Research at Risk

Research Data Network meeting full agenda

Next week about 100 delegates are descending on the University of St Andrews to attend the third Jisc Research Data Network event.  The aim of these events is to bring together people in the higher education sector to exchange knowledge around the practical implementation of research data management (RDM).  Attendees are expected from 28 different universities and a variety of other research related institutions and organisations.


During the day there will be three plenary sessions. Opening the meeting will be John MacColl (University Librarian and Director of Library services at the University of St Andrews).  His talk will explore why libraries should take an active role in managing research data within Universities. To close the meeting, Veerle van den Eynden (Manager of Research Data Management Support Services, UK Data Archive) will be presenting some key findings and recommendations coming out of research exploring researchers’ attitudes and behaviours towards open research.  In addition, in a third plenary session Rachel Bruce and John Kaye (Jisc) will present an update on the Jisc Research Data Shared Service.

Parallel sessions

Two parallel sessions (one in the morning and one after lunch) will provide a variety of presentations and workshops, covering a range of data management related topics.

I am not a scientist I don’t have any research data

Engaging researchers in the Arts and Humanities with research data management can be challenging.  Many don’t recognise they have research data, and even if they do there are fewer external drivers and funder requirements than for other disciplines.  Nicola Siminson (Institutional Repository & Records Manager at the Glasgow School of Art) will lead a workshop to discuss how to engage with and support Arts and Humanities researchers in data management issues. A recent blog by Daniela Duca (Senior co-design manager at Jisc) has also touched on the challenges faced in research data management in these disciplines.

Active research data

Two researchers from the University of St Andrews will lead discussions on the issues and challenges facing researchers using active data and research procedures. Tomas Lebl (School of Chemistry) will talk about NMR lab management, data acquisition and access.  Clint Blight (School of Biology) is a Scientific Software Engineer & Geoinformatician who manages data as part of his work in the Sea Mammal Research Unit.

Rubrics Project

Data management plans, in particular how to conform to funder requirements and general good practice, are still proving a tricky issue for researchers to navigate.  In February 2016 a workshop held at the International Digital Curation Conference focused on evaluation of data management plans through the use of standardised rubrics.  Following this, there was interest in bringing together the UK data management community to provide rubrics to apply to UK funders.  A workshop led by staff from Glasgow University will be reporting back on this community effort and will be considering “What next?”

Frictionless Data for research

Developing the infrastructure to maintain research data at a high level of quality can be costly and time-consuming.  Jo Barratt from Open Knowledge International will talk about Frictionless Data which provides standards and tools to facilitate the production and sharing of high quality data using Data Packages, a simple format for packaging data.

Minting DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers)

As more data becomes open, the need for accurate citation of data to improve resource discovery and accessibility becomes more pressing. The assignment and use of DataCite DOIs is well established but there are still challenges.  This session will be led by Rosie Higman (Research Data Advisor at the University of Cambridge) who will initially introduce the issues and questions they are facing in minting DOIs for data.  After this, an open discussion will take place to exchange experiences and identify the shared challenges faced by the data management community with DOIs.

Discovering the Research Data Alliance

The Research Data Alliance is an international organisation whose vision is researchers and innovators openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines and countries to address societal challenges.  Jisc is working with RDA Europe to ensure that UK research and its outputs are part of the global research infrastructure. Christopher Brown (Senior co-design manager at Jisc) will provide delegates with information about the RDA and the recent RDA UK workshop, and show how outputs from its groups can be used practically in universities and data centres in the UK.

Birds of a feather and side meetings

Feedback from previous events suggested further opportunities for people working in research data management to exchange information about the challenges, successes, failures and learning points would be welcomed.  To facilitate this, at this meeting we are introducing ‘Birds of a Feather’ sessions, where topics for discussion can be proposed by anyone attending on the day.  On arrival, attendees will vote for the session they are interested in, and those the most popular will be given space and time within the agenda to proceed.  We currently have proposals on

  • CRIS integration issues (Masud Khokhar, Lancaster University)
  • Personal and sensitive data (Gareth Knight, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
  • Research impact (Richard Favell, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine)
  • Metadata issues (lead to be confirmed).

In a side meeting, John Casey, from The Clipper Project, will present his ideas of linking existing standards (such as DOIs and ORCID) with the W3C Web Annotation data model as a means of solving some of the issues of data citation.  More information on this work can be found here.

If you have an idea for a BOF session or side meeting please contact or speak to a member of staff during registration on the day and we will organise this for you.

Event details and agenda

The meeting takes place at the University of St Andrews on 30th November. Full details and the agenda for the meeting can be found on the Research Data Network web pages.  

By Tamsin Burland

Tamsin Burland spent 25 years in research and research management, working at 5 different establishments, before moving to Jisc in 2015. She is currently Head of Product in the Research Management Team with specific focus on supporting Jisc members in the procurement and effective deployment of research information management systems. Her team are responsible for managing and operating the Jisc Research Management Systems Dynamic Purchasing System, Research systems consultancy service, Publications Router and the UK ORCID Consortium services.