At the UEL Research Conference

UEL has an annual Research and Knowledge Exchange conference where its academic staff and students can share their research with each other and with an invited external audience. Abstracts are submitted for peer review, then the successful authors give a 25-minute presentation on the day. Papers are available in ROAR, UEL’s research archive. The 2013 Conference was held on 26 June, and John and I manned a Research Data Services stand in the conference marquee to explain our services to this key audience.

RDS stand at UEL Research Conference

RDS stand at UEL Research Conference

This was the first public showing for Research Data Services. We prepared a couple of banners, a leaflet and collected useful resources from the DCC and UKDA to hand out to delegates. One banner was to say we can help those writing data management plans (we already know there is a demand for this). The other was to challenge researchers to say yes to the following statements:

I know what I am expected to do with my research data after the project ends

I want to share my data and get recognition for it

I know the best place to ensure long-term access to my data

My data is well described so others can understand and reuse it

I know the legal and ethical restrictions on sharing my data

Research Data Services leaflet

Research Data Services leaflet

The leaflet was based on one created by Leicester University (available here), challenging researchers to think about “What would you do if you lost your research data tomorrow?” and offering a checklist of things to consider around four areas: Create, Organise, Keep and Find & Share. Very many thanks to Dr Andy Burnham for permission to reuse the Leicester leaflet’s text, and to the whole RDM team at Leicester for creating such a useful resource: it is hard to seem engaging in a short leaflet, so offering a checklist of RDM-related issues for people to consider with a clear message of support from central services is a very worthwhile approach. It starts a dialogue with researchers about where they would like support from a central service, and can act as a prompt for taking appropriate action.

Summer had finally arrived and the marquee was sweltering, so we didn’t get as much attention as we’d liked as people rushed through to rehydrate. But it was still worth our while to have a presence, and we engaged with several research-active staff to follow up later.

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