Jun 052014
 

The Service Oriented Toolkit for Research Data Management project was co-funded by the JISC Managing Research Data Programme 2011-2013 and The University of Hertfordshire. The project focused on the realisation of practical benefits for operationalising an institutional approach to good practice in RDM. The objectives of the project were to audit current best practice, develop technology demonstrators with the assistance of leading UH research groups, and then reflect these developments back into the wider internal and external research community via a toolkit of services and guidance. The overall aim was to contribute to the efficacy and quality of research data plans, and establish and cement good data management practice in line with local and national policy.

The final report is available via http://hdl.handle.net/2299/13636

Blog Survey based on Digital Asset Framework http://bit.ly/18QUZR9
Survey Survey results http://bit.ly/1ao74vy
Report Survey analysis http://bit.ly/128uGMK
Blog UH Research Data Policy in a nutshell http://bit.ly/14cXC9w
Artefact Interview protocol, used by project analyst and RDM champions http://bit.ly/12Jr9KZ
Case studies 12 Case Studies http://bit.ly/19MjnD3
Review Review of cloud storage services: features, costs, issues for HE http://bit.ly/12Jn2yz
Blog Files in the cloud http://bit.ly/R583If
Test data Files transfer rate tests http://bit.ly/1266WsJ
Blog Analysis of barriers to use of local networked storage http://bit.ly/12Gleqg
Blog Hybrid-Cloud model: when the cloud works and the attraction of Dropbox et al. http://bit.ly/Xvmidr
Blog Hybrid-Cloud example: Zendto on Rackspace, integrated with local systems http://bit.ly/11In83q
Service UH file exchange https://www.exchangefile.herts.ac.uk/
Blog Cost of ad-hoc storage http://bit.ly/19ilycQ
Blog Cost of data loss event http://bit.ly/13RSckb
Blog Reflection on use of Rackspace CloudFiles
Blog Data Encryption http://bit.ly/XxDoEM
Training Data Encryption workshop http://bit.ly/11rwLXA
Training Data Encryption guide http://bit.ly/QHyN2y
Blog Document Management for Clinical Trials http://bit.ly/15cfT5K
Artefact eTMF – electronic Trial Master File, 1954 legacy documents scanned no public access
Artfifact Research Project File Plan http://bit.ly/11InVkW
Workflow Post award storage allocation
Workflow Request ‘Research Storage’ Form http://bit.ly/17V7J8t
Workflow Research Grant and Storage Process http://bit.ly/14kvCB0
Workflow Request ‘Research Storage’ Workflow http://bit.ly/12d2aJP
Service R: (R drive), workgroup space with external access access by workgroups
Service DMS, workgroup space with external access access by workgroups
Dataset 4 Oral history datasets, ~300 interviews, 125GB http://bit.ly/uh-hhub
Dataset 1 Leisure studies dataset, SPSS survey, interviews, transcripts, 8GB in preparation
Blog Comparison of data licenses http://bit.ly/12DmXfR
Report Comparison of data licenses http://bit.ly/13NC7gA
Service UHRA repository improvements phase 1 http://uhra.herts.ac.uk/
Blog DOIs for datasets, includes mind map http://bit.ly/QonFoN
Workflow Deposit/access criteria for data with a levels of openness http://bit.ly/12cUqrq
Service RDM micro site (aka Research Data Toolkit), 100+ pages and pdfs of RDM guidance http://bit.ly/uh-rdm
Report Register of Programme engagement at external events, estimated audience 480, ~300 individuals Appendix A
Blog Programme engagement: 38 Blog posts http://research-data-toolkit.herts.ac.uk/
Presentation Association of Research Managers and Administrators Conference 2013 http://bit.ly/ZXv8RK
Presentation UH RDM Stakeholder briefing June 2012 http://bit.ly/11KkJGo
Presentation UH HeaIth and Human Sciences research forum July 2012 http://bit.ly/15cDUKb
Presentation JISCMRD progress workshop Nottingham 2012: storage http://bit.ly/10qpry3
Presentation JISCMRD progress workshop Nottingham 2012: repository http://bit.ly/126zjab
Presentation JISCMRD progress workshop Nottingham 2012: training http://bit.ly/15cH1lj
Presentation JANET/JISCMRD Storage Requirements workshop Paddington 2013 http://bit.ly/12QFu9S
Presentation JISCMRD benefits evidence workshop Bristol 2013 http://bit.ly/ZXE09Y
Presentation JISCMRD progress workshop Aston 2013: training http://bit.ly/11t3Lg0
Presentation JISCMRD progress workshop Aston 2013: agent of change http://bit.ly/13NVIgH
Presentation JISCMRD progress workshop Aston 2013: storage http://bit.ly/19Juixf
Report Register of programme engagement at UH events: interviews (~60), meetings, seminars , workshops. Total attendance 400, est 200-300 individuals Appendix B
DMP 10 data management plans, facilitated by RDM champions and Research Grants Advisor limited public access
Report 6 project manager’s reports to Steering Group no public access
Report Benefits report http://bit.ly/19V1rWS
Report Final Report http://hdl.handle.net/2299/13636

Conclusions

There are many conclusions that could be drawn from the project. These are the headlines:

  • JISCMRD has been a success at UH.
  • The RDTK project has made an impact in awareness raising and service development, and made good inroads into professional development and training. There are good materials, a legacy of knowledge and a retained group of people to sustain and develop the learning.
  • We believe the service orientated approach shows that better technology can facilitate better RDM and the project has been an effective Agent for Change.
  • We also understand that advocacy and training are as important as technology to bring about cultural change.
  • Funding body policy and the implications of the ever increasing volume of data are understood. The business case is clear: the University cannot afford not to invest in RDM.
  • JISCMRD phase2 has been an effective vehicle for knowledge transfer and collaboration. It provided an environment in which a new and complex discipline, and the many, interacting, conflicting, seemingly endless issues therein, could be explored with common cause and mutual support.

Recommendations

JISCMRD activity should continue, and try to reach the part of the research community that is least able to adopt RDM best practice without assistance, and won’t do so as a matter of course. A profitable strand for JISCMRD3 would be Collaborative Services. Appropriate services would include joint RDM support services, or shared specific services, such as regional repositories (including DOI provision) or shared workgroup storage facilities. Institutions with advanced RDM capability could play a mentoring role. Another key strand would be Benefit of Data Re-use; to gather examples of innovative data use and academic merit and reward for individual data publishers.

The DCC should continue in its institutional support role. It should consolidate its DMPonline tool toward a cloud service, with features to allow organisational branding, and template merging. It should place new emphasis on the selection and publishing of data, with a signposting tool for Tier 1 and Tier 2 repositories for subject specific data, including selection criteria, metadata requirements, and citation rates.

Opportunities for organisations to learn from each other and establish collaborations, which have been effective at JISCMRD2 workshops, should continue to be facilitated in some way. In addition, more attempts should be made to reach researchers directly in order to demonstrate the potential personal benefit of good RDM.

The JISC should continue to pursue national agreements via the JANET brokerage. These negotiations should be widened beyond Infrastructure as a Service to include RDM Applications as a Service (RAaaS), for example, Backup as a Service, Workgroup Storage, and Repository as a Service. The goal should be to achieve terms of use which satisfy institutional purchasing, IP and governance requirements; whilst allowing for acquisition by smaller intra-institutional units, from faculty, down to workgroup level. (JISC GRAIL- Generic Rdm Applications Independently Licenced) might be suitable brand for this activity. In addition, JANET should press cloud vendors for an alternative to ‘pay-by-access’ for data which is a barrier to uptake in fixed cost project work.

May 202014
 

Research Data Management Training for the whole project lifecycle in Physics & Astronomy was co-funded by the JISC Managing Research Data Programme 2011-2013 and the University of Hertfordshire. The project was carried out in parallel with other JISCMRD work at University of Hertfordshire and collaborated with researchers in Centre for Astrophysics Research (CAR) and the Centre for Atmospheric & Instrumentation Research (CAIR) to develop a short course in RDM for Post-Graduate and early career researchers in the physical sciences. It adopted a whole project lifecycle approach, covering issues from data management planning, through good data safekeeping, to curation options and arrangements for data reuse. The resultant short course is available via 4 modules at www.jorum.ac.uk.

The final report is available via http://hdl.handle.net/2299/13638

Output / Outcome Type Brief Description and URLs (where applicable)
UH DMPonline Template Progression from a RDM checklist within our UH Data Policy, to a DMPonline template that fulfils the UH data policy and stands alone as a record of the treatment and location of data.
Project Website Including guidance on best-practice RDM for topics related to the lifecycle of research projects and the following training materials http://bit.ly/uh-rdm
Training Slides Presentation slides covering 18 topics within four RDM sessions, available via JORUM

1 – Planning a project http://find.jorum.ac.uk/resources/18502

2 – Getting started http://find.jorum.ac.uk/resources/18503

3 – Safeguarding your data http://find.jorum.ac.uk/resources/18504

4 – Finishing touches http://find.jorum.ac.uk/resources/18505

Trainer Notes Aims and key points for each slide of the training.
Discipline Packages Examples to make the generic advice relevant in physical sciences; Physics and Astronomy. Also in Health sciences, History, and Business.   (Additional packages to follow in the coming months.)
How to choose training Advice on which training is suitable and how these materials can be used in training sessions for researchers, research students, support and technical staff within and without UH.
Case Studies Descriptions of 12 projects, highlighting RDM practices, and key issues and solutions that have affected researchers throughout the university, posted on our RDM website for the benefit of other researchers in the university. http://bit.ly/uh-rdmcs
Current and best-practice assessment Formal and informal interviews with researchers in Astronomy, Physics, Maths, Robotics, and Atmospherics to discuss the bespoke solutions they have adopted and the applicability of our RDM tools to the physical sciences.
Development Blogs Blog summaries on

  • the progression from RDM training sessions for astronomers to generic training sessions for researchers in all disciplines,
  • the development of the website
  • the development of the UH DMP Template
  • http://research-data-toolkit.herts.ac.uk/
Evaluation of Training Feedback evaluated after each training session used to improve training sessions in particular the content and duration.
Improved data management in astronomy research students Follow up interviews with research students demonstrated improved awareness of data management, preservation requirements and security of data.
Workshop presentations This work has been presented at JISC workshops and RDM training related meetings;24/10/12 – JISC Building Institutional RDM Meeting in Nottingham “RDM Training for Physics and Astronomy”26/10/12 – RDM Training Stand workshop “RDMTPA at UH”25/03/13 – JISC RDM Meeting in Birmingham “RDM Training at UH”
Presentations for researchers “Introduction to RDM” presented to researchers, staff and students.

  • Staff development: 16/10/12, and 30/04/13
  • GTR:   13/05/13
  • For Astronomy PGRS: 23/10/12
  • For STRI new PGRS: 01/03/13

Research Group seminars are planned for the autumn term 2013.

“Preserving Digital Data at UH” presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in St Andrews, 1-5/07/13.

Jul 092013
 

One of the results of the DAF at UH showed that researchers were open to training materials as long as they’re not long-winded or too generic.  However, the results of my interviews in Science and Technology, and interviews in the other research institutes by our champions, show that the best practice for looking after working data, including the storage and sharing of sensitive data, is universal.  This means that although training based on this best practice is largely generic, advertising it as such will not attract researchers.

I have tested an ‘Introduction to RDM’ course as an hour-long session aimed at new research students in the centre for astrophysical research (CAR).  As only first years are required to attend, there were only six students at this session last November.  As an introduction, the session included why RDM is important and a summary of the DMP topics, with a basic DMP handed out during the session for the students to complete.

The feedback was positive and all of these students appear to have benefited from a better understanding of back-up policies and the storage solutions available to them.

This was encouraging and we continued to plan a RDM session in our ‘Generic Training for Researchers’ (GTR) program.  Here in lies our biggest issue with training sessions.  As the RDM introduction session is both broad and generic, its relevance is not immediately clear to researchers.  They are also very busy and cannot justify spending an hour in a session that may not give them enough information to make it useful.

Making the session longer would allow us to give more details, but it is still generic training.  We have also had little interest from researcher students as it is not compulsory beyond the first year.  We’re now considering a different name for the session, perhaps “planning and managing your data”, or something that can be identified as relating to the DMPs that researchers will recognise.

So our strategy to train researchers is to run staff development courses on the tools, attach topics to existing training sessions, and run a poster campaign to advertise the website so researchers can get the answers and examples themselves quickly and easily.  This resolves the issue of a ‘time consuming training session’, but will get our best practice advice across in other sessions.

For research students, we plan to include RDM twice annually in the GTR program and in the department training programs. Even if only first year students are reached, we hope that it will spread by word-of-mouth to their peers and within 3 years, all of the researcher students will have had the training.  The change in student’s RDM behaviour will hopefully be noticed by their support team, who will then also benefit from their students’ training; a secondary method of getting best practice advice to our researchers.

Finally, we will be rolling out training to the service and technical staff so that they can all support the tools and the researchers when it comes to RDM.

So that we can re-use the materials for all audiences and so that future trainers can also target their RDM sessions, I have split our training into 18 topics and produced a table to help trainers choose which slides to combine for their session.   The slides for finishing projects are not ready yet as the guidance for preservation is still inconclusive, but the table below shows the scope of what the training will include.  The training will also include packages of examples for the research groups which will make the training relevant when delivered in the departmental programs.  These topic  presentations will be recorded using Camtasia this autumn so that they can be watched by researchers online if they want a refresher; this may be preferred training to reading a  how-to guide.

This table should help you select which slide packages to use for training different audiences

This table should help you select which slide packages to use for training different audiences

Jul 092013
 

We are not the first institute to produce a website of advice for our researchers, and we wont be the last.  We already have in place the UH public website and two intranet resources; studynet, where students and staff communicate about courses and where information about research is available, and staffnet, which gives information on policies and research services such as the intellectual property and contracts office (IPACS) and the research grants office.  It struck us that while much of the information related to good RDM is available on these sites, only one site is openly available and the information relating to remote access for example is only available on a internal site.

We therefore decided that our advice and guidance would be best placed on the UH public website.  This does limit the look of the RDM site as we have no control over colour schemes or formats, and we have limited choices for the layout of case studies and the advice.  Hopefully, future iterations of the UH website will include more flexibility for its micro sites and we will be able to include dynamic content.

We chose to include as much information and advice as possible so that if people are not available for one-to-one assistance beyond this project, sufficient advice would be on the site.  We currently have 50 pages covering 18 RDM topics as well as additional pages on governance, training, and examples.  There are 6 main sections, covering the RDM life cycle; planning, starting, working, and finishing, as well as training and legal issues.  These section were chosen to cover an equal number of topics and as sensible splits in the life cycle.  The training materials are also divided into the four RDM life cycle sections.

The site is written in a relaxed tone with language which is not overcomplicated so that it is useful to researchers, research students, and support staff. We are now concentrating on open images to illustrate the site and supporting guides for the tools, whilst getting feedback on the content of the site from our stakeholders and all of the contacts that we have made during our project.  This includes collecting more case studies and getting authorisation to publish those that we have already written up.  We are now hoping to publish the site by the end of July at the same time as publishing our UH DMP Template.

Update May 2014 : the re-branded RDM pages are now available at http://bit.ly/uh-rdm

Apr 082013
 

Four delegates reporting on two projects, using three posters, three presentations and two demonstrations. And we still had time to come away with more useful collaborations to pursue!

The roundup workshop was a great way to see how far we have all come in 18 months, reflect that this is still just the beginning for Research Data Management as a professional discipline, and that JISCMRD has given all of us involved a head start, not to mention new opportunity.

Here are our presentations, posters and related posts:

Research Data Management Training in Physics and Astronomy Presentation  (PDF, 1.7 Mbyte )

Research Data Management Training in Physics and Astronomy Poster  (PDF, 440 Kbyte, commended in the poster competition )

Research Data ToolKit (@herts) Document Management Poster  (PDF, 2.5 Mbyte )

Research Data ToolKit (@herts) Adventures in storage: towards the ideal Hybrid Cloud  (PDF, 1 Mbyte )

Research Data ToolKit (@herts) Agent of Change: interventions and momentum  (PDF, 2.9 Mbyte )

Research Data ToolKit (@herts) Poster (PDF, 1.1 Mbyte )

for JISCMRD toolkit:

Research Project File Plan

Comparison of ‘open’ licenses

ZendTo file exchange: a hybrid cloud implementation

 

Oct 222012
 

One year in! Time flies when you are having fun, or trying to pin the tail on a donkey which at times is how it feels to be a JISCMRD project manager. This isn’t a complaint, it is a stimulating and worthwhile endeavour, and I think programme is working well at UH. The Research Data ToolKit, even before it is properly manifest, is acting as an agent of change, and gaining momentum as the RDM team expands from 1 person, to 3, now 6, soon to be 9.

Most of JISCMRD 2011-2013 convened at NCSL in Nottingham Wed 24-Thu 25 October.  I was taken by the increased confidence and authority of my fellow travellers, compared to the prevailing feeling a year ago. In some senses, the horizon is no closer, indeed it may have receded further in the light of the knowledge we have all acquired; the difference is, perhaps, that the benefit of experience gives us conviction. The RDM problem won’t be fixed by JISCMRD, but those of us involved will be well placed to carry the effort forward beyond the life of the programme.

The progress workshop was packed with interesting sessions, touching all parts of the life cycle of research data. The only disappointment  I had was that I couldn’t divide myself in three to attend parallel sessions.

In my first presentation A view over Cloud StorageI sought to explore the circumstances under which cloud storage can and can’t be utilised.  Part of the intent was to stimulate discussion, and in this it was successful, as I seemed to touch a nerve by naming the elephants in the room: Dropbox, Skydrive, Googledrive (D, S & G). The issues around using these  applications seemed to resonate throughout both days of the workshop. Before I become identified as an advocate for Dropbox I would like, in the manner of a minister redressing a half baked policy, to ‘clarify’. It is not a specific incarnation of any of these cloud storage App’s that I am advocating; it is their feature set.  Unless you work with more than a few gigabytes of data, the ease of use of these the public cloud services make them irresistable to researchers. The implications of the terms and conditions of use, which fall foul of pretty much any institutional policy that you could find, have little impact: usability wins over regulation. During the workshop MariekeGuy tweeted a list of alternatives applications, and we discussed some of these, but no one could wholeheartedly endorse any of the candidates for a robust, reliable service. D, S & G simply work better than our own networked storage offerings in many, many RDM scenarios. Like it or not, this is the case.

In the final workshop session, John Milner gave an account of the major cloud and data centre framework agreement already concluded  and the negotiations that the JANET Brokerage is planning to undertake  with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Dropbox. An agreement with Microsoft on Office 365 has been reached and it is hoped that favourable terms with Amazon for, for example, EC2 and Glacier and Microsoft Azure can be achieved in co-operation with Internet2 in the USA. Talks with Dropbox and Google have recently been initiated. John indicated that a ‘negotiation’ typically takes at least three to six months to see through. It was encouraging that John indicated, that despite their strong market positions, these companies are willing to discuss HE needs and it is likely that education and research will attract favourable prices and terms and conditions of service, the latter of which (I suggest) is the higher hurdle to adoption. So perhaps JANET may yet resolve an answer to the search for an easy to use cloud storage application, that can be brought within the constraints of our governance, use our authentication and work with our infrastructure, they are certainly working on it and keen to hear requirements from the sector!

I am seeing an App’ like  D, S or G; sitting over hybrid storage; in our own datacentres or within the European Economic Area public cloud; accessed using our own passwords; and, governed by our own T and Cs.  Maybe for Christmas?   Unlikely, but worth the thought.

RDTK’s presentations are available below:

RDTK A view over Cloud Storage, in Parallel Session 1B: Managing Active Data: storage, access, academic ‘dropbox’ services, JISCMRD progress workshop, Nottingham, 2012 (PDF, 0.6 MB)

RDTK DataStage to DSpace, progress on a workflow for data deposit, in Parallel Session 2B: Data Repositories and Storage: options for repository service solutions, JISCMRD progress workshop, Nottingham, 2012 (PDF, 1.5 MB)

RDMTPA Research Data Management Training for Physics and Astronomy, in Parallel Session 3A: Training and Guidance, JISCMRD progress workshop, Nottingham, 2012  (PDF, 1.8 MB)

RDTK Poster, Service Oriented Toolkit for Research Data Management, in Poster Session, JISCMRD progress workshop, Nottingham, 2012, Poster (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Other recent blogs:

 

Oct 192012
 

Attached to the University of Hertfordshire’s Data Policy is a handy DOs and DON’Ts guide to handling Personal and Confidential Information (PCI). Research data often falls under the definition of PCI, because it is ethically sensitive or has commercial value to the University or a sponsor.  It probably won’t be a surprise to anyone engaged in JISCMRD that we find that practice that is given as ‘unacceptable’ by the guide, is actually common in the research community. Saving PCI on a non-University computer; use of portable media devices to store or backup PCI; regular transfer or unencrypted transfer of PCI via portable media – all these happen…often. Continue reading »

Aug 142012
 

The University of Hertfordshire’s Research Data Management activity is being extended after a successful bid to Strand E (Research Data Management Training) of  JISC Managing Research Data Programme 2011-13.

In a one year project, Research Data Management Training for the whole project lifecycle in Physics & Astronomy research (RDMTPA), the University will develop Research Data Management (RDM) training materials directed at Post-Graduate and early career researchers in the physical sciences. The project will collaborate with the University’s Centre for Astrophysics Research and the Centre for Atmospheric Instrumentation Research to produce a short course in RDM. It will leverage the outputs of existing JISCMRD work, within and without the University. The short course will adopt a whole project lifecycle approach, from data management planning, through good data safekeeping, to curation options and arrangements for data re-use. The course will be designed to integrate with, and extend, the Generic Training for Researchers programme at University of Hertfordshire. Although the primary market will be early career researchers, we expect the materials to be useful to information professionals such as discipline liaison librarians and research liaison officers.

We are pleased to welcome Dr Jo Goodger to the University’s RDM team to work on this exciting new work. Jo is an active Astrophysics researcher in the field of Radio-Loud Active Galaxies and also has extensive experience in science outreach, including the development of the Luggage Lab.

The short course will be made available via a variety of channels including the University’s StudyNet VLE, the JORUM repository of teaching and learning resources, and the here on the Research Data ToolKit website. RDMTPA will also share project management and governance with the Research Data ToolKit.

See http://research-data-toolkit.herts.ac.uk/category/training/