focus was the development of tools to assist research data management and in particular ingest and the management of metadata: C4D (Cerif 4 Datasets), PIMMS and SWORD-ARM.

Five projects, building on previous work, had as their principal objective and output the development of a pilot research data support service: these were Bristol data.bris, Open Exeter, Oxford Damaro, Manchester MiSS and Southampton DataPool.

Although this objective was shared by the other projects in the programme, the fact that they were building on less initial work means that the establishment of the ongoing service was less comprehensive.  In some cases the case for an ongoing service is still being made, but the project has at least established permanent resources; in most cases the project achieved the adoption of a research data management policy and raised RDM on the agenda for the institution.

There is evidence of some form on ongoing service at Bath, Essex, Herts, Lincoln, Leeds, Nottingham and UWE.  At Newcastle and the four participating institutions of Kaptur (Glasgow School of Art, University for the Creative Arts, University of the Arts London, Goldsmiths) the status of ongoing support is uncertain.

For an overview of many aspects of the development of institutional infrastructure by the programme (and elsewhere) see Pryor, Jones and Whyte (2013), Delivering Research Data Management Services (Facet), particularly Chapters 1-5; Chapter 7 on Southampton and Chapter 10 on the MRD Programme.

Experience gained from the programme evidence-gathering activity is also described in Whyte, Molloy, Beagrie and Houghton (2014), ‘What to measure? Towards metrics for research data management’, in Ray, Joyce M. (ed.) Research Data Management: Practical Strategies for Information Professionals (Charleston Insights Series).


Bristol, Exeter, Oxford, Manchester and Southampton

Bristol, Data.Bris

Contacts: Simon Price <simon.price AT> and Stephen Gray <Stephen.Gray AT>

Project Pages:

Note that the data.bris blog is still active:

Outputs Page:

Final Report:

The data.bris project transitioned very effectively from a project to a pilot University of Bristol service.

Ongoing RDM Service:

Launch of Service:

Monitoring Impact on Grant Applications:

RDM Guidance Pages:


RDM Introduction:

RDM Planning, including funder specific guides:

RDM Training: and in particular the ‘BootCamp’

NB: Bristol’s RDM service includes a page linking to other MRD training outputs:

Data.Bris Repository:

See Data.Bris Architecture:

University of Bristol RDM Principles:

Case Studies:

Professor Kate Robson Brown, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology:

Dr Dave Platt, Heilbronn Research Fellow, School of Mathematics:

Dr Richard Sessions, Senior Research Fellow, School of Biochemistry:

Data.Bris Benefits Report:


Exeter, Open Exeter

Contacts: Jill Evans <jill.evans AT>

Project Pages:

Project Blog:

Final Report: to be posted

Outputs Page:

New Blog for Ongoing RDM Support ‘Open Research Exeter’:

Open Access and Data Curation Team:

Exeter RDM Guidance Pages:

Summary of Outputs

Our Story

Take a look at the Storify which illustrates the Open Exeter project journey.

UoE RDM Policies

Open Exeter developed two policies on research data management for the University which have now been approved:

Open Access Research and Research Data Management Policy for Researchers

Open Access Research and Research Data Management Policy for Postgraduate Research Student

RDM Guidance for Researchers and PGRs 

PGR Survival Guide and Checklist: The project’s PGRs helped to create a Survival Guide and Checklist on research data management. The guide highlights important areas of research data management that new PGR students need to think about and provides links to useful websites.

Cloud Storage Guidance: Cloud Storage solutions such as Dropbox, Skydrive and Googledrive are useful for storing your research data and synching across devices. However, they should be used with caution, especially if you have sensitive or personal data.

Case Studies

The project produced various case studies:

1. Developing Research Data Management Policy at Research Group Level: A Case Study with the Marine Renewable Energy Group.

2. Electronic versus paper record keeping in scientific research: a case study for the Open Exeter project.

3. My Journey into Research….Beginnings: Issues Involved in Working with Human Subjects to Capture and Document Emotional Responses.

4. PhD Research and Copyright: A Personal Experience.

5. The Cricket-Tracking Project: a case study.

Training Materials

The Open Exeter team created training materials including courses which form part of the Researcher Development Programme

See also materials under Exeter Embeds.

RDM Guidance:

RDM Training:

RDM Policy Development:

Benefits of Good RDM:


Manchester, MiSS

Contacts: Mary Mcderby <Mary.Mcderby AT>, Lorraine Beard <lorraine.beard AT>

Project Pages:

Project Outputs:

The principal objective of the project was the development and implementation of a full-blown RDM service at Manchester, detailed below.

RDM Policy for University of Manchester: and as linked from MiSS

University of Manchester RDM Service: and as linked from MiSS

University of Manchester DMP Tool:

Guidance on Writing a Data Management Plan:

Research Data Storage Service:

RDM Service Implementation Timetables:


Oxford, DaMaRO

Contacts: James Wilson <james.wilson AT>

Project Pages:

Project Blog:

Like Manchester, the principle objective of the project was the transition into a full RDM support service.

Research Data Oxford:

Research Data Oxford Blog:

Oxford Tools for RDM:

DaMaRO Outputs:

RDM Induction Resources:

RDM Training Materials:

Digital Services to Support Research:

University of Oxford ‘Policy on the Management of Data and Records’:

DataFinder and DataBank Software:

DataFinder software

DataFinder provides a catalogue of metadata relating to research data outputs held in definable locations. It was developed to provide the University of Oxford with a mechanism by which it could track the research data produced by its researchers. A user interface enables researchers to search and browse for datasets already recorded in DataFinder or to contribute (or edit) metadata records. DataFinder uses OAI-PMH harvesting to automatically discover records of data held in data repositories.

The DataFinder source code and technical documentation are available from

DataReporter software

DataReporter is a semi-independent tool providing administrative information about data catalogued in an instance of DataFinder. Due to the departure of one of our developers before the end of the project this is still incomplete, but shall be endeavouring to get it to a usable level before the end of 2013.

The (incomplete) source code and documentation are available from,, and

DataBank software

Although the Damaro Project was not directly involved in developing DataBank, the data repository software that the University intends to use for its long-term data archive in the future, the close relationship between DataFinder and DataBank, including shared user interfaces and schemas, means that it is useful to list it here as an ‘indirect’ output.

Source code and documentation available from

Research Data Management Training for Science Researchers Survey

This survey helped us understand scientist’s perceived gaps in RDM expertise.

Survey results:

Associated blog post:

University of Oxford Research Data Management Survey 2012

This wide-ranging survey was conducted to help us understand RDM practices and attitudes across all four academic divisions at Oxford. It is intended to form the first installment of a longitudinal study to track changes in uptake and measure the impact of Damaro and other projects over coming years.

Survey results:

Associated blog post:

Research Data Management Training for Support Staff: a DaMaRO Project Survey

This survey was undertaken in conjunction with the University of Southampton to assess RDM training requirements of support staff:

Associated blog post:

Business Case

Research Data Management Infrastructure – A Case for Investment

Presentation to Oxford’s Research Information Management Sub-Committee (RIMSC) requesting support for the resources required by the Damaro business plans.

Damaro Business Cases

A set of five brief business cases covering: DataFinder; DataBank; Training and Support; RDM Coordination; and the Online Research Database Service (ORDS) developed by the Damaro Project to make the case for future institutional funding.

These are not yet publicly available except in the summary provided at the end of the Case for Investment.

Project Proposal

Project Plan



Survey results




Southampton, DataPool

Contacts: Wendy White <whw AT>; also ResearchData AT

Project Pages:

Project Blog:

Outputs Page:

Key achievement, like Exeter, Oxford, Manchester and Bristol was a functioning, pilot RDM Support Service with allocated liaison staff:

See also Mark L. Brown and Wendy White, ‘Case study 2: University of Southampton – a partnership approach to research data management’ in Pryor et al. (2013), Delivering research data management services: fundamentals of good practice (Facet).

DataPool Outputs


University of Southampton Research Data Management Policy

Guidance and support

Research Data Management web pages

Scott, Mark, Boardman, Richard P., Reed, Philippa A.S. and Cox, Simon J. (2012) Introducing research data. Southampton, GB, University of Southampton, 29pp.


Beale, Gareth and Pagi, Hembo (2013) Datapool Imaging Case Study: Final Report. Southampton, GB, University of Southampton, 30pp

Byatt, Dorothy and White, Wendy (2013) Research data management planning, guidance and support: a DataPool Project report. Southampton, GB, University of Southampton, 16pp

Byatt, Dorothy, De Luca, Federico, Gibbs, Harry, Patrick, Meriel, Rumsey, Sally and White, Wendy (2013) Supporting researchers with their research data management: Professional service training requirements – a DataPool project report.Southampton, GB, University of Southampton

Byatt, Dorothy, Scott, Mark, Beale, Gareth, Cox, Simon J. and White, Wendy (2013) Developing researcher skills in research data management: training for the future – a DataPool project report. Southampton, GB, University of Southampton, 15pp

Hitchcock, Steve and White, Wendy (2013) Towards research data cataloguing at Southampton using Microsoft SharePoint and EPrints: a progress report. University of Southampton

Hitchcock, Steve (2013) Collecting and archiving tweets: a DataPool case study. Southampton, GB, University of Southampton, 10pp.

White, Wendy and Brown, Mark (2013) DataPool: Engaging with our Research Data Management Policy. University of Southampton, 6pp.

White, Wendy, Byatt, Dorothy and Hitchcock, Steve (2013) DataPool: final report. University of Southampton

Wisniowski, Arkadiusz, Chivers, Martin and Whitton, Michael (2013)Integrated Modelling of European Migration Database Case Study. University of Southampton, 8pp.

Technical outputs

Data Cite DOI Registration plugin (with documentation)

Arkivum A-Stor Storage Backend plugin (with user documentation) (Updated Version released 28/06/2013; documentation)

Integrated Modelling of European Migration (IMEM) Database

EPrints data deposit implemented in Soton Service using the ReCollect plugin, developed by Research Data @Essex JISC MRD project


Byatt, Dorothy (2013) Mapping Training needs for the support team [blog]

Hitchcock, Steve (2013) Cost benefit analysis experience of Southampton research data producers [blog]


Beale, Gareth, Hitchcock, Steve, Pagi, Hembo and Boardman, Richard P. (2013) Supporting data management for 3D and raster data: lessons learned from the DataPool project. Presented at Society for Imaging Science and Technology Archiving, April 2-5 2013, Washington D.C Archiving, 9

Scott, Mark, Boardman, Richard, Reed, Philippa and Cox, Simon J (2013) Research Data Management Education for Future Curators. International Journal of Digital Curation 8(1)


Beale, Gareth (2012) DataPool 3D: surveying institutional data practice,Creative DigiFest, Oct 11 2012, Southampton

Beale, Gareth (2013) Imaging work looking at multi-disciplinary requirements and use of equipment, Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Workshop: Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations, Aston Business School, 25-26 March 2013

Byatt, Dorothy (2012) JISC DataPool Building capacity, developing skills, supporting researchers. Presentation at Demystifying Research Data: don’t be scared be prepared: A joint JIBS/RLUK event, Tuesday 17th July, Brunei Gallery at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), London.

Coles, Simon, Milsted, Andrew and White, Wendy (2013) Implementing DOIs for Data: DataPool supporting institutional service development. In,Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Workshop, Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations, Birmingham, GB

Earl, Graeme (2012) JISC DataPool, Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, 26-19 March 2012, Southampton

Earl, Graeme, Beale, Gareth, Pagi, Hembo, White, Wendy(paper) JISC DataPool: The relationship between institutional and discipline based repositories, World Archaeological Congress, Jan 13-18 2013, Jordan

Hitchcock, Steve (2012) To architect or engineer? Lessons from DataPool on building RDM repositories, RDMF9, Nov 14-15 2012, Cambridge

Scott, Mark, Boardman, Richard, Reed, Philippa,Cox, Simon J. (2013) Research Data Management Education for Future Curators, 14-16 Jan 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam

White, Wendy, Byatt, Dorothy (2012), Research Data Guidance: turning policy into practice, JISC MRD Programme Meeting, Oct 24-25 2012, Nottingham


Byatt, Dorothy, Beale, Gareth, Hitchcock, Steve, Pagi, Hembo, Scott, Mark, Cox, Simon J., Earl, Graeme and White, Wendy (2013) Working collaboratively with PhD and early career researchers: agents for change. At8th International Digital Curation Conference “Infrastructure, Intelligence, Innovation: Driving the Data Science Agenda“, Amsterdam, NL, 14 – 16 Jan 2013. 1pp

Byatt, Dorothy, Hancock, Peter, Hitchcock, Steve and White, Wendy (2011) DataPool: building capacity, developing skills, supporting researchers. At 7thInternational Digital Curation Conference “Public? Private? Personal? Navigating the Open Data Landscape“, Bristol, GB, 05 Dec 2011 – 07 Dec 2013. 1pp

Hitchcock, Steve, Byatt, Dorothy, White, Wendy (2012), DataPool: building capacity, developing skills, supporting researchers, JISC MRD Programme Meeting, Oct 24-25 2012, Nottingham

Purpose and work of the project

Original DataPool Project proposal, accepted by JISC Nov 2011


Bath, Essex, Herts, Kaptur, Lincoln, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham, UWE

Bath, Research 360

Contacts: Catherine Pink <>

Project Pages:

Outputs Page: see also deliverable list in Final Report (a significant number of deliverables were for internal consumption only).

Requirements Report

Report: to be made available.

BOS Template: to be made available.

EPSRC Roadmap

University of Bath EPSRC Roadmap:

‘University of Bath Roadmap for EPSRC : Compliance with Research Data Management Expectations’:

RDM Policy Development

Policy Development at University of Bath: report to be made available.

Policy in consideration in governance round.

Faculty-Industry RDM Case Studies for Policy Development: report to be made available.

RDM Guidance Pages

University of Bath RDM Guidance Pages:

RDM Training

University of Bath Strorage Guidelines:

‘Advice on storing University of Bath information in the cloud’:

Managing Your Research Data ‘PG skills’ training workshop:

Business Case

Main business case, confidential, but see:

Closing workshop poster: sustainability of project outputs: and

Stakeholder Benefits Analysis, ‘Benefits from Research Data Management in Universities for Industry and Not-for-Profit Research Partners’:

Benefits of RDM for REF 2014:

Report, Research Data Management and REF2014:

Data Management Planning

Note that this was a particular focus for R360 and their work was widely reused in the programme and elsewhere.


University of Bath Data Management Planning Guidance:

University of Bath Data Management Plan Template:

Writing your data management plan : University of Bath DMP template guidance:

DMP Guidance for Post-Grads

Updated postgraduate data management planning guidance:

DMP for Postgrads:

DMP Guidance for Postgrads:

DMP Guidelines for Doctoral Training Centre

To be made available.

RDM Platform

Project suffered challenges with SWORD-Sakai Integration, Sakai Development.  Reports to be made available.

Eprints integration with Hitachi Content Platform.  Report to be published.

Pilot institutional data repository.


Essex, Research Data@Essex

Contact: Veerle Van Den Eynden <>

Project Overview:

Project Outputs:

Project Blog:

Final Report:

Summary of Project Outputs

Essex Research Data repository and ReCollect app

We developed a pilot institutional research data repository, Essex Research Data, for the University of Essex, built on EPrints repository software.

Extensive in-house customisation was done to make the EPrints software – initially developed for hosting research publications – more suitable for storing and presenting research data:

In collaboration with the EPrints team at Southampton we also developed the data repository app ‘ReCollect’ for the EPrints bazaar. This app allows institutions to set up their own EPrints-based data repository with expanded metadata profile for describing research data and a redesigned data catalogue for presenting complex collections.

The repository development and ingest report describes the development rationale, the metadata profile, the ingest testing with sample data and the consultation with Essex researchers and external specialists.

Research data management policy for the University of Essex

The University of Essex Data Management Policy and route map for compliance with the EPSRC Policy Framework were developed as part of this project and published in March 2013.

A University of Essex sustainability plan for data management infrastructure was developed by the project steering group, based on the project findings and expertise gained.

Research data management support and training

Data management planning guidance has been published on the website of the University of Essex Research and Enterprise Office.

A regular programme of Research Data Management workshops takes place for University of Essex researchers as part of the University of Essex Learning and Development programme.

A staff survey was held at the University of Essex during February 2012 to examine current practices and needs at the University of Essex with regards to data management planning, data sharing and a  data repository. The report, summary results and questionnaire describe the findings of this survey, to which 13 percent of research staff responded.

Working with research hubs

A data inventory was carried out within four pilot departments to assess researchers’ data management practices, needs and expectations.

We developed a Data Inventory Form, derived from an earlier data management practices assessment carried out with research centres as part of the Archive’s DMP-ESRC project in 2011, and also based on the Data Asset Framework methodology.

The report Research Data Management at the University of Essex describes the findings of this assessment.

The four pilot departments are:

  • Biological Sciences (proteomics and bio-imaging data)
  • Essex Business School (management data)
  • Language and Linguistics (second language acquisition and socio-linguistics data)
  • Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (artificial intelligence data)

Events and presentations

25 – 26 March 2013, JISC Managing Rearch Data Programme Workshop: achievements, challenges and recommendations, Aston Business School

Research Data @Essex final poster

Research Data @Essex presentation

14-17 January 2013, Research Data @Essex poster, 8th International Digital Curation Conference

24 October 2012, JISC Managing Research Data Programme meeting, Nottingham

Research Data @Essex poster

Data Management Planning presentation

Triage presentation

Repository presentation

Metadata presentation

13 July 2012, Opening up research data at Essex: experiments with EPrints, EPrints User Group, OR2012, Edinburgh

21 May 2012, Research Data @Essex presentation, DCC Roadshow, Imperial College, London

13 December 2011, Research Data @Essex presentation, Research Data Managers’ Forum, University of Essex

1 December 2011, Research Data @Essex poster, JISC Managing Research Data Programme launch


Herts, RDTK (Research Data Toolkit)

Contact: William J Worthington <w.j.worthington AT>

Project Pages:

Draft Final Report: and

Post Project Roundup:

Herts RDM Guidance Pages: this was the major output and comprises very comprehensive guidance pages.

Research Data Assets Survey:

Survey Results: and and

Summary of Herts RDM Policy:

RDM Case Studies:

See Final Report Deliverables list for numerous discussions of RDM challenges.

Use of Hybrid Cloud Services:

Review of cloud storage services: features, costs, issues for HE:

Files in the cloud:

Files transfer rate tests:

Analysis of barriers to use of local networked storage:

Hybrid-Cloud model: when the cloud works and the attraction of Dropbox et al.:

Hybrid-Cloud example: Zendto on Rackspace, integrated with local systems:

UH file exchange:


Cost of ad-hoc storage:

Cost of data loss event:

Storage Allocation Workflow

Request ‘Research Storage’ Form:

Research Grant and Storage Process:

Request ‘Research Storage’ Workflow:

Data Licenses:

Comparison of data licenses, blog:

Comparison of data licenses, report:



Contact: Leigh Garrett <lgarrett AT>

Project Website:

Outputs Page:

Final Report:

Requirements Analysis:

Environmental Assessment report and methodology available here:

Policy Development

Research Data Management Discussion paper:

Research data management policies for four partner institutions: Available from:

University of the Arts London:

Goldsmiths University:

University for the Creative Arts: and

Glasgow School of Art:


Training Plan:

Training Workshops:

Training Materials

Xerte Toolkit for Researchers:

Xerte Toolkit DMPs:

Xerte Toolkit for Visual Arts Data Managers:

Technical Support

Technical Analysis report:

Demonstrator Systems:




IT Costs Model:

(N.B. report includes link to the spreadsheet which is available on VADS site)

Business Plan Template:

Institutional and Technical Case Studies:


Glasgow School of Art:



Technical Case Study:

End of Project Conference:


Leeds, Roadmap

Contact: Rachel Proudfoot <R.E.Proudfoot AT>

Project Website:

Project Blog (ongoing):

Ongoing Research Data Activity Home:

Project Documentation

The RoaDMaP project bid (PDF download) – bid as submitted to JISC in July 2011

RoaDMaP Project Plan (PDF download) – March 2012

RoaDMaP Work Packages (PDF download) – March 2012

RoaDMaP Project Information Sheet and Consent Form (Word doc) – June 2012 – required as part of gaining ethical clearance for RoaDMaP at the University

RoaDMaP Benefits Report (draft)- July 2013

RoaDMaP Final Report (draft) – July 2013

Project outputs

University RDM policy

▪     University of Leeds Research Data Management Policy (July 2012)

▪     University of Leeds Research Data Management Policy Background – link to drafts and feedback

▪     Research data website – information to support the RDM Policy and good RDM practice.

Requirements analysis

▪     Research Data Survey Report (Excel)

▪     Research Data Survey questions

▪     Questions for a semi-structured interview with RoaDMaP case study projects

RDM Case Studies

  1. Timescapes Case Study Report (Sociology). 
Timescapes blog posts by Professor Bren Neale – Timescapes: Archiving and sharing Qualitative Longitudinal data ; Timescapes: Archiving and sharing Qualitative Longitudinal data – Part 2 (response to Simon Hodson)
  2. Music Case Study Report (music of Trevor Jones)
  3. Engineering Case Study Report (SpineFx)

Data management planning

▪     Data Management Planning Report

▪     DMPOnline plan formatting (blog post)

▪     DMPOnline developments (blog post)

Software systems and metadata

▪     Research data repository functional requirements (working draft)

Virtualised storage

▪     Test objectives for virtualised storage

▪     Virtualised storage report

Training / people

▪     Pilot training with Engineers – presentation, handbook and feedback

▪     Pilot training with Social Scientists – presentation, handbook and feedback

▪     Training with Research Support Staff – presentations and feedback

▪     Training with Pre-award Support Staff – presentations and feedback

▪     Perspectives on Research Data Management- 24th May 2012 – presentations and blog posts

▪     Training Working Group Aims and Membership

▪     List of the main training and awareness activities undertaken by RoaDMaP.

Interim Funding (Aug 2013- July 2014)

▪     Paper to senior University management to secure post-project funding for further service development


Lincoln, Orbital

Contacts: Joss Winn <jwinn AT>, Paul Stainthorpe <pstainthorp AT>

Project Website:

Outputs Page:

Final Report:

Requirements Analysis: An initial requirements analysis was created. The project team met with researchers in the School of Engineer every two weeks throughout much of the project. Two early Case Studies were written:

Implementation Plan: An Implementation Plan for the technical infrastructure was produced. This included a Technical Specification, Literature Review, Data Assets Framework survey results, and a draft RDM Policy.

Development and implementation of a pilot OAIS technical infrastructure for research data: A discussion of Orbital and the OAIS reference model was posted to the website:

Documented open source licensed code for Orbital Bridge ‘Researcher Dashboard’ Application: [current]

Orbital Researcher Dashboard: ; see

Blog Posts on Development of Orbital Bridge Researcher Dashboard: Orbital Bridge See also Orbital deposit workflow Datacite workflow

The use of CKAN by Orbital was very influential and Orbital led on a CKAN for RDM workshop held in Feb 2013: See also: Hello CKAN Choosing CKAN for research data management

For trial and uptake of CKAN by MRD Projects see:

Paper, ‘Open Data and the Academy: An Evaluation of CKAN for Research Data Management’: and

Lincoln CKAN instance:

Lincoln ePrints, used for dataset metadata:

Guidance, Policies and Training

Researcher Guidance, Research Tools:

‘Policies Affecting Your Research’:

Guidance and Training Materials:

University of Lincoln Research Data Policy:

Business Plan for Further Development of Project Outputs:


Newcastle, Iridium

Contact: Janet Wheeler <janet.wheeler AT>

Project Pages:

Project Blog:

Outputs Page:

Final Report:

Newcastle RDM Guidance Site:

RDM support materials

iridium external RDM support/training materials review (External support review (xls))

iridium stakeholders HFI mapping

iridium research data management plan template and guidance

iridium Newcastle context DMPonline (v3) guidance

iridium research data management support website

RDM tools development

iridium research data catalogue specification

iridium research data catalogue user testing

iridium e-Science Central SWORD specification

iridium SWORD endpoint within e-Science Central (Sourceforge) Test Data

iridium CKAN case study

iridium CKAN Java Client code base (Github)

iridium DMPonline (v3) external tool evaluation

iridium external RDM tools assessment

Policy development

iridium DRAFT policy principles and code of good practice (archived 10 December 2012) (see institutional RES policy page for most recent version)

Requirements gathering

iridium online survey report v2.2 (summary)

iridium online survey report v2.1

iridium interview thematic analysis (summary) v1

iridium interview thematic analysis v1

iridium RDM requirements interview questions (example main questions)

Online survey PDF form (v7d)


Nottingham, Admire

Contact: Tom Parsons <Thomas.Parsons AT> and Bill Hubbard <Bill.Hubbard AT>

Project Pages:

Project Blog:

Outputs Page:

Final Report: to be posted.

University of Nottingham RDM Guidance Site:

Project Management and planning

ADMIRe Project Plan Public May 2013

ADMIRe – Nottingham Project Office Plan and Scope 2012-13

Evaluation and Benefits

ADMIRe Benefits Management Plan

JISC ADMIRe Benefits and Metrics Report

RDM Policies

The University of Nottingham Research Data Management Policy

ADMIRe RDM Policy Requirements Review

Research Data Repositories Strategy

ADMIRe RDM Repository Strategy Requirements

RDM Human Infrastructure and Support Service

Research Data Management website

RDM Human Infrastructure and Skills

RDM Training Paper

RDM roles and skills

RDM Business Case Documents

ADMIRe RDM Business Case Steering Group Slide Pack

ADMIRE Supporting Research Data Management at the University of Nottingham Discussion Paper

RDM Technical Infrastructure

  1. ADMIRe RDM Technical Requirements Report
  2. ADMIRe RDM Requirements Catalogue
  3. RDM Use Case Focus Groups Format
  4. Faculty based research data management use cases:
  1. ADMIRe Research Data Management Metadata Schema
  2. ADMIRe RDM Process Model and Use Case Analysis
  3. ADMIRe DMP Online Analysis
  4. ADMIRe EQUELLA Research Data Repository Pilot
  5. ADMIRe BPM Metastorm Data Catalogue Development

RDM Pilots

  1. Pilot identification – ADMIRe The University of Nottingham Pilots
  2. Faculty of Arts – ADMIRe Faculty of Arts Data Licences Pilot
  3. Faculty of Engineering – ADMIRe Faculty of Engineering Storage Pilot
  4. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences – ADMIRe Faculty of MHS DAF Pilot
  5. Faculty of Science – ADMIRe Faculty of Sciences Metadata Pilot
  6. Faculty of Social Sciences RDM Training Pilot – ADMIRe Graduate School MANTRA Pilot

Communications plans and promotional material

  1. Nottingham RDM Communications Plan March 2013 (post-ADMIRe)
  2. Nottingham RDM Flyer (web format)
  3. Nottingham RDM Postcard – Print Ready
  4. Nottingham RDM Pull Up Banner

End of project report

ADMIRe JISC end of project report

Conference Papers

Creating a Research Data Management Service –  IDCC 2013, Dr Thomas Parsons, University of Nottingham


UWE, MRD Pilot

Contacts: Jennifer Crossley <Jennifer.Crossley AT>; Liz Holliday <liz.holliday AT> (Stella Fowler and Judith Stewart have moved on).

Project Pages:

Outputs Page:

This project was funded at less than half of the Jisc contribution of others in the programme.  As a result of great enthusiasm and hard work, the team punched considerably above its weight in terms of outputs and programme engagement.

Final Report:

Final Report Executive Summary:

University Library RDM Pages: and

WP1 & 2 Case Study on Understanding UWE Requirements:

UWE RDM administrative infrastructure:

EPrints Requirements:

Guidance and Training Needs:

Target Operating Model:

WP3: Developing a Service

Metadata Development and ePrints Customisation:

Draft Institutional RDM Policy Principles:

WP4: Developing Online Guidance

Guidance and Training Needs:

Guidance and Training Structure:

UWE Online Guidance:

Raising your ReDMan: Approaches to Research Data Management Conference:

Reskilling for Research Data Management: A Workshop for Academic Librarians:




C4D (Cerif for Datasets)

Contacts: Valerie McCutcheon <valerie.mccutcheon AT>, Anna Clements <akc AT> and Kevin Ginty <gintyk AT>

Project Pages:

Deliverables Page:

The first part of this project (WPs 2-4) looked at how Cerif could be adapted to accommodate information about datasets.  The second part (WP5), sought to implement this and other aspects of RDM at Glasgow and St. Andrews.

RDM at Glasgow (also Incremental Project), includes draft RDM Policy:

RDM at St Andrews (DCC institutional Engagement): and

Final Report:

WP2: Metadata Process Definition:

D2.1_Metadata_Ontology Final:

D2.2_Taxonomy_Definition Final:

WP3: Repository Interface Definition

D3.1_Ontology_Upload_Requirements Final:


WP4: Extension of Existing Platforms

D4.1 Interim C4D system –

D4.2 Final C4D system –

WP5: Deployment Planning and Costing

D5.3_Institutional_Research_Data_Management_Policy_Proposals Final:

D5.4_Guidance_notes_for_researchers Final:


Workshop Reports:


Reading, PIMMS (Portable Infrastructure for the Metafor Metadata System)

Contacts: Charlotte Pascoe <charlotte.pascoe AT>

Project Pages:

Project Blog:

Final Report: to be posted.

Key output was the functioning PIMMS metadata manager for climate science

PIMMS on Github:

PIMMS as centralised web service:

Presentation at European Geophysical Union Conference:


York, Sword-Arm

Contacts: Julian Richards <julian.richards AT> and Catherine Hardman <catherine.hardman AT>

Project Pages:

Project Blog:

The principal output of this project was development, rollout and cost-benefits work around the ADS Easy Archive System

Outputs Page: to be created.

Final Report: to be posted.


We have created an online system for the upload of small to medium sized archaeological archives. It can be seen at:

Blog posts   

Blog post have been written at important stages of the project, they can be seen at


Moore, R; C Hardman; J Richards and L Xia forthcoming ‘ADS easy: an automated e-archiving system for Archaeology’. In CAA 2012: Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA), Southampton, England. G Earl, et. al (eds.). Amsterdam University Press (forthcoming)

Conference attendance

Members of the SWORD-ARM project were amongst ADS staff who attended the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) annual conference at the Aston Conference Centre in Birmingham in April. We had the opportunity to display our new poster on the ADS stand and talk to many of the delegates about the plans to roll out the ADS-easy system to the community in June 2013. We were also able to incorporate information about the system, and how it will work, in to a specific IfA training workshop on digital archiving. Initial feedback from those at the training workshop was really positive; but interestingly the attendees quickly identified that the requirement for archiving should ideally be enforced through either the planning brief or museum deposition requirements.

SWORD-ARM presentation from the MRD meeting in Nottingham October 2012:

A SWORD-ARM presentation about Benefits and Evidence from the project given at a JISC workshop in Bristol November 2012:


Please let me have any updates or corrections by email to laura.molloy AT, particularly if your project has outputs listed here as ‘to be made available’, which are now available.  Thanks!

For which RDM activities will UK research funders pay?

Much RDM activity has been stimulated by requirements and expectations emerging from the main UK research funders, as usefully described in the DCC’s funder policy table.  But do funders understand what they are really asking researchers and institutions to do with their data, and how much sustainable research data management activities actually cost?  The April 2013 DCC Research Data Management Forum was a free and timely opportunity for Jisc MRD projects, DCC Institutional Engagement partners and other interested people to directly quiz representatives of some of the main UK research funders.  Graham Pryor of the DCC has written a blogpost over at the DCC website, which lays out the day’s discussion and provides funders’ responses to queries about RDM costs.

For me, some of the main take-home messages included:

–          More cooperation and standardisation across research funder guidance to bidders, policy and guidance to peer review panel members would be sensible and useful for the sector as a whole.  That is to say, harmonisation of language, approach and policy would benefit bidding researchers and their institutions but would also help funders work in a more effective and interoperable way, which has to be advantageous to them too.

–          Collaborative measures by HEIs and researchers should be considered.  Who else in your area would be a good partner?  Not just for a research bid, but for shared services such as storage?  Can you achieve an economy of scale by partnering with another institution in your geographical or research area?

–          Use of existing tools and services should be considered as a priority: HEI doing their own development should be a last resort.  Anthony Beitz, amongst others, has argued this persuasively before.  Initiatives like the DCC can help with suggestions and descriptions of tools.

–          We need to move forward with pragmatic measures for what researchers need right now, whilst not losing sight of modelling longer-term sustainable strategies.

So far, so sensible.  But a take-home worry for me was the importance placed again and again by funders on the key role of the peer review panel.  We don’t know how AHRC or ESRC deal with this because neither of them were present, but the funders who were there rely on their peer review panels to make decisions about ‘the science’ (for which I mentally substitute ‘the research’) and also, in the case of most of the funders present, the data management plan or statement.

Given that we who work solely and only on research data management, digital curation and digital preservation as our fields of interest are still in the process of working this stuff out, how do we know whether the peer review panel members have sufficient and appropriate knowledge of these fields to responsibly discharge their duty when judging the RDM plans of other researchers?  One funder explained that they expect a DMP to be in place at the point of bidding but that these are not peer reviewed “because peer reviewers are unlikely to have the knowledge required.”  What of the other funders?  It strikes me that knowing the limits of panel expertise – the ‘known unknowns’ – is by far the most responsible approach to any type of peer review process.

In addition to quality or level of knowledge, I’m also interested in consistency of standards applied.  One funder openly admitted on the day that he is aware that there is a troubling amount of variability in the approach to both the creation and assessment of data management plans in bids.  Other comments indicated that some bids have their data management plans or statements specifically reviewed and some don’t.

Peer review panels are largely comprised of senior researchers (by which I mean time in the field as opposed to age).  The Jisc MRD programme, like many other initiatives, often focuses training and awareness-raising efforts on early career researchers and postgraduate students, with the idea being that they will take their good practice up with them through their academic careers.  But what do we do until then?  Even if we can rely on current ECRs and PGs to be well and consistently trained, we’re still in a situation where all bidding, for the next twenty-odd years is being reviewed by senior researchers who have not been specifically targetted by RDM training and awareness-raising efforts.

A solution?  As fellow evidence gatherer Jonathan Tedds suggested in the discussion, we can learn from areas such as bidding for telescope time in astronomy, where peer review necessarily includes someone who is specifically there to provide their technical knowledge.  For consistency, research funders seem to need the presence of or input from an appropriate external body.  So this seems to be an area where the DCC and research funders can work together, for example, to produce consistent and approachable, up-to-date guidance for peer review panel members, and to ensure someone who specialises in digital curation as applied to research data management is included in their peer review panels.

Just my suggestions.  Your comments are, as always, welcome below.

Laura Molloy

e: laura.molloy AT

Jisc MRD project materials: use and reuse for RDM training

The Jisc MRD programme has been working with the Digital Curation Centre throughout the life of the programme and this relationship is fruitful in several directions.  One of the most gratifying, however, is seeing the outputs of the programme being used and re-used in DCC training events.

Sarah Jones and Marieke Guy from the DCC were in Northampton this week, working alongside Miggie Pickton to offer training to librarians in research data management.  They used the excellent UK Data Archive ‘Managing and Sharing Data’ guide as well as outputs from Jisc MRD projects including ADMIRe, MANTRA, Research360, RDMRose, RoaDMaP and TraD.

Please see the training event slides here:

and the supporting workbook here:

These are of course Creative Commons-licensed to allow use and re-use as specified.

Sarah has also blogged on the DCC website about the day, with some tips for what works well, at

Have you re-used Jisc MRD project materials (even your own) or any other training materials in your own events?  What worked and what didn’t?  Let us know in the comments!

Laura Molloy

e: laura.molloy AT

Achievements, Challenges, Recommendations workshop: RDM Train (3B)

For a full and useful summary of the RDM Train session (also known as session 3B) at the Jisc MRD ‘Achievements..’ workshop on 25-26 March, please see this blogpost from Kellie Snow over at the DaMSSI-ABC blog:


Achievements, Challenges, Recommendations workshop: RDM support & guidance (1B)

Here at the JiscMRD Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations workshop, Joy Davidson (HATII and the DCC) chaired session 1B on research data management support and guidance.  Jez Cope (Research360 at Bath), Rachel Proudfoot (RoaDMaP at Leeds), Hannah Lloyd-Jones of Open Exeter and Anne Spalding (stepping into Leigh Garrett’s shoes for the KAPTUR project at UCA) all shared their experiences of developing tailored advice and guidance for their host institutions and / or target disciplines.

Jez described very clearly how the Research360 project went about the formulation and production of their resource, finding very similar challenges and solutions to those noted by e.g. the Incremental project in MRD01, including the usefulness of some fundamental but often overlooked details such as placing the resource as high in the university website architecture as possible (theirs is at which helps to ensure the resource is not seen as partisan to one discipline or service over others; and listing in website A-Z directories under something meaningful and findable to users (in their case ‘R’ for ‘research’ and ‘D’ for ‘data’ as opposed to their project acronym).

Usability also extends into the layout on the homepage, where content can be accessed via a menu of RDM topics (for those with a bit of RDM knowledge) or by project phase for those with less RDM knowledge.

Jez noted that much of his role has been to work as a translator between technical and non-technical people.  Rachel Proudfoot is also bringing together different staff groups: RoaDMaP work draws on a working group containing key contacts from varied services and areas of the university including the university training service, IT services, the library and faculties.  Rachel’s experience is that this approach not only provides an essential mix of expertise to inform your outputs, but also gives you access to new channels for administration and promotion of training events and awareness-raising efforts.  Rachel was pragmatic about re-purposing existing training resources already created at Leeds, e.g. made for one discipline and re-used for another.  Whilst Jez was clear that getting material from other people at the institution always takes longer than even the most generous estimate, in Rachel’s experience reusing one’s own materials can be tricky too.

The Open Exeter project has been remarkable for their use of a group of PGR students from varied disciplines as active participants in project work where, for a fee (and an iPad!) they have functioned as the face of the project at university events and across their peer group.  The group members have also supplied responses and feedback to various project outputs and so helped to make sure guidance and events are relevant and meaningful to this group of researchers, and produced a ‘survival guide’ for distribution at induction which helps to make the case for RDM to newly-arrived PGRs.  In this way, they have made the work of the project a lot more visible through peer-to-peer and student-to-supervisor (!) education about RDM at Exeter.  They also contributed better understanding of the needs of active researchers in a way that was more practical in terms of time and cost than trying to work with more senior researchers. The students in turn have new knowledge of and skills in RDM, have received specialised help from the university and external experts and have a new element to add to their academic CV. This fruitful relationship has contributed much to Open Exeter’s online guidance resources: due to the varied disciplines represented by the PGRs, their case studies and other contributions are truly central to the webpage at

Another fruitful relationship was described by Anne Spalding in the last presentation in the session, a description of the KAPTUR project.  KAPTUR has a fairly unusual challenge of involving four creative arts-focused academic institutions on a common quest to understand and manage research data in the visual arts.  Anne noted that this is a discipline-area with particular challenges around the definition of what constitutes research data – an ongoing area of work for the project.  She also noted that project work, as with other projects such as Open Exeter’s DAF survey, was built upon the findings of surveys of researchers to understand current data-related practice.  As with the other projects of this group, a range of areas of the institution were involved; in this case libraries, training services and others were asked to feed into policy formation and UCA had their data policy passed by senior management in February 2013.  Anne was clear that this policy will operate as a framework for further RDM infrastructure development work.

When discussing areas for future work, Joy and Rachel both agreed on the need for us to now consider how we extend capacity for RDM training in the institution.  There are relatively few with the skills and the confidence to train others in RDM: we need to train more trainers and extend the network of expertise at the institution, particularly in cases where the Jisc MRD project is not assured of continuation funding from their host HEI.  A useful idea at Leeds was inviting the DCC to attend – not to provide a training session but to critique the session presented by the project: this is an effective way to instil confidence and skill in RDM training at the institution, and can be extended by thoughtful deployment of the openly-available training and guidance resources already produced by the MRD programme.

Here are some of my thoughts from this session:

– The more you can find out about your audience beforehand, the better tailored (= more meaningful = more effective) your training can be, so get those pre-event questionnaires out and completed!

– Re-use of existing resources is possible and can be successful but may still need some effort and time to do well.  So whilst it’s worth while using the expertise of others, and always looks good to demonstrate awareness of the relevant resources that already exist, don’t do it simply be a short cut or a time-saver.

– Training cohorts of new researchers is good and well but we now need to start planning to train more senior academics.  They are the ones that allow RAs, postdocs and students to go off to training (or not); they are providing training recommendations to the students they supervise; they are the ones sitting on funder selection boards and ethics panels.  They need to be up to date on RDM, at least in their own discipline areas, and to be aware of what they don’t know.

Laura Molloy
e: laura.molloy AT

Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Workshop: Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations, 25-26 March 2013, Aston Business School

The Jisc MRD Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations workshop is about recognising the achievements – both in scale and quality – of the projects of the second Jisc Managing Research Data programme (2011-13).  The programme’s large infrastructure projects will complete during spring – summer 2013 and so at this point we are starting to see real delivery from many of them.  At the same time, there is still space for sharing good practice and recommending approaches for meeting challenges as well as for areas which need additional work.

The event programme is available at, and we’ll be posting summaries of sessions and highlights here on the EG blog.

Goportis Conference 2013: Non-Textual Information: Strategy and Innovation Beyond Text

The Goportis Conference 2013 on ‘Non-Textual Information: Strategy and Innovation Beyond Text’ took place on 18-19 March 2013 in Hannover.  A programme with abstracts and speaker biographies is available at  This gives an idea of the number and variety of speakers: some of my highlights are outlined here, and you can get more narrative on Twitter by searching for the event’s tag, #goportis13.

The event began with a keynote by Martin Hofmann-Apitius of the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI), who passionately argued for better access to scientific data for the good of science, particularly for public health.  This need is demonstrated by the rapidly-increasing occurence of Alzheimer’s disease in the west – to tackle such huge challenges, we urgently need to be able to undertake text mining and data mining to produce useful, computable chemical information for science to advance.  He particularly identified the current publishing model in research as ‘problematic’, describing the existing business model of many publishers as something that ‘interferes with the advancement of science’.  Martin is convinced that the days of the static publication are numbered, and in the future scientific communication will be done by knowledge models and other non-static means.

Jan Brase, Datacite then gave an overview of the Datacite work in promoting citability of data.  Jan believes that libraries should open their catalogues to any kind of information. The catalogue has classically been a window onto the holdings, but now the library doesn’t have to hold all the records they present.  In the future, Brase predicted, libraries will function more as a portal in a net of trusted providers, drawing on their long heritage in bringing scientific information to the public, their track record of persisting longer than projects and other departments of the institution, and their reputation as very trustworthy organisations.  Yet more love for the libraries!  Now all we need to do is fund them to take on these new responsibilities and acquire the concomitant skills…

Todd Carpenter, American National Information Standard Organisation (NISO) stirred up some debate by suggesting that perhaps we need to be more discriminating in selecting different metadata structures for different things.  He referred to the use of DOIs ‘for just about everything: books, articles, data, content negotiation and licensing.  We don’t apply an ISBN to people.  We don’t use taxpayer numbers for addresses.  Are we pushing the DOI beyond its limits?  Should we call what Datacite is doing with DOIs something different than, for example, what the CrossRef community is doing?’

Todd also outlined a project undertaken by NISO and the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS) which looks at the current publication of supplementary materials and how publishers are dealing with these.  What is critical / supplemental / ancillary to understanding?  Todd made a straightforward but fundamental point that the form of content does not designate whether something integral to understanding, e.g. just because one part of the research publication is a paper and one is a video, that doesn’t necesarily mean that the paper should be regarded as the main publication and the video as supplementary material – it could quite easily be the other way around, and this chimed with one of the trends of today’s event, namely that publishing needs to change from the static paper to more flexible, interactive and repurposable models.

Jill Cousins, Europeana Foundation / The European Library moved focus slightly more onto humanities and arts research with her update on work at Europeana, the access provided to 27m resources (which are not held by Europeana itself; rather, they provide the metadata to enhance findability) and the challenges of getting the metadata for 27m objects across Europe to be available under CC0 licensing!  Jill was also keen to discuss new initiative Europeana Research which will soon be available at

Creative Commons licensing is important to the work of the Jisc MRD projects, particularly those making training resources for use and re-use.  It was useful to hear Puneet Kishor of Creative Commons reporting on the new license suite, 4.0, and the differences between this and the previous suite of licences including licensing of European sui generis database rights (SGDR).  The new 4.0 licences are to be launched in the second quarter of 2013 – right now, though, you can contribute your thoughts at -and Puneet particularly wants to hear from scientists.

Brian McMahon of the International Union of Crystallography is, I think, quite chuffed that crystallographers are generally considered to be really, really good at research data managementnot least by Richard Kidd of the Royal Society of Chemistry – but feels it is still important for those in the field to keep their skills current and contributing to the advancement of science.  This was another talk presenting ways to extend the functionality and interactivity of the scientific publication, as Brian outlined the publishing work by IUCR and ways of modelling crystal structures as non-textual information in publications.

I had the last talk of the event, presenting the work of the Jisc Managing Research Data programme.  It’s a real challenge trying to communicate the mass and the variety of the activities that the JiscMRD projects are tackling, and to delineate the difference between the programme-level work and that of the individual projects, but I did my best.  I described the landscape and drivers which stimulate programme activity, the structure of the programme, some lessons learned from phase 1 which have been applied to phase 2, and the fearlessness of projects in tackling tricky aims such as improving institution-specific awareness, devising and delivering discipline-specific training, analysing and enhancing current RDM infrastructure provision, implementing or extending data repository provision, attempting to cost data loss, and generally sorting out the world.  I also described various key resources provided by MRD projects and the Digital Curation Centre.  I then had the pleasure of Goportis’s Klaus Tochtermann describing UK RDM activity as ‘the most advanced in Europe’ – so I think we’re doing something right!

You’ll see from the Twitter feed (#goportis13) that there were many more talks which discussed particular applications of non-textual information in a range of disciplines – far more information than can sit comfortably in a blog post, so please have a look.  The slide decks will be available from the conference website in the near future – I’ll tweet when I’m aware of this having happened.

Do you agree we need new publishing paradigms?  How could your discipline benefit from non-textual research communication?  Want to know more about any of the projects mentioned above?  Let us know in the comments!


E: laura.molloy AT


New year, new IDCC

A very happy new year to all on the MRD programme and all ‘fellow travellers’!  2013 has started with a shot of energy provided by IDCC 2013, which took place in the deliciously-named Mövenpick hotel in Amsterdam last week (14 – 17 Jan).

A lot of the twitter stream (#IDCC13) agreed that there was a huge amount of information and opinion to download.  This frenetic pace was encouraged by the practice papers taking place in slots that allowed only ten minutes to talk!  A great opportunity to really work on honing those high-level messages, then.

It was very encouraging to see representatives of so many Jisc MRD projects there, and I hope those who were in the ‘National perspectives in research data management’ track found the talks Simon Hodson and I did on the programme as a whole and on the evidence-gathering activity to be useful.  One slight disappointment was having the “National perspectives” track running at the same time as the “Institutional research data management” track: the MRD programme connects institutional approaches and happens to work across the UK, so whilst we weren’t entirely out of place in the “National” track, we probably missed out on some relevant audience.  No matter: if you missed either talk and are interested in seeing the slides, the presentation about the MRD programme as a whole is here; and the talk on the evidence gathering activity is here.  Your feedback or questions are of course welcome.

One of the things the MRD programme has been – and I hope continues to be – very good at is making stuff available to other people.  In his IDCC preview blog post, Kevin Ashley said,

“Overall, I would like everyone to come away aware of the potential for reuse of the work that others are doing and the potential for collaboration. Whether it is software tools, training materials, methodologies or analyses, many of the talks describe things that others can use to deal with data curation issues in their own research group, institution or national setting.”

This is what we as a programme, along with other organisations and activities, do.  Various pieces of work across the MRD programme with the DCC Cardio tool have inspired other projects and areas of the programme; the same applies to those who have tailored the DCC DMPonline tool, and we encourage all such innovations to be made available to provide examples and ideas for others.  In addition, however, the MRD programme has a strand (both in MRD01 and in the current iteration of the programme) specifically involved in creating training materials for research data management, aimed at particular audiences.  These are really valuable resources and have been created to be used and re-used in an open and flexible way.

I was asked so many times throughout the event where these materials can be found, that I thought it was worth listing them here.  The links given lead directly to teaching resources; background information on the projects can be found here:

(Unfortunately the website for the DMTpsych project at University of York is no longer online.  As the project has not deposited its resources into Jorum either, I can’t supply a link.)

There are more training resources in production at the moment: you can read more about them here:

We as a programme can’t solve the issue of duplication of effort in digital curation by ourselves, but by maximising the use of these materials, and finding new applications for them, we are definitely doing our bit.

Have you used any of these resources?  Want to know more?  Let us know in the comments!

‘Triage [selection] and handover’ session at JISC MRD and DCC IE workshop, Nottingham

The ‘Triage and Handover’ session (session 3B) of the JISC Managing Research Data programme progress and DCC institutional engagements workshop (24 – 25 October 2012) differed in structure from the other sessions: less about project experiences and more about sharing expertise from people working specifically in this area and generating discussion for projects attending in response.

For the sessions, we note-takers were tasked with establishing: a) what is working? b) challenges and lessons learned, and c) what the MRD programme or the DCC can do to help.  Whilst the structure of this session didn’t lend itself so well to this task as some other sessions, I hope this summary will supply the salient points.

Angus Whyte (DCC) began this session by acknowledging the difficulties of the area.  Because there is no way of knowing which digital objects will be useful in the future, there is no one foolproof way to decide which data should be retained for handover at project end to institutional data management services, and which can be disposed of.

‘Triage’ here is used in the business sense rather than the medical sense: it is meant to imply the existence of a process of decision-making which can determine resource allocation.  ‘Selection’ suggests an either/or decision, which is useful to consider, but Angus makes the point that for institutions the greater need is to define a range of decisions. One of these will be disposal. Others might range from showcasing high-value data online to keeping low-value data on tape back-up.

As a co-author of the DCC ‘How to’ guide on appraisal and selection of data for curation, Angus has spent some time considering various models that are used by data centres and archives to guide their decision-making.  He described the basic records management approach to this:

1. Define a policy, i.e. criteria and range of decisions

2. Archive management applies criteria: select the significant, dispose of the rest

However, he argues, there are a few complications for this model when it comes to dealing with research data, i.e.:

  • Research processes may be more complex (need more explanation) than administrative processes
  • Data purpose may change
  • Needs more effort to make re-usable
  • Complex relationships and rich contexts
  • Originators should be engaged but may not have capacity to be
  • Others may need to be involved too
  • More than keep / dispose choice – need to prioritise attention and effort to make data fit for re-use.

So, for research data:

  • First, characterise.  What is this data?  What are the relationships within it and what are the significant aspects of the context in which it was created?
  • Appraisal criteria should establish: who has the duty of care? How accessible is the data?  What is its re-use value, and what costs are involved?
  • Categorise the responses to these criteria or questions i.e. combinations of high or low ratings. These are your triage levels; levels of effort and cost attached to making data accessible and discoverable, balanced against the likely range of reuse cases and benefits
  • An important factor will be whether there are other natural homes for the data and, if so, whether there are benefits from retaining a copy with the institution.
  • A tiered approach to data value could in theory map to a tiered approach to resource costs, e.g. for discoverability, access management, storage performance, preservation actions.

Clearly, some effort is required here.  This may make senior management, as well as the researchers themselves, say, ‘why not just keep it all?’  Well, in the arguments for selection, costs are a significant issue.  There has been an exponential growth in digital storage required in the last few years: this includes lots of types of digital content including research data, but of course other types of digital material can also be useful in the research process.

David Rosenthal estimated in his frequently-mentioned blogpost of 14 May 2012 how much it would cost to ‘keep everything forever in the cloud’.  He speculated that, based on current cost trajectories, keeping 2018’s data in S3 (Amazon’s cloud storage service) will ‘consume more than the entire GWP [Gross World Product] for the year’.  Whilst the DC/DP/RDM community may argue around the specifics of Rosenthal’s position here, his argument does help to demonstrate that whilst storage costs – never mind those for curation – have long been transparent to researchers, they are real and clarity here can help us to price curation (including storage) realistically and responsibly.

Selection presumes description.  You can’t value what you don’t know about.  Angus argued researchers can’t afford not to spend effort on minimal metadata description and organisation, because costs of retention will be much higher if they don’t.  Description makes data affordable – is citation potential a concrete enough reward?

To summarise, we must identify what datasets are created and where they are, and differentiate priorities.

Marie-Therese Gramstadt then outlined the activity of the JISC MRD KAPTUR project relating to selection and retention.  KAPTUR is aware of previous JISC MRD work in training.  One of main questions addressed by KAPTUR is how to select and appraise research data.  In their approach, they have referred to the DCC paper on this topic, and held an event earlier this year to further explore the issues.  The event discussed the following aspects of research data in the creative arts and how to select it for management:

  • Value and context, including scientific and historical value;
  • Value creation;
  • Ethics and legal issues;
  • Enabling use and reuse;
  • Enabling long-term access.

(More information on this KAPTUR event is available here, which includes the presentations.)

Veerle Van den Eynden of the UKDA then presented a data centre view of the issue, as opposed to an institution-level view.  She described the current process that applies to deposit in the ESRC-funded UK Data Service, including the data review form, the work of the acquisitions committee which evaluates applications for deposit, and the acceptance criteria they apply.

The acquisitions committee will give one of three decisions about a dataset offered:

  • accept data into main ESDS collection for curation and longer-term preservation;
    • processing determined: either A, B or C
  • accept data into self-archive system, the ESRC data store, for short-term management and access; or,
  • unable to accept data.

which is a useful reminder that selection for management (including preservation) need not be a binary matter of yes / no but can consist of a range of possible management solutions.

Acceptance criteria includes:

  • Within scope
  • Long-term value and re-use potential
  • Data requested (by ESDS advisory committee, users)
  • Data from ESRC-funded research
  • Viable for preservation (acceptable file format, well documented)

Common reasons for non-acceptance:

  • Value of data in publications
  • Legal obstacles (copyright, IPR)
  • Ethical constraints (consent, anonymisation)
  • Depositor wishes unnecessarily stringent access conditions

Usually about 5-10% of data offered currently falls into these categories of non-acceptance.

There are currently some draft categories for the data collections accepted by UKDS.

  • Data collections selected for long term curation
  • Data collections selected for ‘short term’ management
  • Data collections selected for ‘delivery’ only
  • Data collections selected for ‘discovery’ only.

The Data Service has a Collections Development Policy currently in draft.  This addresses factors such as

  • Relevance
  • Scientific or historical value
  • Uniqueness
  • Usability
  • Replication data and resourses (materials required for replicating research)

Even if other projects and services don’t have the same levels of experience and capacity as the Research Data Service, these aspects of Data Service policy and structure provide an example of a functional approach to ‘triage’ and selection of research data.

Veerle also mentioned the repository engagement project, to support institutional data management / repository managers in their local role as ESRC data curators.  Through this, they aim to provide guidance and training in appraising data for social science research for IR staff and other good practice.  This is helpful in the current environment where there is more expectation from funders that institutions can take more responsibility for archiving data.  You can see Veerle’s presentation here.

Marie-Therese then briefly showed material from Sam Peplar of NERC who was unable to attend at short notice.  This described the development of the NERC data value checklist which aims to make selection better, more consistent and more objective.  It emerged from consultancy in the research sector and has been modified in response to user feedback.

NERC funding requires an outline DMP at proposal stage with a detailed DMP when funding is agreed.  The data value checklist is intended to be useful when preparing this full DMP but, Sam’s material cautioned, the checklist should not be expected to give some authoritative or definitive response to whether the data should be retained.  Rather, it supplies questions on which to reflect around aspects of the data such as storage, access, formats, origin, conditions, etc.  Sam is clear that there are not neat solutions for selecting data; objective rules are not possible.  He is also clear that scientists are not generally prepared to do the selection alone – this is an area of RDM which requires support.

The group feedback was included various pertinent questions, and concluded that whilst there is no one methodology for discerning the future value of data, it is currently important for institutions to understand where they fit in, in the current landscape in terms of their responsibility to assist researchers in responsible selection and deposit of data.  Veerle confirmed that funders expect data to go to the IR where available, and a data centre if not.  In either case, it is massively helpful if acceptance criteria are public: this can help researchers and research support staff to discern the most appropriate data for selection.

What are your main challenges in selecting and disposing of research data?  What could the JISC MRD programme or the DCC do to help?  Tell us in the comments.

‘Institutional Policies, Strategies, Roadmaps’ session at JISC MRD and DCC IE workshop, Nottingham

The ‘Components of Institutional Research Data Services’ event on 24 October 2012 brought together the ongoing JISC MRD infrastructure projects as well as the institutions with which the Digital Curation Centre is running an ‘institutional engagement’.

The ‘Institutional policies, strategies, roadmaps’ session (session 1A) reflected this nicely, with two speakers from MRD projects ‘Admire’ and ‘Research360’, and two from DCC IEs, St Andrews and Edinburgh.

What is working?

Tom Parsons from Nottingham’s Admire project described further connections across this set of institutions, acknowledging the 2011 aspirational Edinburgh data policy (more on this later) as the inspiration for theirs at Nottingham, and underlining the importance of being aware of the requirements not only of major funders at your institution but also the institutional policies which exist: these need to be found, understood, and worked with to give a coherent message to researchers and support staff about RDM.  This can be done, as he noted, by reflecting these existing messages in your data policy but also by strengthening the data management aspects of these existing policies, and so making the most of any credibility they already have with university staff.

At Bath, RCUK funders are also important influences on progress.  Cathy Pink from Research360 has established that the biggest funder of research work at her institution is the EPSRC, and so Research360’s roadmap work to particularly respond to the EPSRC’s expectations is important at her university, and was published earlier this year.  Bath has looked to the Monash University work to guide its direction in policy formation, particularly to inform strategic planning for RDM and making a clear connection between work at the university to advance RDM and the university’s existing strategic aims: an intelligent way to garner senior management buy-in.

Cathy noted that the DAF and Cardio tools from DCC were both useful in ascertaining the existing situation at Bath: these measures are important to take both in order to identify priorities for action, and also in order to be able to demonstrate the improvements (dare I say impact?) brought about by your work in policy formulation and / or training and guidance provision.

To be taken seriously at the institution and to promote awareness and buy-in, Cathy urged institutions to incorporate feedback from a wide range of relevant parties at the university: research support office, the library, IT support and the training support office where available.  This promotes a coherent approach from all these stakeholders as well as a mutually well-informed position on what each of these areas can contribute to successful RDM.

Birgit Plietzch from St Andrews also found DAF and Cardio relevant to ascertain the current data management situation at her institution but felt the processes could be usefully merged.   Birgit’s team again started by finding out who was funding research at the university (400+ funders!) and then increasing their understanding of these funders’ RDM requirements to create a solid base for policy work.  Again, the Monash University work in this area was useful at her institution, and when the EPSRC roadmap work was completed, as with Bath, it helped to demonstrate the relevance of RDM to diverse areas of institutional activity.

Edinburgh’s Stewart Lewis, too, described the value of creating relationships not only with senior management champions for RDM but also between the university mission statement or strategic aims, and RDM policy.  Stewart acknowledged that the aspirational policy published by Edinburgh in 2011 is a useful way to both instigate and lead on improved RDM at the university, but that action is also crucial.  The aspirational mode of policy gives a stable, high-level statement which is then enacted through supporting, and more volatile, documents.  So whilst action is devolved from the top-level document, it is still intrinsically important if culture change is to happen.  To this end, they have created various levels of implementation groupings to carry through specific actions.  Infrastructure specified by their policy work includes a minimum storage amount and training provision.

In accordance with the Grindley Theory of Four Things (see the – fittingly – 4th bullet point of, Edinburgh is concentrating on four high level  areas: planning, infrastructure, stewardship and, lastly, support across these three.   These areas were chosen in order to meaningfully move forward the RDM work at Edinburgh whilst still making sense to the researcher population.

Challenges and lessons learned

Tom shared some findings gathered by Admire from their survey of the institution’s researcher population which shows around 230 projects are currently funded and so storage requirements are substantial.  Most of these projects are funded by RCUK funders, and so the expectations for a well-organised approach to RDM are also pretty substantial.  When c. 92% of researchers surveyed at the institution report having had no RDM training, we can understand the need for (and scale of) Admire’s work!

Cathy echoed Tom’s point: don’t attempt to simply lift one institution’s work and hope to apply it to yours.  The tailoring required is significant if a set of policies is going to work in your own context.

The first attempt at the RDM policy for Bath was rejected by the senior management group.  Inspirationally, Cathy recognised this as a great opportunity to refine their work and improve the policy using the feedback received.  It also helped clarify their ambitions for the policy and resolved the team to do better than ‘just good enough’: being tempered, of course, by the support infrastructure that could be realistically delivered by the institution – a similar situation as with Nottingham.

Cathy emphasised the point that good quality consultation across the institution is time-consuming but well worthwhile if you aim to build genuinely useful and effective policy or other resources.

Birgit also faced challenges in getting a wider acceptance of some promising RDM policy work.  The institutional environment, including a recent reshuffle of IT provision, had contributed problems to the smooth progress of their IE and senior management, once again, needed compelling evidence to understand the benefits of improved RDM for the institution.

Birgit also found that academics were overextended and found it difficult to make the time to participate in the research that her team needed to undertake to develop policy in this area, but when they realised the relevance they were keen to be involved in the process and to access RDM training.  The notion of the aspirational (as opposed to the highly-specified) mode of RDM policy is popular with researchers at her institution.

Next steps for Stewart and the team at Edinburgh include attaching costs, both in terms of person-time and financial, to the actions specified under their EPSRC roadmap, which will be published soon.  The team will also soon run focus groups using the DCC’s DMP Online tool, run a pilot of Datashare, establish what is needed by researchers in addition to storage, and run training for liaison librarians; these activities, however, need resources: the next challenge to meet.

Discussion picked up the balance between universities offering trustworthy storage appropriate for research data and the motivation of researchers to bid for these resources elsewhere: researchers bidding for this type of funding not only helps the university to concentrate resources in other useful areas but also helps to give a clear message to funders that if they want improved RDM, they have to be prepared to contribute financially towards it.

Costing was a popular topic: Graham Pryor (DCC) was interested that no speaker said they’ve attached costs.  Sometimes explicitly identifying costs means this work becomes unacceptable to senior management on financial grounds.  Paul Stainthorpe at Lincoln agreed that you can spend lots of time on policy, but it won’t be accepted unless there’s a business case.  Other institutions agreed, but added that senior management want some illustrative narrative in addition to the hard figures, to tell them why this really matters.

Birgit added that there is also the problem of unfunded research, particularly in the arts.  Her team has been receiving an increasing number of enquiries relating to this area, and it’s an area also being considered by Newcastle’s Iridium project, who have looked at research information management systems and discovered they only track funded work, leaving unfunded research as ‘a grey area’, even though it may be generating high impact publications.  At UAL, a partner in the KAPTUR project, lots of researchers do a lot of work outside the institution and not funded by it and so for the purposes of the project, they’re being explicit about managing funded work.

UAL has recently launched their RDM policy as a result of their KAPTUR work and stakeholders are happy with it in principle, but the challenge now is how to implement it: John Murtagh noted that engagement and understanding mean work must continue beyond the policy launch.  I mentioned the importance of training here as an element which has to be developed at the institution alongside policy and technical infrastructure.  This was agreed by Wendy White of Southampton: policy needs to be an ongoing dialogue and the challenge is to integrate these elements.

What could the MRD programme or the DCC do to help?

–          DCC: advise on whether funders are going to move the goalposts, and how realistic the risks are of this happening;

–          DCC: advise on what public funding can be used to support RDM policy work;

–          help with costing work

–          DCC: mediation between universities and the research councils, clarifying requirements and sharing universities’ experiences, etc.

–          DCC: providing briefings on current issues, e.g. PVC valued briefings re. open access.