LIKE a lot: Introducing RDM to a wider audience

On Thursday 25 April I gave an evening talk about research data and universities to a strange-sounded organisation by the name of LIKE. I’m still unsure how to pronounce this acronym (similar to Nike I suppose) but it stands for London Information and Knowledge Exchange and according to their web page is a “community of Library, Information, Knowledge and Communication professionals. We meet monthly to share stories, learn and exchange knowledge in an informal and relaxed setting.” It’s a social gathering as well as a learning environment and as people pay to attend holds a captive audience which I was grateful for.

Velichka presenting on open data

Velichka presenting on open data

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M25 annual conference

No, its not for afficionados of London’s orbital motorway but for librarians – I attended the M25 Consortium’s annual conference at the Wellcome Collection yesterday.

The M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries is a collaborative organisation that works to improve library and information services within the M25 region and more widely across the East and Southeast

The conference was wide ranging – with MOOCs, engaging with students, linked open data and open source library management systems all on the agenda. There was also an hour of research data management before lunch. Dr Jonathan Tedds from Leicester gave a good presentation on open data and the depth of data creation in astronomy, then I talked about how libraries can support researchers in managing their data.

The conference theme was The Joy of Sharing, and I entitled my talk “Sharing the load: librarians and research data support services“. You can see it on SlideShare. I wanted to reassure the audience that researchers would be happy to have support and guidance in managing and sharing their research data, and that librarians had relevant skills. These skills may need to be augmented with specific expertise in RDM, but such an enhanced skillset will make one eminently employable. DCC publications, the supportDM course and the wealth of material from the other projects in Jisc’s MRD project will allow other universities to get started in RDM support. We shall certainly be making productive use of MRD outputs when we plan our RDM support service at UEL this summer.

RDM: Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations

Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Workshop: Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations, 25-26 March 2013, Aston Business School

The Trad project attended the two day event which was a review of the second Managing Research Data programme (2011-13) funded by Jisc. I think it’s worthwhile to show the entire list of projects here on the blog because they have been incredibly wide-ranging and catholic.


A Data Management Infrastructure for Research (ADMIRe)
CERIF for Datasets (C4D)
Data Management Planning and Storage for Psychology (DMSPpsych)
Data Management Planning for Secure Services
Data Management Rollout at Oxford (DaMaRO)
Data Management Skills and Support Initiative – Assessment, Benchmarking and Classification (DaMSSI-ABC)
DATUM in Action – Supporting researchers to plan and manage their research data
Essex Research Data Repository (Essex-RDR)
History DMP
Journal Research Data Policy Bank (JoRD)
Managing Research Data: a pilot study in Health and Life Sciences
MaRDI-Gross: Managing Research Data Infrastructures – Big Science
MiSS (MaDAM Into Sustainable Service)
Open Exeter
Portable Infrastructure for the Metafor Metadata System (PIMMS)
PREPARDE: Peer REview for Publication & Accreditation of Research Data in the Earth sciences
Publisher, Repository and Institutional Metadata Exchange (PRIME)
Rapid Organisation of Health Research Data (ROHRD) Phase 1
Research Data Management for Mechanical Engineering Departments (REDm-MED)
Research Data Management Training for the whole project lifecycle in Physics & Astronomy research (RDMTPA)
Service Oriented Toolkit for Research Data Management
Sound Data Management Training (SoDaMaT)
Sustainable Management of Digital Music Research Data
SWORD-ARM: SWORD & Archaeological Research data Management
The OXFORD DMPonline Project
TraD: Training for Data Management at UEL

Yes, that’s us listed right at the bottom, alphabetically of course. Quite apart from listening in to all of the other projects talk about their RDM outputs we were also there to talk about our own work so far on the project. Set within the Training section of the Workshop we gave a 12 minute presentation entitled “Supporting RDM through training staff and students“.

It was useful again to hear from Andrew Cox at RDMRose on their work tailored for information professionals and the freely (and updated) materials that are available online. It is closely related to our own supportDM course that we are running for subject librarians here at UEL.

In terms of subject-specific training Dr Jo Goodger from the University of Hertfordshire spoke about RDM Training for Physics and Astronomy students – a useful comparison with our own psychology and geoinformatics training. It was also a reminder that different disciplines required different RDM training – something we could use if we expand RDM training across other subjects at UEL.

A very insightful and reflective presentation from Mariëtte van Selm presenting SIR – a library-led RDM programme at the University of Amsterdam and it was humbling to hear how others from outside the UK have been admiring the progress that the programme has made in RDM in the UK.

What we learnt from our own presentation feedback was the following:

  • Get students to feedback at the initial meeting (and give them lunch in return for feedback!)
  • To ask ourselves: “What stage were the psychology students at?” The point being that the RDM “message” might not have been appropriate to first year students.
  • We were also asked about timing of the courses and we responded that next time we would aim to put it the training into the research methods module of the Psychology doctoral courses.

Other things we learnt:

  1. An excellent “traffic light” checklist system of asking researchers about data management planning from Laurence Horton at the The Archive and Data Management Training Center at Gesis Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften in Cologne. Laurence discussed how hard it is to develop exercises that stimulate, although lectures/presentations are easier. This is an interesting case in point as we look to plan how we deliver our subject-specific training materials, for example, lectures versus tasks.
  2. We need to share the modules from our supportDM courses with the community, this is largely a technical/packaging issue and we’re full of hope this will appear soon. There seems to be a ready appetite for this material and will add to RDMRose materials but also Edinburgh’s DIY toolkit for librarian training, to build confidence. (Edinburgh used MANTRA as pre-reading, with sessions a month apart, expert facilitators and guest speakers, reflective writing questions to think as a researcher, used Purdue University’s data curation profiles as the basis for researcher interviews, with an overall emphasis is on facilitation rather than teaching).
  3. Many things that came out from the two day workshop will feed into UEL’s developing roadmap for RDM. It was good to see that there were some tools and other resources that we can pick up quite easily such as Essex’s ePrints data repository.

We also entered into the project poster competition which we didn’t win but we definitely learnt how not to do a poster. See for yourself. We were missing arrows and circles (we think).

One last thing to mention is the tribute to Simon Hodson, our programme manager from Jisc whose hard work has helped the projects achieve so much. Stephen and I can certainly add our own voices to that chorus!

Data Management and all that TraD

Welcome to the data management blog for the University of East London.

UEL adopted a policy on managing research data in March 2012. Yesterday we received the letter confirming a grant for our TraD project from the JISC. TraD stands for “Training for Data management”, and is an eleven-month project to May 2013 that will embed data management training at UEL in three areas:

  • Training postgraduate students in Computer Science and Psychology as part of their courses
  • Running workshops as part of the Researcher Development Programme organised by the Graduate School
  • Developing and testing an online learning module for research support and subject librarians involved in supporting data management at UEL

We will be releasing learning materials under CC-BY licences  and sharing our experiences with UEL and others involved in data management. TraD is a collaboration between four teams at UEL and two external partners

  • Library and Learning Services (project lead)
  • School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering
  • School of Psychology
  • Graduate School
  • Digital Curation Centre
  • Library and Information Research Group

More details will follow as we get TraD underway.