This blog post has been removed because the information it contained is now out of date.
In this third post focusing on our recent RDM survey of UK HEIs, we consider the impact of the JISCMRD programme on the work UK HEIs are undertaking.
Jisc recently funded projects to undertake a range of initiatives investigating the management of research data. Specific programme strands were:
- Research Data Management Infrastructure (RDMI)
- Research Data Management Planning (RDMP)
- Support and Tools
- Citing, Linking, Integrating and Publishing Research Data (CLIP)
- Research Data Management Training Materials
Although the programme concluded in 2013 the influence these project on the broader UK HEI sector has yet to be established. While these projects were underway evidence of their research and development activities was recorded in a blog by Laura Molloy (JISC MRD: Evidence Gathering. Encouraging discussion across the JISC Managing Research Data programme, Laura Molloy, http://mrdevidence.jiscinvolve.org/wp/). Laura is the Curation and Preservation Officer at the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII), University of Glasgow and Preservation Researcher with the Digital Curation Centre. Posts indicate the effectiveness of the programme in providing shared experience, expertise and materials for reuse. The last blog post (May 2013) describes the role of research funders in ensuring effective RDM (not least to allow for the implementation of their own policies), and in particular the need for them to consider the place and nature of peer review with regards to assessing the RDM component of proposals.
So, what has been happening since these projects ended and why is it important to consider the influence the work of these projects may be having on current RDM related activities in UK universities?
It is apparent from analysis of survey data from UK HEIs that JISCMRD funding does seem to put institutions in a better position to develop policy and services to support their research data management initiatives. For further information on this please see our previous discussion (Institutional readiness for managing research data). However, when considering the ‘ripple effect’ of these projects data is more difficult to locate. Personal communications across the sector for information about the work of a project or requests to use materials are not centrally recorded.
We believe that impact assessment is inherently valuable for evaluating the success of a programme and its impact over time. Information gathered can be used to inform and shape future work and to lobby for funding for such activities.
We therefore welcome responses from those involved in the JISCMRD programme and institutions grappling with RDM issues describing the benefits they derived from involvement in JISCMRD projects or having access to information from these projects. Comments can be added to this blog or by contacting Stéphane Goldstein <email@example.com>. We also hope that, in due course, Jisc itself will show an interest in following up on our findings.
Previous posts in this seriess:
Following on from our earlier post about Institutional readiness for managing research data, Stéphane and I have been looking at staffing levels in UK HEIs for establishing and supporting RDM. The data comes from our recent survey of UK HEIs RDM practices and a mapping to JISCMRD programme institutions.
A further set of indicators can serve to substantiate the argument that HEIs which took part in the JISCMRD programme are more advanced in the development of institutional RDM practice. These are the figures that relate to staffing levels for all the different categories of RDM-related personnel identified in the Loughborough survey of research data management activities at UK HEIs. The following tables describe this:
|Number of institutions receiving Jisc funding who have any fixed-term staff in post||7 out of 15||47%|
|Number of institutions not receiving Jisc funding who have any fixed-term staff in post||6 out of 23||26%|
|Number of institutions receiving Jisc funding who have any permanent staff in post||8 out of 15||53%|
|Number of institutions not receiving Jisc funding who have any permanent staff in post||5 out of 23||22%|
|Average fixed-term staffing level (FTE) for institutions receiving Jisc funding||1.07 (*)||0|
|Average fixed-term staffing level (FTE) for institutions not receiving Jisc funding||0.54||0|
(*) It is reasonable to say that the mean, in this instance, is somewhat skewed by one responding university having 5.5 FTE employed in RDM related roles.
|Average permanent staffing level (FTE) for institutions receiving Jisc funding||1.13||1|
|Average permanent staffing level (FTE) for institutions not receiving Jisc funding||0.24||0|
These figures are perhaps hardly surprising, particularly for the fixed-term staff, who might have been recruited specifically for the duration of the Jisc projects; it’s noteworthy though that institutions receiving Jisc funding have also invested much more than others in permanent staff.
Full survey results and discussion are available in a blog post by Martin Hamilton (http://blog.martinh.net/2013/10/metadata-is-love-note-to-future-uk.html).
We now have a short slide presentation as an introduction to research data management at Loughborough. The slides cover funders’ expectations for managing research data and what Loughborough is doing to prepare institutional policy, services and support for RDM.
We have been working with Stéphane Goldstein, a Consultant at the Research Information Network (RIN), to see whether there is any link between the development of institutional research data management services and involvement in the JISCMRD programme.
Universities in the UK are preparing policies and services to better support research data management. This work is being undertaken to ensure that the maximum benefits are achieved for research outputs, particularly where these have been funded from the public purse.
For a three-year period between (2009-2011 and 2011-2013) Jisc funded 65 projects to consider a range of Research Data Management (RDM) issues (JISCMRD programme, http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/mrd.aspx). Thirty-five UK Higher Education Institutions took part in the programme which involved considerable financial investment from Jisc and intensive work and effort within the projects concerned. A wealth of very valuable outputs arose from these projects which Loughborough University, along with others, have benefited from. Loughborough has also made good use of support available from the Digital Curation Centre via their Institutional Engagements and from the UK Data Archive online resources, and in discussions with other experts in this area. The University has also had discussions with the Research Information Network on the results of a national survey that Loughborough University undertook to uncover RDM activities in UK HEIs. The survey was advertised to a number of professional email lists whose readership would have a stake in UK HEI research data management. In addition, DCC colleagues actively promoted the survey to institutions it engages with. The survey was completed by 38 unique HEIs, 15 (39%) of these were involved in Jisc-funded MRD projects. The high proportion of respondents from the JISCMRD programme (15 out of 35 [43%]) may be attributed to our promotional activities and the community coalescing around the JISCMRD projects. Full UK HEI RDM survey results and discussion are available in a blog post by Martin Hamilton (http://blog.martinh.net/2013/10/metadata-is-love-note-to-future-uk.html).
An initial mapping of data from the survey against data on institutions receiving JISCMRD funding revealed that the latter were further advanced in their RDM policy making, infrastructure provision and support/training offerings. We discovered that 60% (9 out of 15) of the Jisc-funded institutions have a RDM policy compared with 26% (6 out 23) of those who did not receive such funding, and 39% (15 out of 38) of the whole sample.
Similarly, 33% (5 out of 15) of those receiving Jisc funding have a research data service in place, but this proportion falls to 4% (1 out 23) for those not receiving any such funding, and 16% (6 out of 38) for the sample as a whole.
This basic analysis appears to indicate a link between Jisc funding and presence of RDM policy and services. In our view this preliminary finding warrants further investigation, not least because it provides some evidence that universities involved in Jisc-funded MRD projects benefit from accelerated policy and service development.
The next step is to delve deeper into the data to look at project themes and to link this up with other sources of information.
Many research funders now require a data management plan (DMP) to be submitted in a grant proposal. Such plans set out how data will be handled during a project and how it will be shared with others. They are an invaluable tool to guide data management and should be amended as necessary as a project progresses.
There is a wealth of information and support about funder requirements and what to include in a DMP, as well as sample plans and tools to guide you through the process of creating your own DMP.
- Data Management Plans (http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/data-management-plans): a central resource from the Digital Curation Centre with links to funders’ requirements, DMPOnline for creating a plan, and a range of guidance.
- Funders’ requirements (http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/data-management-plans/funders-requirements)
- Data management plan: guidance for peer reviewers (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/_images/Data-Management-Plan-Guidance-for-peer-reviewers_tcm8-15569.pdf) from ESRC
- A checklist (http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/data-management-plans/checklist) of the main questions and themes to cover in your plan
- DMPOnline (http://dmponline.dcc.ac.uk/): an online tool for creating a data management plan.
- Recommended file formats (http://ukdataservice.ac.uk/manage-data/format/recommended-formats.aspx)
Thanks to Professor Rob Wilby, we have our first research data management case study. Rob talks about his research into Flood indices for Britain (1881-2011) and reasons for making the data public. These include benefits to the public, improving dissemination and uptake of research, and improved visibility which can lead to greater citation.
Rob’s case study is available via the university Library’s Research Support web pages. We aim to offer further case studies on different aspects of research data management in the coming months.
The results of our recent survey of UK HEI research data management activities are available. Martin Hamilton has posted a comprehensive blog post intriguingly titled ‘Metadata is a Love Note to the Future – UK Higher Education Research Data Management (RDM) Survey‘. The survey and results generated a good deal of interest on and off-line.
Loughborough University has been conducting a survey to discover what services UK Universities offer for managing research data created within their institutions. Martin Hamilton wrote about the survey in a post titled ‘UK Higher Education Research Data Management Survey‘.
The questionnaire was divided into four main themes:
- About RDM at your institution: this covered demographics and whether a research data management policy or service was available.
- For Institutions with a RDM service: we asked about the scope of the service and range of data covered, whether data sets and/or metadata stored, software used, available institutional/researcher storage, charges and staffing.
- Support: respondents were asked to select from a list of broad categories of support available for research data management.
- Other information: the usual free text box for respondents to provide any additional information they wish.
There has been a good deal of interest in the survey with many interesting responses to the questions posed. Results will be posted soon.
We have had another brilliant training session from the Digital Curation Centre. Once again the topic was research data management planning but this time looking at costing for RDM. The outline for the session was as follows:
- What are Data Management Plans and why are they important?
- Funders’ policies on data management and eligible costs
- Q&A Discussion: key issues affecting support provision
- Data Management Plan Examples
- Breakout session for discussion the example plans
- What next? Planning future DMP support
Feedback from participants was excellent and I now have some useful resources to help those creating a research data management plan. I will compile these into a post soon.