Launching SupportDM

Stephen Grace and Our Survey Says….

Yesterday saw the start of  the training strand of the TraD project which is developing skills appropriate to those planning a library-led RDM support service.

SupportDM” is being run as a “blended learning” programme which combines presentations, online learning modules, activities and group reflection. The 5 modules of the course are as follows:

  1. About RDM
  2. Guidance and support for researchers
  3. Data management planning
  4. What to keep and why
  5. Cataloguing and sharing data

Yesterday’s first meeting brought together seven subject librarians at UEL in addition to the Academic Services & Skills Manager, an Assistant Librarian and two Commonwealth Fellows from Ghana and India.

We must do our exercises 

Stephen kicked off the meeting with a course outline covering the topic ‘About RDM’ followed by an icebreaker looking at the findings of the RDM online survey of UEL researchers which we carried out in December and January. This aimed to show that there was a need and a demand for support and not just something we thought was a good idea! The findings were made significantly more interactive by Stephen who conducted a nifty mobile text service poll which allowed participants to answer a question our researchers had been asked. *Stephen was inspired by our attendance at UWE’s  Reskilling for Research Data Management: A Workshop for Academic Librarians*

For example we asked:

“Who Owns The Data?” “What are the Reasons to Share Data” and “What are the Reasons Not to Share Data?” and compared what our delegates’ responses were to what the actual researchers answered. There were some surprising results of course and this propelled the discussion we wanted.

After taking orders for coffee and tea from our local coffee shop on campus, I presented by ‘Introduction to RDM‘ which included various interactive exercises for the group as well.

Data and publication matching exercise - Research data examples

Data and publication matching exercise – Research data examples

The first involved 7 examples of published research data which were passed around the group.  They were then tasked with matching the data with the research publication. Some were obvious, some were not so obvious and also included non-science based data such as  research data in the arts. We also included a publication which had recently been retracted by a journal for “inappropriate figures manipulations” – which we included to highlight how the opening up of data helps in its validation and counters scientific and research fraud. You can read about other examples of this kind of misconduct here.

The presentation also covered the role of librarians in RDM, and I quoted liberally from lots of publications, for example  which asserted the Library’s natural fit in supporting researchers because of their expertise and skills in the University setting.

We ended this section with an activity involving the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) report entitled: Ten recommendations for libraries to get started with research data management

We printed out each recommendation and placed them on the wall around the room *beware using old blue tack, it tends to make a horrible mess after removal* and then using the LIBER 10 Recommendations as a basis, we asked them to add other comments as well as to answer the following:

  • What is the role of libraries and librarians in RDM?
  • Is there something distinctive about the approach we should take at UEL?
Feedback on the liber ten recommendations

Feedback on the liber ten recommendations

We then went through their responses which in turn led to a discussion on what recommendations could be acted upon and what they thought could be achieved at UEL.

Suffice to say, that the beginning of a new course on a subject that was all very new and even possibly daunting, created some interesting responses about what could be realistically achieved!


The end of the day was concluded with details of the homework we are expecting the delegates to carry out between now and the next meeting in a fortnight’s time.

The first is the online course which is being delivered via the University’s VLE (Moodle) and which we’ve tasked our delegates with completing (as well as to provide feedback on).

The first module has been created using Xerte, the open-source tools for e-learning developers, and it contains the following:

Blended learning: SupportDM in Moodle

Blended learning: SupportDM in Moodle

Module 1: About RDM

IMS content package Introducing Research Data

  • A humorous video of when a researcher is asked to share their research data….and the consequences….

IMS content package What is Research Data?

  • The research data lifecycle!

IMS content package Benefits and Drivers

  • Outlines the benefits and drivers of making research data available.

IMS content package Roles and Players

  • Who has an interest in RDM, and why are librarians involved?

The issues and topics covered in the online module will also be discussed at the next meeting.

The second task we gave our delegates has been to get them to understand the research process more fully and to identify how librarians can provide RDM support.

Each delegate has been tasked with carrying out an interview with a researcher (preferably in their subject area) for 30 mins-1 hour and to report back their findings at the next meeting.

Although competing with our delegates’ existing own workload we strongly believe that both exercises will be of benefit in the long-term. We will be providing more details of the second module in two weeks time.



  1. Sarah Jones (@sjDCC) · March 20, 2013

    Great write up guys!

    Looking forward to the next installment

  2. Pingback: What’s it all about? reviewing supportDM Module 1 | datamanagementuel

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