May 042012

The second project Steering Group meeting took place on 30th March with Professor John Senior, Pro Vice -Chancellor (Research) in the chair.  The meeting considered and approved  Terms of Reference for the Stakeholder Group, and a 6 month progress report. Some re-scheduling of work packages and modifications to the risk register were also approved.

The meeting papers are attached below:


Apr 042012

The first project Steering Group meeting took place on 9th December with Professor John Senior, Pro Vice -Chancellor (Research) in the chair.  The meeting approved the RTDK project plan and considered terms of reference and a risk register.

The meeting papers are attached below:

Mar 302012

This is a very lengthy blog to catch up on a couple of months of non-stop JISCMRDness and set out the position of RTDK at the end of month six. There will be some seriously dry reporting later but I am going to start with an emotive whiz through a very busy but rewarding period.

February was a head down month, in which we pressed on with actual hands on things, and I tried to balance technical work with project management, with the odd programme event thrown in for entertainment.

Continue reading »

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)

Feb 022012

University of Hertfordshire’s Data Management Policy, updated in 2011, contains several documents and appendices which govern how data in general, and research data in particular, should be gathered, used, disposed of, or retained. There is a section dedicated to research data in the Main policy document and an Appendix to support it.

In a nutshell, the policy says that:

The University owns data generated by its research; it expects data to be managed and shared in a robust and professional manner; and it places the responsibility for proper research data management with the Principal Investigator.

Continue reading »

Jan 222012

Research DataToolKit Guidance for Researchers
University of Hertfordshire internal use only. Draft version 0.1. 

How do I access my networked shared storage?
All staff have a personal area (U:drive) and departmental shared area (S:drive). If you are using a Windows machine on the staff network with the Novell client, your U: and S: drives should appear automatically when you open ‘My Computer’ or press Cmd-E.

What is the easiest way to use my U:drive?
Once you have opened U: for the first time make a folder within it to work in (Right click… New Folder). Click on this folder once to highlight it, then hold the Alt key down and drag the icon to a blank part of your desktop to make a shortcut. You can also Alt-drag the folder to your favourites area in an open file explorer, or on Windows 7, to the new taskbar. On subsequent sessions all you have to do is open one of these shortcuts, which will open your network storage, and then you can work start working with documents there.

Can Apple Macs use networked storage?
Yes – as long as the Mac is on the staff network. Finding your network storage is more difficult, but once you locate it the experience is just as good as for Windows. If you are a researcher RDTK can assist you, otherwise you should ask for the path to your network storage and find your way via Cmd-K (Go…Connect to Server…). Once you have mounted your network drives for the first time, follow the advice about working with shortcuts in the previous question, using the equivalent Mac commands (to make a shortcut/alias, use Cmd-Alt-drag). Continue reading »

Jan 202012

A rigorous Data Management Plan (DMP) is becoming an increasingly important device for any research project. It is hard to think of any activity than does not result in data in its broadest sense, and funding bodies are rapidly moving to a position where all grant applications will require a DMP. In addition, University of Hertfordshire’s Data Management Policy explicitly states that:

‘Data management is an essential and integral part of the responsible conduct of research’

Over and above regulation and meeting funder’s needs, the process of devising an appropriate plan can be an effective project planning tool and the plan can contribute to the quality of the outcomes of a project.

So what goes in a plan?Everything that pertains to the acquisition of, safe working with, and disposal or re-use of, research data.

The JISC funded Digital Curation Centre (DCC) has developed an online tool which greatly assists the process of making a Data Management Plan.  See

Continue reading »

Jan 182012

On the face of it, the data storage needs of researchers at University of Hertfordshire are generally well provided for within our ‘local cloud’.

The case for this statement is as follows:

  • all staff have a personal allocation of secure, robust, networked storage, accessible on and off campus (U:drive)
  • all staff have access to similar shared networked storage associated with their department or school of study (S:drive)
  • additional shared space, with access limited to a research group or centre, is available on request (R:drive)
  • all reasonable requests for storage resources from researchers who do not have the support of a specialist facility, can be, and are, supported

Nevertheless, the discussion we have had so far with researchers indicates that take-up of this centralised offer is poor. There are, as you might expect, many reasons for this picture. A few researchers are simply not aware they possess a notional 5GB of networked storage. A few don’t think to ask or don’t know who to ask about extending their provision. More common though, is the situation where people do not use their facility because of usability issues. These issues are sometimes real but often just perceived. Continue reading »

Jan 062012

This light-hearted yet deadly serious quiz is offered in response to Simon Hodson’s post about Bad RDM Practice.

Results as of mid-February:  a statistically insignificant three way tie!

Answer Votes Vote Count/Percentage
life continued blissfully unaware of a near miss 3 Votes(33%)
the research data in the laptop and backup portable disk were both destroyed 0 Votes(0%)
one or other copy of the data survived but it took a lot of effort and worry to retrieve it 3 Votes(33%)
the bio-hazard team arrived to impound my mug 3 Votes(33%)


The question is still open below.


Dec 072011

Composite usage snapshotThis is a quick note follow up on Brian Kelly’s blogging session from last week. This site uses WordPress with a kind of half way house between and a local installation – I am lucky enough that my colleagues in some far off basement maintain a shared installation of WordPress. This means it gets backed up and protected but at the same time I can manage the #rdtk_herts instance pretty much as I like and have full control over the look and feel and plugins. Definitely the best of both worlds.

If you are using WordPress, and haven’t already done so, I’d recommend installing a Google Analytics plugin.

Continue reading »

Nov 302011

Work package WP1 – Audit current RDM practice at University of Hertfordshire

Cardio and DAF : We have agreed a plan with Andrew McHugh of the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) to carry out a Cardio Assessment with key UH stakeholders, followed by a Data Asset Framework (DAF) exercise with one of our large research groups in Health and Human Sciences.  Working with the Andrew will hopefully allow us to equip our own staff to deploy DCC tools and methods in the future, whilst conducting an effective audit in the present. The DCC have match funding, so project money spent with them is doubled up and looks like good value.  The micro plan for the Cardio deployment is this:

  • engage stakeholders (November, #rdtk_herts project team)
  • introduction workshop, in which DCC introduce the audit methodology (December, All stakeholders, DCC led, 1hour)
  • individual RDM assessments using the DCC’s online Cardio assessment tool (December/January, All stakeholders, at their convenience)
  • aggregate and analyse results (January, DCC)
  • feedback workshop (January, All stakeholders, DCC led, 1-2 hour)

Continue reading »

Nov 152011

After five days of workshops, break out sessions, seminars and groups tasks at RDMF7 and DCC Roadshow Cambridge, this JISC project manager is now well versed in the language and lore of Research Data Management (RDM). As is often the case with these kind of events, you come away with more questions than answers, and having embarked with a fair idea of what I was doing, the RDM ‘horizon’ receded at times into a haze of unresolved issues. To bring back some perspective and to report back to my colleagues at University of Hertfordshire I did some reflection. This is a cut down version for public consumption.

Continue reading »

Oct 102011

University of Hertfordshire published new policy and guidelines for staff with regard to Data Management on September 1, 2011. Most of the policy and its appendices are available publicly on the University’s Policy and Regulation web site under Data Management Policy.

Since this is a regulatory document, the language is ‘quasi-legal’, full of cross references to other policy, and naturally University of Hertfordshire centric.  However the main Policy Document does contain a useful and generally applicable set of definitions with regard to data, its owners and users.

Continue reading »