A JISC-funded Managing Research Data project

Posts tagged RDM





Previous Actions

  • JW to circulate draft documents for business case and SMT presentation to Orbital team. DONE
  • PS to talk to NJ and HN about ingestion of this content to Bridge. DONE
  • MB to send NJ/HN information on impact recording systems. DONE


Policy and Business Case

Business case presentation to SMT has moved to Jan 14th
JW has distributed draft documents for SMT presentation to project team.
Documents & presentation aim to secure the groundwork for a research data management ‘road map’ over next 2 years from end of Orbital. Includes Research Services developer, supporting ePrints, Orbital, bibliometrics, RDM, etc. Also to raise awareness of Data Scientist position.
Action: MB/JW to contact Lisa Mooney regarding review of committee structure.


PS and JW met with Mike Neary at Graduate School, with agreement that Orbital would run training workshop with graduates on RDM to refine workshops and documentation. PS has blogged an outline of this training.
Action: PS/MB/JW/AJ to meet regarding training materials.
Joss spoke to Martin Donnelly at the DCC about RDM training and a branded version of DMPOnline. Will arrange a DCC workshop at Lincoln end to February.
ACTION: Joss to contact Martin about requirements for a branded version of DMPOnline.


Orbital Bridge is ‘Researcher Dashboard’. v0.2 released yesterday. Will collect metrics from ePrints, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Analytics, CKAN, etc.  Provides researcher with overview of their reserch profile and impact. Aggregates metrics for the institution.
ACTION: NJ to discuss bibliometrics with PS/HN
Still waiting for access to the AMS. NJ has met with ICT. Still issues around user permissions. John Bark will talk to Worktribe.
ACTION: NJ to organise conference call with Worktribe/ICT
Waiting to hear from DCC about DMPOnline APIs. HN has written an Orbital library for DMPOnline.
ICT Cloud Scoping Study includes Research Data Management requirement. Reports back May 2013.
Nucleus v2 (N2) is ready for production use. Will be a source of data for Researcher profile and store metrics, etc.
Open Stack not yet built. Will spend a day before Christmas looking at this. Joss is being interviewed by David Flanders (ANDS) for a podcast about academic uses of OpenStack.


Joss is meeting with JISC and OKFN 14th December to discuss CKAN.
Carlos Silva (KAPTUR)  is visiting Lincon to discuss our use of CKAN in January
Paul has booked to attend the DCC conference in Amsterdam in January: Theme “What is a data scientist?”
Joss attended MRD Benefits and Impact event and discussed the Orbital project.


Joss is meeting with Jill Hubbard to get budget update.

As part of the Orbital project to build a pilot Research Data Management (RDM) infrastructure at the University of Lincoln, I’m looking particularly at support, training and documentation.

We aim to start offering—early in 2013—an introductory 1-hour workshop on managing your research data, aimed at early-career researchers and postgraduate research students. In particular, we want to promote this training through three avenues:

  1. As part of the Lincoln Graduate School‘s standard timetable of postgrad training;
  2. Directly, to PhD students in the School of Engineering (our pilot group);
  3. To researchers who completed our Data Asset Framework questionnaire.

The training will be supported by documentation (written and maintained through WordPress and a dedicated RDM reading list), presented through the main Orbital “bridge” site, which we’re starting to treat as a VRE.

Here’s an outline of the initial workshop. I’m meeting the Graduate School this afternoon to agree this.

“Managing your research data”

  1. Definitions, terminology and scope (what do we mean by research data?)
  2. Policies and laws affecting your data
  3. The “research data lifecycle
  4. Data Management Planning (DMP)
  5. Practical tools for looking after your data
  6. Data publishing and citation
  7. Where to go for further help and support

Comments welcome!

I’ve been quiet—too quiet—about the Orbital project recently. While I’ve not been blogging, Joss, Nick and Harry have overseen several fairly important developments:

As Orbital-the-product (coherent set of products, really) develops, my own focus between now and the end of the project (March 2013) will be on Orbital-the-servicetraining, support, documentation, and implementation of RDM policy at the University of Lincoln. I’ll work closely with the Research & Enterprise department on these aspects.

Four level hierarchy of documentationAs part of this strand of the project (which cuts across workpackages 7, 11, and 12), I want to consider the following:

  1. The current usability of ownCloud, CKAN, EPrints, etc. – what ‘sticking plaster’ help materials do we need to provide right now (if any?).
  2. How the production of documentation fits in to the software development release cycle (“change management“?) – particularly so in an agile/iterative environment, and how we ensure we meet our responsibility to ‘leave no feature undocumented’ as well as provide adequate contextual information on RDM. Related: I’m thinking about a four-level hierarchy of documentation (see right): how do the different levels relate to each other (how do we ensure internal consistency?), and how do we ensure all four levels are covered?
  3. [How] should we contribute to an (OKFN-co-ordinated) open research [data] handbook initiative (c.f. the Open Data Handbook; Data Journalism Handbook) instead of—or as well as—writing our own operational help guides? Contributing to and re-consuming community-written RDM materials will be more efficient than writing our own guidebook from scratch, but we need to make sure our local documentation is relevant to Lincoln.
  4. I’ve already started collated a list of other peoples’ RDM help materials (Joss has collected many more) – I’ll publish the list to this blog soon. I’ll be looking to see what we can re-use. There are some very good, openly-licensed training materials available, but I don’t want us to use them uncritically.
  5. How do we use our (still not-yet-accepted) RDM policy as a jumping-off point for training events?
  6. What did we learn from our recent(ish) Data Asset Framework exercise? How can we use researchers’ priorities as identified in the DAF to inform training? Should we re-run the exercise and/or follow it up with more detailed discussions?
  7. It possible/likely that we will shortly have a new member of staff to work with the Lincoln Repository and the University’s REF submission. What responsibility might that person have for RDM training and support?

Next I need to organise a meeting with the Research & Enterprise department to plan our ‘version 0.1′ training programme, possibly consisting of (i) a discussion of the issues raised in our DAF survey and people’s current RDM practice, (ii) a discussion of the RDM policy, and (iii) presentation of the various VRE tools available (CKAN, ownCloud, EPrints, DataCite, DMPOnline). We’ll probably pilot this on a group of willing PhD students in the School of Engineering.

On Wednesday, we hosted three people from the Open Knowledge Foundation, to discuss the Orbital project and their software, CKAN. It was a very engaging and productive day spent with Peter Murray-Rust (on the Advisory Board of OKFN), Mark Wainwright (community co-ordinator) and Ross Jones (core developer). We asked them at the start of the day to challenge us about our technical work on Orbital so far and I described the day to them as an opportunity to evaluate our work developing the Orbital software so far. We didn’t touch on the other aspects of the Orbital project such as policy development and training for researchers.

To cut to the chase, the Orbital project will be adopting CKAN as the primary platform for further development of the technical infrastrcuture for RDM at Lincoln. This is subject to approval by the Steering Group, but the reasons are compelling in many ways and I am confident that the Steering Group will accept this recommendation. More importantly, the Implementation Plan that was approved by the Steering group and submitted to JISC remains unchanged.

The raw notes from our meeting are available here. Remember these are raw notes written throughout the day, primarily for our own record. They probably mean more to us than they do to you! Thanks to Paul Stainthorp for his fanatical note taking :-)

Here’s the list of attendees and our agenda:


Peter Murray-Rust (OKFN)
Mark Wainwright (OKFN)
Ross Jones (OKFN)
Joss Winn (University of Lincoln, CERD)
Nick Jackson (University of Lincoln, CERD)
Harry Newton (University of Lincoln, CERD)
Jamie Mahoney (University of Lincoln, CERD)
Alex Bilbie (University of Lincoln, ICT services)
Paul Stainthorp (University of Lincoln, Library)


09.30 Introductions
10.00 Orbital introduction and context: Student as Producer, LNCD; Orbital bid and pilot project; Discussion of Orbital approach, the data we’re using, user needs etc.
10.30 CKAN introduction and context
11.00 Technical discussion – Orbital
12.00 LUNCH
12.30 Technical discussion – CKAN
13.30 Discussion – should Orbital adopt CKAN?
14.00 data[.lincoln].ac.uk
15.00 Next steps; Opportunities for collaboration/funding?

What is probably of most interest to people reading this are the pros & cons of the Orbital project adopting CKAN. I’ll provide more context further into the post, but here’s a summary copied from our notes:


Agenda & notes

  1. Application update: Orbital v0.3 will be release today. New dynamic dataset features. Import/export/query data. Already auto importing Siemens’ sensor data for analysis. Integration with MatLab will be presented to the Siemens/Lincoln research group on August 1st. We have set up ownCloud as an alternative to Dropbox and integrated with it with Lincoln SSO. Working on full integration with Orbital for Orbital v0.4 release next month. Nick, Harry and other members of LNCD will take third/fourth weeks in August to set up and build OpenStack private cloud for R&D/Academic Computing. Following that, Orbital servers on Rackspace will be moved in-house to OpenStack. Initially starting with three servers (26 cores, 140GB RAM) and 30TB storage. We intend to provide a Continuous Integration (CI) environment (Gitorious/Jenkins) for staff and student research, as well as  support LNCD R&D.
  2. Edinburgh/OR12:  Presented a paper at OR12, which was well received. Came away thinking that RDM has ‘arrived’ and that platforms for RDM need to be more integrated into research process than research output repositories have been. Orbital is well placed for this e.g. ‘dynamic datasets’. Discussed systems with OKFN/CKAN representative at OR12 and have invited OKFN to Lincoln to discuss CKAN and Orbital. Initial Skype meeting Monday 30th July. We have asked OKFN to challenge/persuade us as to why we should adopt CKAN rather than continue to develop Orbital. Need to think about the pros/cons of eight more months of Orbital development vs. eight months contributing to CKAN development. May lead to Lincoln extending CKAN for academic RDM, re-using bits of Orbital. Still not clear. Nick has also contacted Patrick at Soton about his winning proposal for DevCSI developer challenge. Patrick’s proposal is very similar to Orbital and both Nick and Patrick are keen to work on dynamic data and visualisations together with others.
  3. RDM Policy: Joss and Annalisa met with Andrew S, Head of Research & Enterprise Office. Reviewed draft RDM Policy. Will make minor amendments but on the whole agreement on way forward.
  4. Training: Joss, Annalisa, Melanie, Bev, Paul to meet early September and bring together RDM training materials produced by other projects. Evaluate, synthesise, extend and re-package for Lincoln. Agreed to arrange RDM training workshops via HR for staff every three weeks from late September to test and inform the development of this project deliverable. Annalisa/Melanie to arrange meeting and workshops.
  5. Metadata: Discussion about adopting BL’s minimum metadata requirements for DataCite. Agreement that the mandatory and optional attributes should be part of Orbital. Need to talk to/confirm with Bev about this and add relevant tasks to Pivotal Tracker. CKAN (see above) meeting relevant to this. If CKAN is used to publish datasets, need to ensure it meets this requirement.
  6. Research Information/Systems integration: Research Information Management (RIM) at the university is dependent on three systems: new Awards Management System (AMS) (Research and Enterprise Office), Orbital, and EPrints (Library). Need to contact Worktribe about API access to AMS for Orbital. EPrints work planned to add the ‘REF plugin’ will give us better data. SWORD2 deposit from Orbital planned. Again, need to consider in light of CKAN conversations. Other work going on in university to build business intelligence dashboards. Lee to arrange meeting with Registry DBAs and Orbital team to discuss data warehousing and dashboards. Lots of overlap in interest/experience/skills. Not enough talking.
  7. Business Case: Joss still waiting on storage modelling costs from ICT to present to SMT in September. Will start process of writing Business Case following that meeting.