Research Data Management

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Digital & Information Services

Research & Innovation

What is Research Data Management (RDM)

Data management impacts anybody engaged in the handling of information or data, on both a professional and personal level. Good practice ensures that these information and data are stored and backed up securely, can be located easily whenever they are required by the user and are preserved for the historical record.

Management of research data in particular is important for the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of science and academia; this is reflected in the open access agenda advanced by the UK Government, funding councils, and institutions such as the Royal Society and the Finch Group.

Management of data of all types has become increasingly digital and this presents challenges different to those associated with traditional paper-based methods. Unlike paper-based formats data storage is not stable – technologies become obsolete and media such as CDs or DVDs become unreadable over time, rendering the data contained on them useless.

Due to the pace of technological change there is a heightened risk associated with keeping electronic as opposed to paper-based records, thus presenting requirements and challanges to manage these records effectively, to ensure they are not rendered obsolete alongside the technology that supports them.

In recent years there has been rapid growth in research data produced by Higher Education institutions across the world. The EU, the UK and Scottish government recognise the need to better manage these data in order to make the best possible use of them.

Key funders of research at the University have also acknowledged this change and are now incorporating requirements for research data management into funding criteria.  Funders increasingly require underlying datasets to be made available, as primary research outputs for reuse by other researchers, in addition to the finished product or research in the form of published articles

Good data management incorporates management of data at every stage of the data lifecycle, covering data capture; storage; preservation; access; reuse; and where appropriate, disposal.

Compliance with the expectations of funders will be vital in ensuring researchers continue to secure funding for future research projects. The University will provide the necessary guidance in this process.

Making research data available to users is core to the remit of the UKRI Research Councils, supporting the development of institutional and project specific data management policies and plans in accordance with relevant standards and community best practice.

Funders Policies

Links to funders Research Data Management policies are provided below:

RCUK funders

Non-RCUK funders

The information contained in these links is provided by the Digital Curattion Centre (DCC). A summary of UK Research Funders' data policies can be found at www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/policy-and-legal/funders-data-policies.

Research Data Management at Aberdeen

The University‘s Research Governance Framework provides guidance for good research conduct, including the security of research data and retention of research records.  

The University of Aberdeen is a subscriber to the UK Research Integrity Office, and complies with the UKRIO standards of research integrity and governance, including the security and accessibility of research data. Access the UKRIO’s requirements on data retention and storage

Policy

The University is developing a policy on research data management which has been agreed in principle by senior management. Policy and practice in this area is evolving, and we are working towards compliance with various research integrity and governance standards and funders’ mandates for sharing research data.

Implementation

 The focus will be on 

  1. Identifying processes and structures to support this activity
  2. Development of a University of Aberdeen research data catalogue
  3. Development of processes to monitor compliance
  4. General advocacy around research data management plans, 

With a view to comply with the EPSRC by 1 May 2015 and a wider roll out of the policy thereafter.

We have identified a large, multidisciplinary project as the pilot area for the implementation.  We will be working with administrators and researchers towards compliance with the EPSRC mandate.  This will allow an opportunity to identify and address practical and procedural issues, and to develop a programme for training and advocacy which will then be rolled out to other EPSRC grant holders and eventually across the University.

Infrastructure 

Research data management plans

Most research councils and other major funders require a data management plan as part of the funding application. The Business Development Officers in Research and Innovation and the Data Management team within IT Services can provide support and advice in the completion of these.

The Digital Curation Centre has developed an online research data management plan tool, DMP Online to assist researchers to develop research data management plans. We are currently working on customising this tool for research council applications with a view to rolling this out to staff towards the end of 2014.  Once in place for research council applications DMP Online will be rolled out for projects supported by other funders.

Costs for data management are an eligible cost from many grant funders, including the research councils. Costs can be requested for data storage and archiving as well as data management costs such as data co-ordinators, database costs and safe haven costs, providing these costs are incurred within the duration of the grant.

Institutional dataset catalogue

We are planning to use our research information system, Pure, as our dataset catalogue.  Pure allows for the recording of basic metadata and the storage of data within our institutional repository.  For data stored in external (subject) repositories, Pure can record metadata and link to the dataset via DOI or weblink.  The datasets can be linked to research publications and grants numbers on our grants database.  They can be marked visible to public and will then appear in the research portal, where they are fully discoverable. 

PURE

  • Guidance on how to add datasets to Pure - The dataset functionality in Pure is evolving, and the next versions of the system will add further items and workflows to the metadata. 
  • The RDM draft policy
RDM Guidance

If you have any questions, or need advice, please contact one of the key support services for assistance.

Creating Data

Organising Data

Keeping and Storing Data

Finding and Sharing Data

Training and Skills Development

Internal training and development opportunities

External resources

Essential Links