Reflections on the Research Data Shared Service pilot workshop and Research Data Network events in Cambridge

A few weeks have passed since the last Research Data Shared Service pilots meeting, and Research Data Network event. This was 48 hours of UK research data activity in the picturesque setting of Corpus Christ College, Cambridge, offering a chance for members of the project pilot institutions to meet with the Jisc project staff, and each other, to talk about the latest developments. The following day opened the conversation up to a more general audience of Research Data Management practitioners from around the UK.

A period of reflection and the chance to process feedback has given the team the opportunity to think about the main outcomes of each day and look at how we can approach these events in the future so the attendees get the most out of it. Here are some of our observations.

corpus christi

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Pilot Day

In addition to the business of giving the pilots updates and developments with the shared service project, part of the day was set aside to discuss how to engage researchers with the project. To set the scene, two presentations were given by Emma Hindley (Lincoln University) and Hardy Schwamm of Lancaster University. Independently but tellingly, both gave a lot of attention to the notion of champions. It was a clearly emerging theme in the panel discussion (and the Research Data Network event that followed) and on the research data management Jiscmail list. The idea of data champions had been around for a while, an undeveloped analogue of Sparc’s Open Access champions, an influential network of academics spread across Europe.

The desire for a network of champions to promote open data principles and good RDM practice is seems to be ubiquitous in the UK HE environment. We aim to work with the sector and support this activity.

We collected useful feedback about the various metadata challenges presented by creating a Shared Service, especially in areas such as CRIS interoperability, data model Governance, using persistent identifiers and machine readable (and actionable) data management plans. We will pick up on these issues and themes in further sessions and blog posts.

Additional links:

Rosie Higman and Dr Marta Teperek “Championing RDM training”.

Alice Motes “Research Data Magic, Anyone?

Research Data Shared Service September 2016 update.

Research Data Network day

The RDN is the burgeoning meet-up event that proceeds the Pilots workshop. First run in Cardiff in May, the number of attendees for this event swelled from 80 to 120. With a thought provoking keynote about research data sharing from Danny Kingsley (Head of Scholarly Communications at Cambridge) and concurrent sessions in three rooms after that, the day was a broad sampling of work being done by RDM practitioners across the UK. Many thanks to all those who presented on the day. Slide decks from a selection of the presentations given can be found on the research data network website.  And here are some notes from Laurence Horton, LSE‘s data librarian.

New ideas and collaborations have also emerged at the event, see John Casey’s reflections on the Clipper blog.

As this event grows in popularity, it is important to find out what the attendees make of it, both in terms of organisation and content. Feedback for the latest event was very positive on both fronts but some suggestions have been made for improvements that we are keen to take on board and develop.

The strongest feedback concerned the value of the event as a networking opportunity For future  events, we will explore and include more facilitated sessions, birds of a feather groups or specific networking breaks. To satisfy the needs of a broader UK audience, we will also look into the possibility of live broadcasting or recording key parts of the event for remote viewing.

If you have a suggestion for a session at future RDN events, please leave a comment below, or consider the discussion page on the research data network site. The next RDN event will be taking place on 30 November at St. Andrews University.

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