Research Data Management Workshop

Firstly I should introduce myself; I’m UELs new Research Data Management Officer. I performed a similar role at the University of Glasgow, working on the C4D project. The outcome for Glasgow was a live data repository built on the EPrints platform. I am excited to now be part of the team at UEL, where we have an excellent opportunity to provide a fantastic new RDM infrastructure and service to our staff and students.


Stephen and I ran a Research Data Management Workshop yesterday in our Stratford Campus. We had 11 participants, from a variety of backgrounds. We aimed to give a wide outline of the importance of good RDM and the services we offer in the library.2013-11-05 12.33.04

12.00     Welcome and Introductions

12.15     Presentation on managing your research data

13.00     Briefing on exercise using a simple Data Management Plan template

13.30     Feedback and discussion on exercise, and next steps

14.00     Close

Stephen led the introduction and invited the participants to tell us and each other about the sort of research they do, and their relationship with data. There was a very good variety of research data being created and reused, from sensitive patient data, foreign government data, and interviews, to large quantitative datasets.

Stephen then started the presentation on managing your research data. I took over at one point and gave information on backing up and securing data. Once I had finish Stephen finished off by talking about Data Management Plans.

We then took a short break and encouraged everyone to have a go at completing a sample data management plan we provided, based on work by the DCC. The feedback at the time suggests that this was very helpful. Some saying that it helped make what they need to do for their research clearer.

We gathered the DMPs and plan on providing feedback to those who left their email addresses.

Our feedback forms show that overall the workshop was very well received. It has also given us ideas on how we can improve the flow in future. We are very pleased with the level of interest shown by the participants, reinforcing our view on the importance of providing good support for research at UEL.


Writing a Data Management Plan

Yesterday I ran a 2hr workshop with Sarah Jones (Digital Curation Centre) on writing a DMP. We had six participants from across UEL, who were very engaged and willing to participate – making the trainers’ task more enjoyable. The aim was to introduce the rationale and structure of DMPs, to look at some real-world examples and to start drafting a plan for one’s own research project. Here is the outline of the workshop:

  • 12:00 Welcome and introductions
  • 12:15 Data Management Planning presentation by Sarah Jones
  • 12:45 Walk through example plans
  • 13:15 Work through a template to create a DMP
  • 13:45 Feedback and summary

In the introduction we heard about the data activity of participants, both research students and staff. Sarah then walked through the need to have a data management plan when seeking Research Council funding, but also stressed that they are useful tools for researchers themselves (even without an external requirement). She highlighted the common topics covered by plans, whether from funders or institutions. And we had a walkthrough of DMPonline (in its new improved version, in beta at which helps create a plan customised to a particular need.

Next we looked at a couple of real DMPs – the sample AHRC Technical Plan offered by the University of Bristol (which helpfully includes the assessor’s comments on each section of the plan), and a UK Data Archive one from the ESRC/BBSRC/NERC Rural Economy and Land Use programme. These helped to reassure the participants that DMPs are not long or complicated, and laid the ground for the next exercise – drafting a plan using a straightforward template.

We reused the Research360 project’s template devised for PGR students at the University of Bath. This uses six basic headings, with more specific questions under each to prompt authors:

  • Overview
  • Defining your data
  • Looking after your data
  • Sharing your data
  • Archiving your data
  • Executing your plan

We’re grateful to Jez Cope the template’s creator and to Bath for making the template available under a CC-BY licence, which allows others to reuse and adapt it. The template is available in Bath’s OPUS repository (at, as is a similar one for research staff.

I wrapped up the workshop with a quick mention of Research Data Services, the support service we are developing at UEL to help staff and students manage their research data. We got some good ideas about what this should cover from participants, so thanks for that. Participants took away a copy of Sarah’s DCC guide on writing DMPs and the UK Data Archive’s Managing and Sharing Data, and an offer to review any plan they worked up after the workshop.

How did we do? Researcher Development Programme workshops in RDM

Myself and Stephen ran a two-hour workshop  called “Managing your research data” together with Sarah Jones from the DCC on 1st and 2nd of May.

The course was part of the Researcher Development Programme organised by Dr Caroline Dunmore in the Graduate School. Stephen blogged about the workshops here.

The following post collates the feedback forms from 24 respondents out of 32 attendees and we hope this is of use to others who may be thinking of offering similar workshops to research staff or students.

Researcher Developement Programme: RDM Workshop 2

Researcher Development Programme: RDM Workshop 2

The responses that we received on what was useful and/or enjoyable about the workshop were as follows:

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Overwhelmed: our first researcher workshops at UEL

John and I ran a two-hour workshop  called “Managing your research data” together with Sarah Jones from the DCC on Wednesday and Thursday this week.  Everyone who booked attended, and several others turned up as well – despite taking a few extra folders, I had to nip out to my desk and make up some more during a break in Thursday’s session.

The course was part of the Researcher Development Programme organised by Dr Caroline Dunmore in the Graduate School, who advertised it to all staff and research students in the weekly newsletter. John also emailed each Dean of School and Research Leader to ask them to encourage their researchers to sign up. This all happened within a week or so of the event and the turn-out (and feedback) suggests we have provided something of use. What did the workshop comprise?

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