The promise of institutional RDM support at UEL

I know that several universities are struggling to support their researchers with an RDM support service and infrastructure – even those in the Jisc MRD programme who have been able to document extensive evidence of demand. So I am very pleased that the University of East London has committed funds next financial year to help build such a service, as promised in our RDM policy:

LLS will develop by 1 May 2015 an infrastructure and support service for research data created in consultation with Schools and Services. This will include a portal for datasets which are suitable for sharing.

We had undertaken a staff/student survey (see our blog) to get a snapshot of the ways researchers are managing research data at UEL, what issues they have and what they would like to see. The top four wants were

  • Written guidance on procedures
  • Training for staff, students and support staff
  • Help when writing Data Management Plans
  • Additional personal or shared storage

Of course, we will undertake more extensive consultation to know what is wanted by researchers. And we will discover and document what support our colleagues in other central services can offer. I think an RDM website is a priority for the summer, pointing to existing internal support and the wealth of external guidance even ahead of a dedicated service. I will look to see what we can achieve in the TraD project before it ends that adds to the training aspects those of guidance, support and infrastructure. The many outputs of other MRD projects will help greatly here.

Our Associate Director Gurdish Sandhu had been advocating for good management of research data since 2009, when she presented the findings of the Keeping Research Data Safe report to the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee. And our Director Cathy Walsh has been able to argue that Library and Learning Services is able to lead an RDM support service, building on our existing skills and a track record of delivering technology-enabled services with a customer focus.

Of course, there is more than enough work for me, and I hope to make a further announcement in the next week in this area…

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