Feb 072012

The 2012 season of Information Hertfordshire Lunchtime Presentations got underway with with a session about Research Data Management.

There was some thoughtful debate which I will post here soon.     My recollection and reflection on the post presentation discussion are given in a comment below.

The presentation on the Service Oriented Toolkit for Research Data Management is available here. (PDF 1.6MB)

  3 Responses to “Information Hertfordshire Lunchtime Presentation on RDM”

  1. […] Bill Worthington from the #rdtk_herts project recently gave a lunchtime presentation at the University of Hertfordshire which provides a useful overview of the Research Data Toolkit Project.  There are sections covering the motivation, national and local policy contexts, benefits/impact and the projects approach and implementation which will be of interest to JISCMRD Projects and other interested parties.  Bill will be following this up with an account of the ‘thoughtful debate’ which his presentation provoked.  See the presentation at: http://research-data-toolkit.herts.ac.uk/2012/02/information-hertfordshire-lunchtime-presentation-on… […]

  2. The discussion following my presentation was lengthy enough to save me from demonstrating some of the pilot services, for which I was thankful, because I had only just taken them out of the box, and it is never a good idea to demonstrate an unfamiliar gadget.

    John Corkery from Pharmacy asked whether the pilot services were people or technology based. This makes an interesting point – the gadgets we will offer will be supported while we try them out, but the current aim is towards self standing guidance and tools that are straightforward enough to access and use without help. This strategy may have to be revisited if RDM turns out to be too difficult. Certainly, the curation end of things will probably remain in the domain of a support service. I know of at least one other JISCMRD project that has set up an ongoing unit to support RDM.

    John also described the way he was ‘self curating’ an audio dataset not directly related to his active research. This is a good example of potentially valuable data being maintained but which is not discoverable – data which might have much more value if it were accessible to a wider, as yet unknown audience.

    Much of the discussion was taken up by policy issues, perhaps prompted by my mention of the responsibility of Principal Investigators as Data Stewards and the very near term requirements of EPSRC with regard to institutional RDM roadmaps. The room was not short of recognition that RDM policy will bring challenges in terms of compliance, but the response was contemplative and not defensive. From this showing it seems that taken in the right spirit, top down policy could be an effective way to instigate change. David Wellsted’s comments illustrated this positive outlook when we were talking about ‘carrots and sticks’:

    I don’t see any sticks, I only see carrots. We should, and do, do all this planning anyway, so there are no additional tasks involved. In fact the addition of University dedicated Research Data Management Planning will simplify our lives and improve the strength of our bids.

    David works with sensitive health related data and comes from a part of the research community which is perforce already well practised at looking after its data. I would suggest the one of the RDM challenges for him is in the issue of re-use: what are the ethical and regulatory permissions needed to publish even anonymised health data?