New release of Research Data MANTRA (Management Training) free online course

The Research Data MANTRA course is an open, online training course that provides instruction in good practice in research data management. There are eight interactive learning units on key topics such as data management planning, organising and formatting data, using shared data and licensing your own data, as well as four data handling tutorials with open datasets for use in R, SPSS, NVivo and ArcGIS.

This fourth release of MANTRA has been revised and systematically updated with new content, videos, reading lists, and interactive quizzes. Three of the data handling tutorials have been rewritten and tested for newer software versions too.

New content in the online learning modules with the September, 2014 release:

  • New video footage from previous interviewees and introducing Richard Rodger, Professor of Economic and Social History and Stephen Lawrie, Professor of Psychiatry & Neuro-Imaging
  • Big Data now in Research Data Explained
  • Data citation and ‘reproducible research’ added to Documentation and Metadata
  • Safe password practice and more on encryption in Storage and Security
  • Refined information about the DPA and IPR in Data Protection, Rights and Access   Linked Open Data and CC 4.0 and CC0 now covered in Sharing, Preservation & Licensing

MANTRA was originally created with funding from Jisc and is maintained by EDINA and Data Library, a division of Information Services, University of Edinburgh. It is an integral part of the University’s Research Data Management Programme and is designed to be modular and self-paced for maximum convenience; it is a non-assessed training course targeted at postgraduate research students and early career researchers. Data management skills enable researchers to better organise, document, store and share data, making research more reproducible and preserving it for future use. Researchers in 144 countries used MANTRA last year, which is available without registration from the website. Postgraduate training organisations in the UK, Canada, and Australia have used the Creative Commons licensed material in the Jorum repository to create their own training.

RDM training

Feedback from attendees at a recent RDM overview session in the University Library pointed to a few areas of concern:

  • Protecting future research based on data collected in a project.
  • Difficulties in sharing due to confidentiality agreements signed by participants several years ago. Participants can not be contacted retrospectively as the sensitive nature of the research demanded that personal details were not retained.
  • Computer Scientists have practices in place for dealing with data – de-duplication, compression, etc.
  • Requirement for service to support data processing and analysis – High Performance Computing.

These illustrate areas where advice and guidance would be welcomed and where there is a need to raise awareness of existing services. For example, some funders are happy for grant recipients to protect access to their research data so that they can publish the results of their research. EPSRC is one such funder, check out their research data principles ( In addition, we have a High Performance Computing service at Loughborough and researchers can request time on this (