A JISC-funded Managing Research Data project

Posts tagged RDM

I am very pleased to announce that our Research Data Management policy, which was one of the main objectives of the Orbital project, has been approved by the university’s Research Committee. The process of drafting the policy began in April 2012 as a collaborative effort between Orbital team members from the Centre for Educational Research and Development, The Library and the Research and Enterprise Office. Comments were then solicited from the Director of ICT, the Director of Research and Enterprise and the University Librarian. The draft was then presented to the Research Committee, which requested that the policy be discussed with the Senior Management Team due to its resourcing implications. This meeting took place in October 2012 and as a result, SMT requested that the College Research Directors were consulted on the Policy and agreed that a Business Case for Research Data Management (to effectively ‘underwrite’ the policy) should be put together. The Business Case was presented to SMT and accepted in January 2013. Following discussion with the Research Directors and further re-drafting, the policy was approved today.

This completes the formal objectives of the Orbital project and places us in a position where we have a Business Case, Policy and a new ‘Research Information Services’ team that is being formed to meet the expectations and aspirations of our researcher community and our funders.

I’m immensely excited that the following Grade 7 developer job at the University of Lincoln (initially for a fixed term of two years) is now open for applications. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss the role. If you don’t know Lincoln, it’s an interesting, historic small city and the University’s waterside Brayford Pool campus is a very nice place to work.

You can download the job description document, and apply online, at:


Research Information Services Developer

Brayford Library Team

Location: Brayford
Salary: From £30,424 per annum
This post is fixed term for two years
Closing Date: Sunday 30 June 2013
Reference: LR4068

We are seeking to appoint an innovative and enthusiastic software developer, with demonstrable experience and understanding of research in an HE environment.

Based in the Library, and reporting to the Head of Electronic Library Services, this exciting new role will lead on coordinating and developing the University’s services and resources for the researcher community, including support for Open Access publishing and research data management.

You can expect to contribute towards significant institutional change in the way research information and research data is managed, analysed and disseminated at the University of Lincoln.

Working closely with other colleagues within the Library, ICT and the Research Office, you will be responsible for leading the technical design and development of research information services at Lincoln, including research data management, bibliometrics and research intelligence, research dashboarding, and the University’s Institutional Repository.

You must have an excellent understanding of the technologies and programming languages used in developing data-driven web services to support research. You will also have successfully managed projects, have good communication skills, and enjoy working as a member of a team in a busy environment.

You must able to take initiative, be well organised and have a proven ability to prioritise and meet tight deadlines. A familiarity with the current UK research environment is also essential.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Paul Stainthorp <pstainthorp@lincoln.ac.uk>for an informal discussion on 01522 886 193 or pstainthorp@lincoln.ac.uk.

The final within-project version of the Orbital Research Data Management training materials are now live on the Orbital Researcher Dashboard website. They have been written collaboratively by the Orbital project team, and draw on a lot of existing RDM training and guidance material from across the web (in particular, from the DCC).

We intend that these materials will continue to be maintained and developed as part of the new University-wide research information service mentioned in a previous blog post.

Screenshot of the Researcher Dashboard

The training materials can be accessed at https://orbital.lincoln.ac.uk/ and cover the following areas:

  1. What is research data?
  2. The research data lifecycle
  3. Policies affecting your research data
  4. Data Management Planning (DMP)
  5. Data search and discovery tools
  6. Data storage and security
  7. Legal and ethical issues
  8. Tools for working with your data
  9. Data publishing and citation
  10. Licences for sharing your data
  11. Data curation and preservation
  12. Workshops and training events
  13. Help and support

The source text for each page is stored in an open Github repository (at http://github.com/unilincoln/rdm) in Markdown format. The page admin tools in the Researcher Dashboard can then be used to link to the source document, which is then formatted in the University’s Common Web Design.

These web pages will be used to support the ongoing RDM training for postgraduate students, which will shortly be rolled out to University staff.

On the 18th February, we ran a workshop in London which focused on the use of CKAN for research data management. The Orbital project made the decision to use CKAN last summer and was soon followed by Bristol’s data.bris project, which is using CKAN for its discovery catalogue. Simon Price from Bristol, gave a very interesting presentation of their work with CKAN, which you can read about on their project blog.

The #CKAN4RDM workshop was fully booked with 40 delegates attending – many more than we originally anticipated. It was facilitated by Simon Hodson, the Programme Manager of JISC’s Managing Research Data programme. Following presentations from Lincoln and Bristol on our respective uses of CKAN (ours was a live demo of ‘Orbital Bridge‘), we spent the later part of the morning undertaking a requirements gathering exercise, where tables of around 8-10 people acted as different users, providing ‘stories’ (requirements) for a research data management system. The exercise was introduced in the following few slides.

This was a useful exercise regardless of the software used, but after collating all 70+ stories over lunch, we then returned to our user groups and each table worked with a CKAN expert from the Open Knowledge Foundation to discuss the existing constraints for each requirement and started to develop a gap analysis so as to identify work to be done. The output of this work can be viewed on Google docs.

Types of users
Types of users
The 'researcher' user group
The ‘researcher’ user group


There was quite a positive buzz about the day and general feedback suggested that delegates got a lot out of the event. You can read write ups from the DCC, LSE and the Datapool project at Southampton.

One of the original purposes of the workshop was research for a conference paper that I (Joss) am giving at the IASSIST conference in Cologne, in May. The abstract I submitted to the conference was as follows:

This paper offers a full and critical evaluation of the open source CKAN software <http://ckan.org> for use as a Research Data Management (RDM) tool within a university environment. It presents a case study of CKAN’s implementation and use at the University of Lincoln, UK, and highlights its strengths and current weaknesses as an institutional Research Data Management tool. The author draws on his prior experience of implementing a mixed media Digital Asset Management system (DAM), Institutional Repository (IR) and institutional Web Content Management System (CMS), to offer an outline proposal for how CKAN can be used effectively for data analysis, storage and publishing in academia. This will be of interest to researchers, data librarians, and developers, who are responsible for the implementation of institutional RDM infrastructure. This paper is presented as part of the dissemination activities of the JISC-funded Orbital project <http://orbital.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk>.

As well as using last week’s outputs of the CKAN4RDM workshop, I’ll also be working closely with OKF staff to ensure that the evaluation is as thorough, accurate and up-to-date as possible by the time of the conference. It will focus on version 2.0 of CKAN, which is due for release soon.

I’d also like to appeal to other JISC MRD projects to send me any existing requirements documents you have produced during the course of your project. I will use the anonymised data to enrich the requirements we gathered last week. If you have such documents, please email me.

Finally, we have set up a CKAN4RDM mailing list, which anyone is welcome to join to discuss the use of CKAN within academia. One thing is clear to me: the academic community cannot expect OKF and existing CKAN developers to meet all of our requirements for research data management. We need to contribute developer time and other resource and effort to the overall CKAN open source project, just as other public sector organisations are doing.


Here are the notes of the most recent Orbital project team meeting (31 January 2013).

Present: Nick Jackson, Harry Newton, Paul Stainthorp, Joss Winn.

The project team discussed the following development tasks. The aim is for the following to be completed by the end of February 2013:

  • Demonstratable AMS-CKAN-EPrints workflow in Orbital Bridge (a minimal but operational RDM infrastructure);
  • Researcher dashboard to include projects and project metadata;
  • Users able to display and create datasets in CKAN from within Orbital Bridge (N.B. need to check changes to CKAN APIs between versions);
  • Demonstrator using the DataCite test API (until a budget is agreed for use of the live DataCite service);
  • Ability to publish dataset metadata to EPrints Repository, with a complete ‘publish’ UI in Orbital Bridge (to be tested on the University’s upgraded EPrints 3.3 Repository in March) – questions over versioning/locking of deposited metadata to be resolved;
  • Researcher dashboard to include analytics fom EPrints, CKAN, AMS, and bibliometric/citation services – add links to external profiles (Scopus, WoS, ORCID, Google Scholar) in the first instance. ACTION: JW to contact Planning to discuss reporting from the researcher dashboard (also data.lincoln.ac.uk; bibiometrics).

JW presented the Orbital business case to the University Senior Management Team on 14th January 2013. JW to work with the Dean of Research (Lisa Mooney) / Deputy V-c (Ieuan Owen) to discuss ongoing resourcing for RDM.

ICT are undertaking a cloud major scoping study, including RDM storage requirements.

The draft RDM policy is to be presented to the Research & Enterprise committee in April.

NJ, HN and PS are working on the display of RDM training and documentation in Orbital Bridge, with versioned text stored as Markdown in Github. Pages in Orbital can be linked to Github.

The next RDM training for postgraduate students will take place on 6th March 2013. ACTION: PS to embed a calendar feed of training events on the Orbital website.

Upcoming events: