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Data Archives and Service Providers

Interested in the “data revolution” and what it means for research? Here’s why you should attend IASSIST2016

 

Part 1: Data sharing, new data sources and data protection

IASSIST is an international organisation of information technology and data services professionals which aims to provide support to research and teaching in the social sciences. It has over 300 members ranging from data archive staff and librarians to statistical agencies, government departments and non-profit organisations.

The theme of this year’s conference is Embracing the ‘data revolution’: opportunities and challenges for research” and it is the 42nd of its kind, taking place every year. IASSIST2016 will take place in Bergen, Norway, from 31 May to 3 June, hosted by NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data.

Here is a first snapshot of what is there and why it is important.

Data sharing

If you have ever wondered whether data sharing is to the advantage of researchers, there will be a session led by Utrecht University Library exploring the matter. The first results of a survey which explores personal beliefs, intention and behaviour regarding the sharing of data will also be presented by GESIS. The relationship between data sharing and data citation, relatively overlooked until now, will then be addressed by the Australian Data Archive.

If you are interested in how a data journal could incentivise replications in economics, you should think about attending a session by ZBW Leibniz Information Centre for Economics which will present some studies describing the outcome of replication attempts and discuss the meaning of failed replications in economics.

GESIS will then look into improving research data sharing by addressing different scholarly target groups such as individual researchers, academic institutions, or scientific journals, all of which place diverse demands on a data sharing tool. They will focus on the tools offered by GESIS as well as a joint tool, “SowiDataNet”, offered together with the Social Science Centre Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research, and the German National Library of Economic.

The UKDA and UKDS will present a paper which seeks to explore the role that case studies of research can play in regard to effective data sharing, reuse and impact.

The Data Archive in Finland (FSD) will also be presented as a case study of an archive that is broadening its services to the health sciences and humanities, disciplines in which data sharing practices have not yet been established.

If you’d like to know more about data accessibility, which is being required by journals and mandated by government funders, join a diverse group of open data experts as IASSIST dives into open data dialogue that includes presentations on Open Data and Citizen Empowerment and 101 Cool Things to do with Open Data as part of the “Opening up on open data workshop.” Presenters will be from archives from across the globe.

New data sources

A talk entitled “Data science: The future of social science?” by UKDA will introduce its conceptual and technical work in developing a big data platform for social science and outline preliminary findings from work using energy data.

If you have been wondering about the role of social media data in the academic environment, the session by the University of California will include an overview of the social media data landscape and the Crimson Hexagon product.

The three Vs of big data, volume, variety and velocity, are being explored in the “Hybrid Data Lake” being built by UKDA using the Universal Decimal Classification platform and expanding “topics” search while using big data management. Find out more about it as well as possible future applications.

Data protection

If you follow data protection issues, the panel on “Data protection: legal and ethical reviews” is for you, starting off with a presentation of the Administrative Data Research Network's (ADRN) Citizen's Panel, which look at public concerns about research using administrative data, the content of which is both personal and confidential. The ADRN was set up as part of the UK Government’s Big Data initiative as a UK-wide partnership between universities, government bodies, national statistics authorities and the wider research community.

The next ADRN presentation within this session will outline their application process and the role of the Approvals Panel in relation to ethical review. The aim is “to expand the discussion towards a broader reflection on the ethical dilemmas that administrative data pose”, as well as present some steps taken to address these difficulties.

NSD will then present the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), recently adopted at EU level, and explain how it will affect data collection, data use, data preservation and data sharing. If you have been wondering how the regulation will influence the possibilities for processing personal data for research purposes, or how personal data are defined, what conditions apply to an informed consent, or in which cases it is legal and ethical to conduct research without the consent of the data subjects, this presentation is for you.

The big picture

Wednesday 1 June will kick-off with a plenary entitled “Data for decision-makers: Old practice - new challenges” by Gudmund Hernes, the current president of the International Social Science Council and Norway’s former Minister of Education and Research 1990-95, and Minister of Health 1995-97.

The third day of the conference (2 June) will begin with a plenary - “Embracing the ‘Data Revolution’: Opportunities and Challenges for Research’ or ‘What you need to know about the data landscape to keep up to date”, by Matthew Woollard, Director of the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex and Director of the UK Data Service.

If you want to know more about the three European projects under the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission that CESSDA is involved in, one on big data (Big Data Europe - Empowering Communities with Data Technologies), another on - strengthening and widening the European infrastructure for social science data archives (CESSDA SaW) and a third on synergies for Europe's Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences (SERISS), this panel is for you.  

"Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game": Strategies for Discussing and Communicating Data Services” considers how libraries might strategically reconsider communications about data services.

Keep an eye on this blog for more news in the run-up to IASSIST2016.

Find out more on the IASSIST2016 website.

Spread the word on Twitter using #IASSIST16.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Bergen! 


A story by Eleanor Smith (CESSDA)

A decade against decay: the 10th International Digital Curation Conference

The International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC) is now ten years old. On the evidence of its most recent conference, is in rude health and growing fast.

IDCC is the first time IASSIST decided to formally support another organisational conference. I think it was a wise investment given the quality of plenaries, presentations, posters, and discussions.

DCC already has available a number of blogs covering the substance of sessions, including an excellent summary by IASSIST web editor, Robin Rice. Presentations and posters are already available, and video from plenary sessions will soon be online.

Instead I will use this opportunity to pick-up on hanging issues and suggestions for future conferences.

One was apportionment of responsibility. Ultimately, researchers are responsible for management of their data, but they can only do so if supporting infrastructure is in place to help them. So, who is responsible for providing that: funders or institutions? This theme emerged in the context of the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council who will soon enforce expectations identifying the institution as responsible for supporting good Research Data Management.

Related to that was a discussion on the role of libraries in this decade. Are they relevant? Can they change to meet new challenges? Starting out as a researcher who became a data archivist and is now a librarian, I wouldn’t be here if libraries weren’t meeting these challenges. There’s a “hush” of IASSIST members also ready to take issue with the suggestions libraries aren’t relevant or not engaged with data, in fact they did so at our last conference.

Melissa Terras, (UCL) did a fantastic job presenting [PDF] work in the digital humanities that is innovative in not only preserving, but rescuing objects – and all done on small change research budgets. I hope a future IDCC finds space for a social sciences person to present on issues we face in preservation and reuse. Clifford Lynch (CNI) touched on the problems of data reuse and human subjects, which remained one of the few glancing references to a significant problem and one IASSIST members are addressing. Indeed, thanks must go to a former president of this association, Peter Burhill (Edinburgh) who mentioned IASSIST and how it relates to the IDCC audience on more than one occasion.

Finally, if you were stimulated by IDCC’s talk of data, reuse, and preservation then don’t forget our own conference in Minneapolis later this year.

Feedback on Data Storage

I posted the following question to the listserv:

"I'm in the early days of exploring what I and our library can do for our faculty and grad students. In my case I'm particularity interested in the social sciences.

It seems there are three main choices:

1. ICPSR(or other domain-specific site)

2. Dataverse with my own school's branding

3. Local, campus funded storage through an Institutional Repository or something else that can handle larger amounts of data.


Our university is kind of in the vast middle
as far as flagship state universities go in budgets and research activity.

What are the pros and cons of these archiving choices? What would best suit a non-wealthy institution? Which requires more training and expertise?"

From the very informative feedback I received from my IASSIST colleagues, I concluded that it is best to keep open to all kinds of possibilities. I was probably naïve in my initial hope that there would be one solution on which I could train my energies. However that is not the case. Different solutions may be best for different factors, including the data in question, local staff skills,  and library budgets.

There were many voices that supported the domain-specific repository idea represented by ICPSR. Researchers can get exposure to colleagues in their areas of expertise. There is no need to reinvent the wheel if the expertise and the longevity that ICPSR can provide are out there. In addition, ICPSR is launching “openICPSR,” a new open access repository for researchers and institutions that need to comply with Federal requirements to make data publicly available.  Data deposited in "openICPSR" will be discoverable in the ICPSR catalog, but not restricted to ICPSR members -- anyone will be able to download.  ICPSR staff will edit the metadata appearing in the catalog, and depositors can commission full curation of their collections (e.g. full codebooks, variable-level metadata for searching) by ICPSR staff. In addition to accepting individual projects, openICPSR will also offer packages to meet institutional needs.  They are planning at least two options: 1) A multiple deposit option whereby an entity can purchase several project deposits (fees will be discounted for member institutions), and 2) A branded repository page that will list datasets under an institution's own logo and color scheme.

Many others outlined the Dataverse picture. If you can get a good match between what your campus needs and what Dataverse can provide, this can be a crucial part of an overall solution.  Dataverse has ease of entry through a self-service deposit structure, not to mention that the price is right (free)! Many institutions are starting with pilot projects in order to assess the labor impact on the library. A few librarians noted that there are issues of long-term storage, sustainability, and metadata uniformity that can arise with Dataverse.

Some respondents hastened to add that Dataverse will be offering improved services.  Dataverse is extending support for additional metadata standards in various scientific domains including biomedical ontologies, astronomy and updating to DDI codebook 2.5 (in the future, support for DDI Lifecycle). They are also extending the search, data exploration and analysis for tabular datasets (with histograms, cross-tabs, enhance descriptive stats, model selection). In addition they are also extending Data/Metadata API and data deposit API, and rich ingest for additional data types. 

Local solutions, including formal Institutional Repositories (IRs) and other storage services through a variety of campus resources did not emerge as a popular topic in the posts I received. One librarian commented on the resources in personnel and money that may be needed in IRs to deliver strong service for larger deposits.

Steve McGinty

Social Sciences Librarian

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

White Paper Urges New Approaches to Assure Access to Scientific Data

Press release posted on behalf of Mark Thompson-Kolar, ICPSR.

12/12/2013:  (Ann Arbor, MI)—More than two dozen data repositories serving the social, natural, and physical sciences today released a white paper recommending new approaches to funding sharing and preservation of scientific data. The document emphasizes the need for sustainable funding of domain repositories—data archives with ties to specific scientific communities.

“Sustaining Domain Repositories for Digital Data: A White Paper,” is an outcome of a meeting convened June 24-25, 2013, in Ann Arbor. The meeting, organized by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was attended by representatives of 22 data repositories from a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines.

Domain repositories accelerate intellectual discovery by facilitating data reuse and reproducibility. They leverage in-depth subject knowledge as well as expertise in data curation to make data accessible and meaningful to specific scientific communities. However, domain repositories face an uncertain financial future in the United States, as funding remains unpredictable and inadequate. Unlike our European competitors who support data archiving as necessary scientific infrastructure, the US does not assure the long-term viability of data archives.

“This white paper aims to start a conversation with funding agencies about how secure and sustainable funding can be provided for domain repositories,” said ICPSR Director George Alter. “We’re suggesting ways that modifications in US funding agencies’ policies can help domain repositories to achieve their mission.”

Five recommendations are offered to encourage data stewardship and support sustainable repositories: 

  •  Commit to sustaining institutions that assure the long-term preservation and viability of research data
  • Promote cooperation among funding agencies, universities, domain repositories, journals, and other stakeholders 
  •  Support the human and organizational infrastructure for data stewardship as well as the hardware
  •  Establish review criteria appropriate for data repositories
  • Incentivize Principal Investigators (PIs) to archive data

While a single funding model may not fit all disciplines, new approaches are urgently needed, the paper says.

“What’s really remarkable about this effort—the meeting and the resulting white paper—has been the consensus across disciplines from astronomy to archaeology to proteomics,” Alter said. “More than two dozen domain repositories from so many disciplines are saying the same thing: Data sharing can produce more science, but data stewards must know the needs of their scientific communities.”

This white paper is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the role of scientific domain repositories and their critical role in the advancement of science. It can be downloaded at http://datacommunity.icpsr.umich.edu

 

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), based in Ann Arbor, MI, is the largest archive of behavioral and social science research data in the world. It advances research by acquiring, curating, preserving, and distributing original research data. www.icpsr.umich.edu

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Established in 1934, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance. www.sloan.org

###

Scientific Data Repositories Issue Call for Change on Funding Models for Data Archives

For Immediate Release
September 16, 2013
Contact: Mark Thompson-Kolar, 734-615-7904
mdmtk@umich.edu

(Ann Arbor, MI) — Representatives of 25 organizations that archive scientific data today released a Call for Action urging the creation of sustainable funding streams for domain repositories — data archives with close ties to scientific communities.

The document was developed after a meeting of data repositories across the social and natural sciences June 24-25, 2013, in Ann Arbor. The meeting was organized by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to discuss challenges facing domain repositories, particularly in light of the February 2013 memorandum from the U.S. Government’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) requiring public access to federally funded data.

Domain repositories in the natural and social sciences are built upon close relationships to the scientific communities that they service. By leveraging in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, domain repositories add value to the stored data beyond merely preserving the bits. As a result, repositories contribute to scientific discovery while ensuring that data curation methods keep pace as science evolves. “However, the systems currently in place for funding repositories in the US are inadequate for these tasks,” the document states.

The Call for Action argues that “Domain repositories must be funded as the essential piece of the US research infrastructure that they are,” emphasizing the importance of:

•    Ensuring funding streams that are long-term, uninterrupted and flexible
•    Creating systems that promote good scientific practice
•    Assuring equity in participation and access

The document expresses concerns regarding current and future funding models in consideration of the OSTP rules. “The push toward open access, while creating more equity of access for the community of users, creates more of a burden for domain repositories because it narrows their funding possibilities.”

“We are memory institutions,” ICPSR Director George Alter said. “One of our missions is to ensure data will be available for a long time, yet we’re being funded by short-term grants. There is a mismatch between our mission and the way we are funded. Widening access to data is a good thing. Everyone agrees on that. But it has to be done in a way that provides sustainable funding to the organizations that preserve and distribute the data.”

Repositories may require varied funding models, based on their scientific domain, the document states. “But in every case, creating sustainable funding streams will require the coordinated response of multiple stakeholders in the scientific, archival, academic, funding, and policy communities.”

The statement is endorsed by 30 domain repository representatives. It can be viewed on the ICPSR’s website at http://tinyurl.com/dataarchives.

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), based in Ann Arbor, MI, is the largest archive of behavioral and social science research data in the world. It advances research by acquiring, curating, preserving, and distributing original research data. www.icpsr.umich.edu

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York. Established in 1934, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance. www.sloan.org

Posted by request to the editor, in line with IASSIST members' interests.

Sharing data: good for science, good for you

See video

DANS has published a video to promote storing and sharing data within the research community. The video is available in Dutch and English, and shown on the DANS Youtube channel. The title of the English video is 'Sharing data: good for science, good for you': http://youtu.be/HJbo-OAaJ1I

"Scientific research produces data. The lifetime of these data varies greatly. Stored on a hard disk or USB stick they are likely to be lost in the near future together with the storage medium. Luckily, there is another, more sustainable option, which benefits science.

In this video Dutch historian Martijn Kleppe (Erasmus University Rotterdam) explains why he opened up his big photo database for other researchers to use, and quantitative data analyst Manfred te Grotenhuis (Radboud University Nijmegen) speaks about the treasures in data archives that are waiting to be discovered by researchers.

Both scientists made use of the online archiving system EASY from DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services) in the Netherlands. As an institute of KNAW and NWO, DANS promotes sustained access to digital research data."

Feedback is welcome.

Marion Wittenberg

New Latin American Open Data site!

Miguel Paz writes:

Poderomedia Foundation and PinLatam are launching OpenDataLatinoamerica.org, a regional data repository to free data and use it on Hackathons and other activities by HacksHackers chapters and other organizations.

We are doing this because the road to the future of news has been littered with lost datasets. A day or so after every hackathon and meeting where a group has come together to analyze, compare and understand a particular set of data, someone tries to remember where the successful files were stored. Too often, no one is certain. Therefore with Mariano Blejman we realized that we need a central repository where you can share the data that you have proved to be reliable: OpenData Latinoamerica, which we are leading as ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellows.

If you work in Latin America or Central America your organization can take part in OpenDataLatinoamerica.org. To apply, go to the website and answer a simple form agreeing to meet the standard criteria for open data. Once the application is approved, you will receive an account to start running and managing open data, becoming part of the community.

New IASSIST Quarterly now available!

Editor notes: 

Data bring maps, archive brings data, and accreditation brings research

This issue (volume 36-1, 2012) of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ) is the first of the 2012 issues. This editorial is written in March 2013 when many IASSIST people have received acceptance for their papers at the upcoming conference IASSIST 2013 in Cologne. I am certain there will be many interesting presentations at the conference. However, presenters can reach a greater audience by having their paper published in forthcoming issues of the IQ.

The three papers in this issue bring reports on the presentation and availability of data in a geographical portal for geospatial data, the collection and dissemination of holdings in a data archive, and on access to trans-national data and the accreditation involved.

The first paper is Scholars GeoPortal: A new platform for geospatial data discovery, exploration and access in Ontario universities. The authors are Elizabeth Hill and Leanne Trimble (formerly Hindmarch) of University of Western Ontario and Scholars Portal, Toronto. The paper was presented at the IASSIST 2011 conference Data Science Professionals: A Global Community of Sharing at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, in the session Power of Partnerships in Data Creation and Sharing. Sharing was the theme for the conference, the session, and certainly also the paper on the Scholars GeoPortal. Data collections are no longer only numeric data collections. This paper focuses on the use of geospatial data for learning, reporting a project carried out for universities in the province of Ontario on the initiative of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). The paper describes the background - the need and the vision - and the components of the Geospatial Portal Project. The project needs to have very good metadata handling in order to provide valid results and the paper demonstrates how the GeoPortal presents the various different types of data. The portal is also used for research and has further involved policy makers and legal experts.

The second paper was presented at the IASSIST 2012 conference Data Science for a Connected World: Unlocking and Harnessing the Power of Information in Washington, DC hosted by NORC. In the session National Data Landscapes: Policies, Strategies, and Contrasts, the paper Strategies of Promoting the Use of Survey Research Data Archive was presented by the Meng-Li Yang from the Center For Survey Research, RCHSS, Academia Sinica, in Taiwan. The paper is a report from the largest data archive in Asia: the Survey Research Data Archive, Taiwan, whose collection includes government statistics raw data. The data archive was established in 1994 and now has 1400 members who can draw on the facilities of the archive including direct downloading of datasets. In 2011 a survey showed that about 20% of a relevant group of researchers were members of the data archive. This result and other findings led to strategies on improving the search facility and active promotion of the service. The paper goes into details on the tasks that were necessary to improve the search facility. These details and other observations and experiences are provided for others in the data archive arena.

Paola Tubaro, University of Greenwich and CNRS has, with Marie Cros, Université de Lille and Roxane Silberman, CNRS - Réseau Quetelet, written the paper Access to official data and researcher accreditation in Europe: existing barriers and a way forward. The authors perceive that the barriers against trans-national access to data in Europe are based upon accreditation and that there are major inconsistencies across the countries. One obvious barrier is that some descriptions are available only in the national language, other barriers are at the policy-level and will require negotiation and coordination. The paper presents the information collected on European accreditation procedures based on the trio: eligibility, application, and service. Accreditation is found to involve the criteria of eligibility (who is a researcher etc.), the procedure of application (how to request access etc.), and the level of service (who approves applications etc.). This work is part of the Data without Boundaries project in the EC 7th Framework. The positive conclusion is that almost all European countries provide research access to micro-data, enabled by the Open Data movement and other factors. But there still remain areas where improvement is needed for better trans-national data access.

Articles for the IASSIST Quarterly are always very welcome. They can be papers from IASSIST conferences or other conferences and workshops, from local presentations or papers especially written for the IQ. Authors are permitted “deep links” where you link directly to your paper published in the IQ. Chairing a conference session with the purpose of aggregating and integrating papers for a special issue IQ is also much appreciated as the information reaches many more people than the session participants, and will be readily available on the IASSIST website at http://www.iassistdata.org.

Authors are very welcome to take a look at the instructions and layout:
http://iassistdata.org/iq/instructions-authors.

Authors can also contact me via e-mail: kbr@sam.sdu.dk. Should you be interested in compiling a special issue for the IQ as guest editor(s) I will also be delighted to hear from you.

Karsten Boye Rasmussen

March 2013

Editor

IASSIST Fellows 2013

 

The IASSIST Fellows Committee is glad to announce through this post the six recipients of the 2013 IASSIST Fellowship award. We are extremely excited to have such a diverse and interesting group with different backgrounds and experience and encourage IASSISTers to welcome them at our conference in Cologne, Germany.

Please find below their names, countries and brief bios:

Chifundo Kanjala (Tanzania) 

Chifundo currently works as a Data Manager and data documentalist for an HIV research group called ALPHA network based at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's department of Population Health, Chifundo spends most of his time in Mwanza, Tanzania but do travel from time around Southern and Eastern Africa to work with colleagues in the ALPHA network.Before joining the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, he was working as a Data analyst consultant at Unicef, Zimbabwe.Currently working part time on a PhD with London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has an MPhil in Demography from university of Cape Town, South Africa and a BSc Statistics Honours degree from University of Zimbabwe.


Judit Gárdos (Hungary) 

Judit Gárdos studied Sociology and German Language and Literature in Budapest, Vienna and Berlin. She is PhD-candidate in sociology, with a topic on the philosophy, sociology and anthropology of quantitative sociology. She is young researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Judit has been working at the digital archive and research group called "voicesofthe20century.hu" that is collecting qualitative, interview-based sociological research collections of the last 50 years. She is coordinating the work at the newly-funded Research Documentation Center of the Center for Social Sciences at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


Cristina Ribeiro (Portugal) 

Cristina Ribeiro is an Assistant Professor in Informatics Engineering at Universidade do Porto and a researcher at INESC TEC. She has graduated in Electrical Engineering, holds a Master in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Ph.D. in Informatics. Her teaching includes undergraduate and graduate courses in information retrieval, digital libraries, knowledge representation and markup languages. She has been involved in research projects in the areas of cultural heritage, multimedia databases and information retrieval. Currently her main research interests are information retrieval, digital preservation and the management of research data.


Aleksandra Bradić-Martinović (Serbia) 

Aleksandra Bradić-Martinović, PhD is the Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia. Her field of expertize is research of information and communication technology implementation in economy, especially in banking, payment system operations and stock exchange operations. Aleksandra is also engaged in education process in Belgrade Banking Academy at the following subjects: E-banking and Payment Systems, Stock Market Dealings and Management Information Systems. She was engaged at several projects in the field of education. At the FP7 SERSCIDA project she is a Serbia team coordinator.


Anis Miladi (Tunisia) 

Anis Miladi earned his Bachelor degree in computer sciences and multimedia in 2007 and a Master degree in Management of Information Systems and organizations in 2008 and he is currently finalizing his master degree in project management(projected date summer 2013). Before joining the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute at Qatar University as Survey Research technology specialist in 2009, he worked as a programmer analyst in a private IT services company In Tunisia. His Area of expertise includes managing computer assisted surveys CAPI,CATI(Blaise surveying system)  in addition to Enterprise Document Management Systems, Enterprise Portals (SharePoint).


Lejla Somun-Krupalija (Sarajevo) 

Lejla currently serves as the Senior Program and Research Officer at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo. She has over 15 years of experience in research, policy development in social inclusion issues. She is the Project Coordinator of the SERSCIDA FP7 project that aims to open data services/archives in the Western Balkan region in cooperation with CESSDA members. She had been engaged in the NGO sector previously, particularly on issues of capacity building and policy development in the areas of gender equality, the rights of persons with disabilities and issues of social inclusion and forced migration. She teaches academic writing, qualitative research, and gender and nationalism at the University of Sarajevo. 

Results of Data Management Plan Poll

Those members who follow IASST-L may recall that about a month ago I launched an informal poll to find out whether or not your data management plan services include reading and reviewing draft plans. I had a total of 22 respondents with the following results:

Does your data management plan service include reading and reviewing draft plans?

  • 18% (4) - Yes, as a matter of  policy.
  • 36% (8) - Not a policy, but I have reviewed them in the past.
  • 36% (8) - Not a policy, but I'd seriously consider doing it.
  • 9% (2) - Not a policy but I most likely wouldn't do it.
  • 0% (0) - No, as a matter of policy.

Several repondents posted the following  comments. (All commenters identified themselves by name in the poll, but I'll keep their identities anonymous here, just in case.)

  • I coordinate development of the DCC's DMP Online data management planning tool. One of the functions we are adding for v3.0 (which is set to launch this Spring) is a facility to share read/write permissions with other users. We'll be very interested in seeing how popular this proves, as it will enable more collaborative development of DMPs by the researchers AND the research support staff, data librarians, IT people, etc who are also stakeholders in the data management endeavour.
  • We are on record as making the offer to help formulate and/or review DM plans. No written policy as yet, but it's something we're targetting as a service.
  • I've always offered this service in my dept. The LSE is currently looking at formalising a data management policy. One of the main aims of this is supporting researchers who need to make data available for reuse as part of their funding conditions. As part of this it is likely that some support for DMPs would be offered, but whether this would be generic, on-line tools, or one-to-one support has not been decided yet.
  • We offer this as an optional service had about 70 such reviews in our first year. We do have a caveat about the service on our website - see "limitations to services" on https://confluence.cornell.edu/display/rdmsgweb/About.
  • The review is optional, not mandatory, and offered as an advertised service.
  • I have read through a few plans when people have asked me to but I don't edit them and have commented when asked directly but have concerns about doing that. I usually state what I can and cannot give advice on and refer to appropriate office on campus when necessary (e.g., technology transfer for IP issues). Fortunately, most of the comments have had to do with where to put their data at the end (which I guess is more of a question on where to archive things rather than reviewing the plans). Typically I refer people back to sources and examples to help support writing their plans. I just find that when researchers ask me to look at their plans, most of the time they are really asking me questions about specific details with data management and not so much with editing the plan. If they did want me to edit it I would say no.

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to respond. I'm sure many will find this information useful.

Harrison Dekker, UC Berkeley Data Lab

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