Drafting a Research Data Management Policy

This morning, four of us (Bev Jones and Paul Stainthorp, Library; Annalisa Jones, Research Office; and Joss Winn, Centre for Educational Research and Development) met for three hours to draft a Research Data Management Policy for the University.

We began by Paul and Bev summarising their experience attending the RDM Policy workshop in Leeds last month, and then went on to look at the requirements of UK funding bodies, as summarised by the DCC. We then reviewed the four university RDM policies linked to from the DCC’s institutional policy page and set about creating a draft policy for Lincoln, which will first be reviewed by the Orbital Steering Group later this week and then referred to the Academic Board and Research, Innovation and Enterprise Committee for approval.

Our draft policy is modelled on the Cross Council Policy Overview by the DCC, which broke down funders’ policies as follows:

  • Published outputs: a policy on published outputs e.g. journal articles and conference papers
  • Data: a datasets policy or statement on access to and maintenance of electronic resources
  • Time limits: set timeframes for making content accessible or preserving research outputs
  • Data plan: requirement to consider data creation, management or sharing in the grant application
  • Access/sharing: promotion of OA journals, deposit in repositories, data sharing or reuse
  • Long-term curation: stipulations on long-term maintenance and preservation of research outputs
  • Monitoring: whether compliance is monitored or action taken such as withholding funds
  • Guidance: provision of FAQs, best practice guides, toolkits, and support staff
  • Repository: provision of a repository to make published research outputs accessible
  • Data centre: provision of a data centre to curate unpublished electronic resources or data
  • Costs: a willingness to meet publication fees and data management / sharing costs

We then drew from Edinburgh’s policy to look at how it meets each of these points. Then, we began merging points and writing a policy response, again borrowing from Edinburgh at times.

You can read our draft policy online. If you’re interested in seeing in detail how it was written, go to the File menu, click on See revision history and then at the bottom of the page, click Show more detailed revisions. Amendments to the policy will continue to be made at that location, so we should see the full history of the policy development over time.  Sorry, it appears that in read-only mode, Google docs doesn’t allow access to the document revision history. UPDATE: See the link to a version maintained on Github in the comments below.

I should note that this is intended to be a pithy policy statement, similar to what other institutions have written and will be supported by more detailed written guidance, which we’ll develop over the course of the Orbital project.

Building on the ERIM and REDm-MED projects

On January 20th, Dr. Mansur Darlington from the ERIM & REDm-Med projects came to Lincoln to discuss his work in relation to the Orbital project. Mansur has a consultancy role on the Orbital project and will be joining us again later on in the year, to help us evaluate our progress. It was a very useful and interesting meeting for all of the Orbital Team and the Engineering Researchers working with us. What became clear to us is that while ERIM offers the Orbital project a great deal of the underlying research and analysis of how Engineers work with data, Orbital can reciprocally feed back observations and issues arising from ERIM’s recommendations, which are theoretically robust but have not yet been tested in implementation. Similarly, with the REDmMEd project, which finishes in May/June, I hope that we can take the outputs of that prototyping work and build on them in the development of Orbital.

Here are Mansur’s slides from the meeting and below that, my notes.

  1. Purpose of the meeting
  2. Introductions: Bev, Annalisa, Bingo, Chunmei, Joss, Stuart, Lee, Mark, Nick, Paul, Mansur. Apologies, Chris Leach.
  3. Engineers: Bingo, Chunmei, Stuart
  4. See slides. ERIM research offers good spread of Engineering research data.Industry collaboration is vitally important.
  5. MRD in general:

* Need to find out which RC (%), the funding into Engineering School comes from.
* All institutions have to put together a roadmap for RDM by May 2012 for EPSRC.
* Siemens/Lincoln spend a lot of effort in discovery of existing data to base investigations on.
* No national, dedicated Engineering data archive
* Need to look at API integration with DPMOnline (DCC)
* Orbital as tool for managing research projects?
* Ask DCC to visit Lincoln for Policy development and training.
* Reporting to DCC is a formal requirement.
* Include costs of MRD in the university overhead when bidding for funds.
* Datasets as an outcome of research projects. More ‘efficient’ to deal with RDM as part of project.
* ‘Market’ for data. Expectation of costs and benefits of MRD

6. The Nature of Engineering Research Data:

* ERIM: Engineering Research Information Management: Research activity data as well
* Problems with terminology. Need for definition. Both theoretical and practical/empirical outputs from the project.
* Good slides for terminology and understanding domain
* How does Orbital fit into the VRE puzzle?
* Transparent logging and capture of as much activity data as possible.
* Knowing the context is vital for understanding data. Orbital needs to concentrate on contextual data as much as ‘research data’.
* Orbital supports research lifecycle from bidding to completion?
* ‘Engineering research data’ covers pretty much all types of data.
* Need to identify other types of Engineering users to broaden scope of ‘Engineering data’
* Look outside Engineering for variety of data types/activity. Look beyond Engineering. Generalisable.
* Data types is one thing; methodologies and the data they produce are another.
* We manage data so that it can be RE-USED (by someone)
* Must not add to bureaucracy of research

#jiscmrd programme launch; day 1 – DCC tools workshop

This week sees the formal two-day launch event for the JISC Managing Research Data programme 2011–2013 (the programme which is funding Orbital). It’s being held in the National College for School Leadership, next to the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus.

Unfortunately, after schlepping it from the furthest fringes of Lincolnshire (and then having to go back home for the evening), I was only able to attend a couple of hours of day 1. But it was worth it.

I arrived just in time for a workshop about a number of research data management tools developed/provided by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC). Dr Mansur Darlington, who’s acting as external assessor/consultant to the Orbital project, was also in this workshop and contributed greatly to the discussions. (My Orbital colleagues Joss Winn and Nick Jackson attended the [parallel] workshop on various JANET, Eduserv and UMF SaaS/cloud storage services.)

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