Research at Risk

New Projects in the JISC Managing Research Data Programme: Discipline-Focussed Research Data Management Training Materials

The third new strand of projects in the JISC Managing Research Data Programme.

Improving research data management in UK Universities requires increasing skills and capacity as well as implementing technical infrastructure.

The Digital Curation Centre, which has a significant remit for training and outreach, represents a major JISC investment in this area.  The DCC has been running, for example, a very well-received training programme including the DCC 101 and Tools of the Trade courses: see,  Additionally however, the need for training materials targeted at the needs of specific subject areas has been identified.

JISC Call for Projects 04/10 sought to fund projects to encourage research data management training to be embedded in post-graduate academic curricula.

The specific aim of funding a raft of projects in this area is to create a body of discipline-focussed postgraduate training units which can be reused by other institutions on order to stimulate curriculum change and create a greater awareness of the need for research data management skills training.  The Call was also intended to encourage collaboration within HEIs and between Universities and centres of expertise in research data management.

In order to achieve this, the Call for Projects observed that while such units must necessarily consider generic issues in research data curation, it is essential that projects collaborate closely with specific, named academic departments within their institution in order to develop effective and useful discipline-focussed training materials.

Five projects, covering a range of subject areas, were funded representing an investment of nearly £300,000.  Each of the projects will run for roughly 12 months and will complete in July 2011.  Contact details below all belong to the domain.

Northumbria University (with the Digital Preservation Coalition and Digital Curation Centre)

DATUM for Health : Research data management training for health studies

The focus of the Northumbria University project will be to promote research data management skills in HE insitutions, concentrating on qualitative, unstructured data used in health studies.  The project will start with a targeted literature review designed to identify optimal training models and learning materials for the target audience.  The training programme will be developed and evaluated through pilots with both students and research stakeholders.  After refinements, the training materials will be made available on the web and will be embedded in a broader programme for postgraduate resarchers.

The project’s key deliverables will be:

a) a research data management training ‘programme’ for the health studies discipline covering qualitative, unstructured data, transferable to other disciplines, audiences and contexts within the HEI and to the wider HE and research communities


b) a project report summarising methods, findings and conclusions, including: the training model; advice/recommendations on developing similar training for other research disciplines, audiences, contexts; and recommendations to JISC, HEIs, research funders and research data management services for further work/support for research stakeholders in managing data.

Project Website: (NB Live from 1 October 2010)

Project Lead: Julie McLeod julie.mcleod at northumbria

University of Bristol (with JISC Digital Media and the Digital Curation Centre)

CAiRO: Curating Artistic Research Output

The ‘CAiRO: Curating Artistic Research Output’ project will produce training materials for managing research data in performance studies and related disciplines.

Output from the UK’s research-active performance studies departments is often technically complex, multimedia data. Usually the only remaining trace of time-based events, this output underpins the wider scholarly record, offers future researchers the ability to reuse and reinterpret the data and is commonly used as the basis for new cultural artefacts.  Since the demise of the AHDS Performing Arts however, performance studies has no prominent subject-based repository to act as long-term custodians of research data. Where HEI provision does exist, performing arts researchers cannot always rely on discipline-specific understanding. More commonly, data is retained in departmental collections, built and maintained by researchers themselves.  Given this situation, the project takes as its premise that it is crucial that data management skills are embedded within the performance-researcher community if stakeholders are to effectively self-archive or to communicate their needs to third parties in order to and agree appropriate levels of service provision.

The ‘Managing Performance Data’ project will develop training materials in three iterations, testing and receiving feedback from users groups and at Easter and Summer schools.  Materials will be created for physical as well as virtual delivery, and will be made available via the appropriate Creative Commons licence, alongside a Module Teaching Guide.

Project Lead: Stephen Gray stephen.gray at bristol

Website: (live soon)



Hashtag: #croprj

University of Cambridge (with Archaeology Data Service (ADS))

DataTrain Project

The DataTrain project aims to build on findings and tools developed in the Incremental Project (JISC 07/09 funding strand) by developing disciplinary focussed data management training modules for post-graduate courses in Archaeology and Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

To this end, the project will develop training modules for each of two departments.  After requirements gathering phases, materials will be developed and piloted as part of the departments’ postgraduate training provision in Spring of 2011.  Beyond this, the modules will be embedded within research methods courses in each department.

To extend its impact, the project will also make the training resources available through the University of Cambridge’s institutional repository’s support provision and via the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) and Digital Curation Centre (DCC).

Project Lead: Elin Stangeland  es444 at cam

University of Edinburgh

Research Data MANTRA

The project is a partnership between Information Services, the Institute of Academic Development, the Graduate Schools of Social and Political Science and GeoSciences along with the Clinical and Health Psychology Professional Doctorate in the University of Edinburgh.  Whilst many of the issues and skills relevant to effective Research Data Management (RDM) are shared across disciplines the application of these skills and knowledge takes place within a disciplinary context.  The organisation and style of PhD training is also strongly discipline-dependent.  This project will explicitly address these challenges by working with three different disciplines (Social and Political Science; GeoSciences; and Clinical and Health Psychology) to develop online RDM resources tailored to their specific context and requirements.

The project will develop a structured programme of online resources that can be customized and repurposed for use in different disciplines, as well as an on-demand resource open to all University postgraduate students and early career researchers.  Through close interaction and QR process with the participating departments, the training materials will be grounded in the best practice of the respective disciplines, providing examples based on video interviews of senior researchers.  Interactive components for postgraduate students will be created, including data handling exercises in four software analysis packages (SPSS, NVivo, ArcGIS, R). The resulting materials will be embedded in the three participating postgraduate programmes, incorporated for delivery through the University VLE for use by all postgraduate and early career researchers and deposited with an open license in JorumOpen.

Project Lead: Robin Rice R.Rice at ed

University of York (with Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sheffield)

Postgraduate training for research data management in the psychological sciences

The aim of this project is to build capacity and skills within psychology postgraduates relating to research data management. The psychological sciences routines produce large volumes of increasingly complex research data.  Datasets in many areas are generated by equipment and tools that are still considered leading-edge: functional brain imaging (fMRI), EEG, MEG, eye tracking, computer-based paradigms, etc.  Other areas of the psychological sciences produce equally valuable datasets using less technical methods but bearing additional ethical complexity, for example, in clinical research.

The project will embed both data management theory and discipline focused instruction into postgraduate psychology training at the partner institutions.  The project will build upon existing research data management materials developed by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) to create discipline-focussed postgraduate training materials that can be embedded into postgraduate research training for the psychological sciences. The materials will consist of: PowerPoint slides to be used in lectures and an associated workbook containing psychology specific guidance on completing the DCC’s Data Management Planning Tool (DMPT) (including worked examples), and a copy of the DMPT to be completed by students.

The lectures will be structured along the lines of the existing DCC DMPT with the eight key sections forming the centrepiece of six psychology specific lectures of two hours each. Prior to the launch of the training materials the guidance will be transferred to the online DCC Data Management Planning Tool in collaboration with DCC.  The project will also liaise with the ESRC and the UK Data Archive to ensure that outputs produced by psychologists who complete the psychology focused DMPT are acceptable and that the training materials are compatible with the outputs fro the ESRC Data Management and Sharing for Researchers Training Programme funded by the Researcher Development Initiative.

The training materials will be developed and piloted in the department of psychology at the University of York, in partnership with the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. Other departments within the psychological sciences will be invited to trial the pilot materials before the official launch.

Project Lead: Richard Plant  r.plant at psych.york