I am a graduate trainee currently assisting with project management support to the research data shared service team at Jisc, helping with all administrative and project related tasks. I was keen to attend the Research Data Network (RDN) event because I wanted to learn more about Research Data Management (RDM), and the ways in which it is continues to evolve.
The aims of the RDN event were to:
- Bring people in higher education and research together to exchange knowledge and experience
- Inform our Research Data Shared Service as well as other Jisc services
- Discuss RDM issues, system development and implementation with a focus on innovative tools, and approaches that offer practical solutions to current/future RDM challenges including policy
- Network with like-minded colleagues and peers around their achievements and current issues in RDM support
Jisc’s Research Data Network on the 27-28th June was one to remember for both those in UK universities and the wider research community. It is fair to say that everyone who attended was completely spoilt for choice regarding the variety of sessions. You can see what we covered on the event site.
Although the weather was not on our side throughout the two days, we did have an amazing opportunity to use that to our advantage. I must say personally, that I was able to chat about RDM with individuals I would not usually get the chance to meet in person. I learnt about the immense need for open access, and that a number of Jisc projects will help facilitate this need.
Images CC-BY Paul Stokes.
Research data shared service pilots at the RDN
I am involved with the Research Data Shared Service project so I was particularly pleased to note that pilot universities played a significant role in the event, with some presenting the progress of their systems. I grasped the chance, to also find out how the pilots felt about our Research Data Shared Service, as well as how they felt the RDN event was going in general. They were really engaged and thoroughly looked forward to each session they attended. A session which they felt was beneficial was revolved around researchers sharing sensitive data safely, which near enough all of them felt was enlightening. They also, welcomed the Queen Bee exercise helped answer some of their most budding questions on RDM.
All 22 pilot representatives who attended, were happy with the event and the topics presented, which was great to know. In terms of the RDSS project they appreciated the updates we provided over the two days. Such as the business case and the update from Vimal Shah and Beverly Jones.
Participation from attendees was encouraged as much as possible throughout the event. There were a lot of questions from the audience and, a large number also posted tweets using #JiscRDM to associate with the event. A much re-tweeted example around the benefits of data sharing was a strong theme at the event:
Benefits of data sharing: 1 dataset has produced 9 papers – only 4 from original lab. But curating that data takes a lot of effort #JiscRDM
— Rosie Higman (@RosieHLib) June 27, 2017
One session stood out to me as it was the first time I had participated in something like this was the “Queen Bee exercise”. Attendees got groups of four and each took turns informing the rest of their team about a problem they had. The other three members would mingle with individuals they do not know to try and retrieve answers to the problem during a 5-minute time limit. Then the team would come back (or the bees would go back to the hive) and provide their answers to their Queen Bee. I personally found this to be a great exercise because it allowed everyone to interact and share vast amounts of knowledge. One of the major themes was of course problems and solutions in the RDM area. Some of the questions that were asked in my group were:
- I want to train my staff to become competent Research Data Managers, but I have low funds to support this. What can be done to ensure they get the right training with minimal expenditure?
- There are restrictions to sharing data which has not been gathered by a single individual. What method would you use to train researchers to share data which is not entirely their own?
Overall, from my perspective, the event was a clear success. It did exactly what I hoped it would do provide insight into the current opportunities and challenges in research data, and update the community on the RDM projects and outputs provided through Jisc.