Research Data Managament for academic and research staff

Explore Research Data Management in more depth at this workshop:

Research Data Managament for academic and research staff
Friday 4th April 10-12, Library Seminar Room 1:

Whilst efficient data management has always been part of good research practice, research data management is growing in importance in higher education. An increasing number of funding bodies require a data management plan to be submitted in a funding bid and the data produced to be shared, where possible. This session examines the importance of managing your data effectively and how to express this in a data management plan. It will also consider the issues of sharing and archiving data and how you can do this to meet funder requirements, as well as your own research needs.

Please book via Learn: (You will need to accept an enrollment key when you first access this module). Please note that this session is designed for staff; workshops for PGRs will take place in May and can be booked via the Gradauate School’s booking page on Learn.

Research Committee approve draft Research Data Policy

Loughborough University’s Research Committee have approved a draft Research Data Management Policy. The policy is likely to be amended as services are developed and as it is considered at other committees. However, Research Committee approval is a good first step for this developing policy.

We would like to acknowledge the support we received from colleagues at the Digital Curation Centre, University of Edinburgh and University of Oxford in creating our draft policy.

RDM case study

Dr Erika Whiteford has kindly written a research data management case study for the Lakes and the Artic Carbon cycle project. Erika’s case study highlights the value historic research data brings to our understanding of the future. It also illustrates the importance of managing research data and sharing it for possible future studies.

Erika’s case study is available via the university Library’s Research Support web pages.

RCUK Data Policies

Research Councils UK have devised Common Principles on Data Policy. This establishes their position on the management of research data produced by projects they fund, as well as taking steps to making data publically available.

Each Council has slightly different requirements in relation to proposals for funding and the research data arising from the projects they fund. The Digital Curation Centre have pulled together a useful summary table together with information on funders’ data policies. See their Overview of funders’ data policies web page for further details.

UK HEI RDM survey and the DCC

This post makes an interesting addition to earlier posts regarding our UK HEI Research Data Management survey and the benefits of being part of the JISCMRD programme.

We looked at the survey results and DCC engagement institutions to see whether there was any evidence to suggest that institutions with RDM services in place received DCC support.

An initial mapping of data from the survey against data on institutions receiving DCC support revealed similar numbers had a research data management policy. Thirty-eight percent (9 out of 15) receiving DCC support had a research data policy compared with 39% (15 out of 38) of all respondents. However, un-supported institutions, those not supported by the DCC s or not part of the JISCMRD programme were less likely to have a research data management policy (20% [3 out of 15]).

Research Data Policy

Research Data Policy

Similarly, 15% (2 out of 13) of those receiving DCC support had a research data service in place, but this proportion falls to 7% (1 out 15) for un-supported institutions.

Research Data Service

Research Data Service

Thus support, whether through funded projects, DCC support or a mixture of both has a significant impact in policy development. This applies even when such development is not a condition of funding; only MRD-funded projects had such a requirement.

It’s worth noting some overlaps between JISCMRD and DCC support. A few of the institutions in our survey had a bit of both. More generally DCC helped facilitate JISCMRD workshops and have a continuing brief to promote its lessons across other institutions.

Assessing the impact of the JISCMRD programme

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:

  1. Research Data Management Infrastructure (RDMI)
  2. Research Data Management Planning (RDMP)
  3. Support and Tools
  4. Citing, Linking, Integrating and Publishing Research Data (CLIP)
  5. 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, 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 <>. We also hope that, in due course, Jisc itself will show an interest in following up on our findings.

Previous posts in this seriess:

Staffing research data management in UK HEIs

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 %
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 %
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%


  Mean Median
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.


  Mean Median
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 (