Benchmarking the Cambridge RDM program

Cambridge University released its Research Data Management Policy Framework today.

This is a good opportunity to assess whether Cambridge is fulfilling the 10 recommendations for libraries on how to get started in data management presented in the final report of the LIBER working group on E-Science / Research Data Management. Since publication in July 2012, this is the most downloaded item from the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) website. We list below the 10 recommendations and what Cambridge is doing to meet them.

Benchmarking against RDM recommendations

  1. Offer research data management support, including data management plans for grant applications, intellectual property rights advice and information materials. Assist faculty with data management plans and the integration of data management into the curriculum.

The Open Data team at the University of Cambridge has created a comprehensive dedicated website for research data management. The website provides researchers with guidance on various aspects of research data management from project design and data management planning, through data collection and maintenance, to data curation and sharing.

The University also offers numerous workshops and training on research data management. An on-demand assistance with all aspects of research data management is available to researchers via a simple website support request form.

  1. Engage in the development of metadata and data standards and provide metadata services for research data.

The University of Cambridge is actively involved in developing metadata standards. All research data depositions to the University data repository occur via a simple website form. This form collects information on metadata descriptions and provides guidance on what should be included in each description field. All research data and metadata descriptions submitted to the University repository are carefully curated by our repository managers.

  1. Create Data Librarian posts and develop professional staff skills for data librarianship.

Cambridge Library has a dedicated research data management working group composed of librarians across various University departments who are actively involved in Open Access. The research data management working group is designing and delivering a series of training and workshops for the broader library community to equip them with professional research data management support skills.

  1. Actively participate in institutional research data policy development, including resource plans. Encourage and adopt open data policies where appropriate in the research data life cycle.

The newly released Research Data Management Policy Framework builds on policy frameworks in place since 2013.  The policy framework encourages the University researchers and research students to share their research data as widely and openly as possible, and provides guidance on best practice for data sharing.

  1. Liaise and partner with researchers, research groups, data archives and data centers [sic] to foster an interoperable infrastructure for data access, discovery and data sharing.

The Open Data Project Working Group at the University of Cambridge consists of members from several independent operational units at the University. These include the Cambridge University Library, the Research Operations Office, the Research Strategy Office and the University Information Services. This ensures a deep integration and engagement within the broader University structure.

Additionally, members of the Open Data team are conducting daily consultations with researchers and with research support staff across all departments at the University, to ensure that the developed research data management services are tailored to meet their needs.

  1. Support the lifecycle for research data by providing services for storage, discovery and permanent access.

At the University of Cambridge the University Information Services provide researchers with day to day research data management solutions, such as platforms for file sharing, data storage and backup. The Open Data team ensures that shareable research data is deposited into a suitable data repository (guaranteeing long term data sustainability) and shared as widely and openly as possible.

  1. Promote research data citation by applying persistent identifiers to research data.

The University of Cambridge data repository mints persistent links to each deposited research dataset. Additionally, the repository is currently being upgraded to enable minting of DOIs (digital object identifiers). These are all persistent links and their use ensures the access to data over the long term preservation period, as well as facilitates data citation.

  1. Promote research data citation by applying persistent identifiers to research data. Provide an institutional Data Catalogue or Data Repository, depending on available infrastructure.

The University of Cambridge provides both a data repository and a data registry. Our institutional repository has accepted research datasets since 2005. The University of Cambridge aims to ultimately be able to streamline and record in an automated way information about metadata descriptions from all repositories used by our researchers.

  1. Get involved in subject specific data management practice.

The respect for subject-specific differences in data management practice is recognised and affirmed throughout the University of Cambridge Research Data Management Policy Framework. The University recognises that research data management solutions need to be tailored to researchers working in different disciplines. Therefore, the Open Data team conducts daily consultations with researchers all different fields of study – to better understand individual needs and to tailor research data management support appropriately.

  1. Offer or mediate secure storage for dynamic and static research data in co-operation with institutional IT units and/or seek exploitation of appropriate cloud services.

The University Information Services (members of which are part of the Open Data Team) are currently developing a cloud-based, Dropbox-like storage solution to facilitate easy and secure data storage and sharing between collaborators.

Published 28 April 2015
Written by Dr Marta Teperek and Dr Danny Kingsley
Creative Commons License

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