All 4 entries tagged Data

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October 20, 2011

Data Management: after the JISC Webinar!

Writing about web page http://www.jisc.ac.uk/events/2011/10/webinarmrd.aspx

I recently attended a virtual seminar run by the JISC, on the topic of data management. Slides and a recording of the event are available online at the link above. A summary of what picked up on follows. Also, since the Webinar, a colleague has highlighted the following Warwick pages on data management to me: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/informationsecurity/universitydata/researchdata/

Sarah Porter's slides covered what the JISC offers on the topic of Data Management. They recognize the need for institutional policies, and clarity over roles and responsibilities within an institution. Researchers often define "data" very differently. FOI requests at Universities are increasing.

Simon Hodson's presentation had a great slide on the research data lifecycle and my favourite part of it was where the researchers should select what is to be kept and what is to be discarded! The kept data might be handed over to a repository.

On top of this cycle, Simon imposed an institutional cycle, to support good data management practice: this is rather a blue-print for how an institution can respond: It begins with 'Guidance and Policy Development' and goes on to 'Training and Information'. Then there is 'Support for Data Management Planning' and then 'RDM Systems and infrastructure' and then 'Publication and Citation mechanisms' (recognition, rewards and benefits for data sharing, etc). There then follows a flurry of useful links. I've collated links from both presentations which stood out for me, below.

Simon's slides then visit the theme of costing data archiving, including evidence of the cost saving for centralizing data archiving.

Guidance for researchers

DCC How-To Guides: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/how-guides
(On topics such as: –Appraise and select research data for curation –How to license research data –How to develop a data management and sharing plan)

DCC Data Management Plan Online tool: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/dmponline

JISC Q&A on ‘Freedom of Information and Research Data’: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/programmerelated/2010/foiresearchdata.aspx

How to cite data: DCC Briefing Paper on Data Citation and Linking: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/briefing-papers/introduction-curation/data-citation-and-linking

UK Data Archive has stuff for Programme level data management (most other stuff is project level): http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/media/257765/ukdadatamanagementrecommendations_centresprogrammes.pdf

At other institutions

Video materials:

PhD students

JISC's Five projects to design and pilot (reusable) discipline-focussed training units for postgraduate courses: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/mrd/rdmtrain.aspx - I visited these pages and the projects should all now be completed (by 31 July 2011) so this is worth further exploration. Edinburgh's "MANTRA" looks particularly interesting, being non-discipline specific, and at first glance I'm interested in their packages relating to SPSS, which is used by many researchers. CAiRO also seems especially interesting in that it's about data from live arts departments, which is perhaps a less obvious form of reserach data.

Data management policies

RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/Pages/DataPolicy.aspx

Overview of funder policies: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/data-management-plans/funders-requirements

DMP Checklist: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/webfm_send/431 (This refers to the online tool as the most up to date version of this guidance, but it is a different format.)


August 11, 2011

Digital Curation Centre survey of researchers

Writing about web page https://www.survey.ed.ac.uk/dcc_market

The Digital Curation Centre (DCC), a national UK service centre based at the University of Edinburgh, provides guidance and tools for the long-term preservation and use of research data. Having been operational for eight years they are seeking feedback from the research community that will help them assess what progress has been made and what should be their priorities for the future.

So this is a call for researchers from any and all disciplines to complete the DCC questionnaire at the linked web address. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes for you to complete the questionnaire, which is all about your perception of data management practices, your experience of national data management programmes and your knowledge about the DCC and its work.


March 09, 2011

RIN NESTA report on Open Science – research data storing and sharing

Writing about web page http://www.rin.ac.uk/system/files/attachments/NESTA-RIN_Open_Science_V01_0.pdf

This report has a very useful executive summary, highlighting the benefits identified by researchers, of openness about their research and the barriers and constraints to such openness.

These perspectives are useful when considering whether a library could or should help researchers to make their work available more openly. Librarians instinctively want to help researchers to find the work of others that they can build upon, so we would naturally support openness wherever we can but we do need to be aware of researchers' reservations and where the benefits actually lie. The report recommends that research funders and institutions support research communities in six particular areas and it seems to me that where the library can play a significant role is in the following selection of recommendations:

"1) Data management and sharing": providing guidance and policies should be at an institutional level but the Librarian can help to find good existing examples of guidance and be part of a team considering such policy.

"2) Research infrastructure: supporting tools and standards". Library staff can inform themselves of tools and standards and remain up to date in this area, in order to be able to advise the research community. (Training is a separate recommendation and perhaps we could contribute there too.) 

"6) examples of good practice: gathering, assembling and disseminating good practice in open science and ways in which these practices have benefitted both research projects and researchers themselves."

I would actually want to start with the sixth recommendation as I believe that the best ways for an institution to follow the other recommendations could be identified through such a process.

The report itself has case studies of the researchers they approached, which give examples of disciplinary differences and examples of ways in which one discipline's expertise in handling data might be translatable to other disciplines. For example, the astronomers' data might not have so many commercial applications as other disciplines might encounter, which enables openness in their field. Meanwhile, astronomers' skills in image analysis might be applicable in other disciplines. The case study also mentions the vast quantities of data available in the field of astronomy and efforts to catalogue it and make it usable which would probably be relevant experience to those in other disciplines as well.


January 06, 2011

JISC makes Freedom of Information issues clearer for researchers

Writing about web page http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2010/12/foi.aspx

JISC have announced the launch of their step-by-step guidance document on Freedom of Information issues, aimed at researchers. It is based on a set of questions and answers and could "help researchers address issues of confidentiality, privacy, ethics and security" around their research data. The guide also deals with implications of Environmental Information legislation which might also require a researcher to make data publicly available.

The main message is to involve a Freedom of Information Officer if you get an FoI request. Warwick researchers should refer to our Legal Compliance webpages for further support: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/legalservices/

The first question & answer in the JISC guide is about how to identify an FoI request, and that is not so simple as someone declaring that they are asking and FoI question! The answer also states that "FoI request simply has to be in writing, give the name of the requester and an address for correspondence, and specify the information requested. However, 'writing' is interpreted liberally, and definitely includes email." So, knowing when to get in touch with your FoI Officer will be key to researchers' compliance.

Many researchers' requests for data will not be handled as FoI requests in a formal manner, but if you don't want to provide data to someone who has requested access to it then you may have to consider whether you might be obliged to respond under the terms of FoI, and what circumstances will be legally accepted grounds for refusing. This will be the kind of situation in which researchers should seek the support of an FoI officer.

It is worth noting that, under FoI, institutions are expected to supply the information or a refusal within 20 working days of receiving a request.  The guide describes 3 main grounds for refusal, being cost, repeated or vexatious requests or the applicability of an exemption.

The guide itself talks through different kinds of exemption and circumstances which might apply to researchers' data.


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