Friday, 28 May 2010

The DCC´s Data Management Planning Tool

The Digital Curation Centre has developed a web-based data management planning tool to assist with the preparation of basic Data Management Plans (DMP) at the funding application stage as well as to help building and maintain a more detailed DMP during the project's lifetime.

Back in July 2009, the EIDCSR project responded to the proposed DCC Data Management Plan Content Checklist. This test version of the DMP tool seems to have taken into account the comments made:
  • The objective of the tool i.e. assisting with the production and maintenance of DMPs is clear and pertinent.
  • The plans can be exported into PDF and HTML so they can easily be included in funding applications, websites, etc. Moreover, the plans incorporate the DMP Online logo showing that the tool has been used which should show the evaluators that the creators have taken the time and interest to use this tool.
  • The plans can be easily edited and adjusted as required if circumstances change. This makes the DMPs a living document helping to ensure its usefulness throughout the lifecycle of the project.
Some other aspects are still unclear or could be enhanced:
  • In terms of encouraging researchers to use the tool, is there any effort towards convincing RCUKs to recommend their bidders using it?
  • It is still unclear whether the DMP team provides support for using the tool only or they can also help with the preparation of the DMPS. In cases where there data centres are in place, some might already provide this support and therefore this could be included in the guidance element of the tool.
  • Some of the information collected in the DMPs can be of great help to later on the lifecycle document the datasets that will be produced. Hence it would be convenient if these data could be exported into more reusable formats.
  • Creating a data management plan from scratch can be an arduous task that could be eased off by providing examples of plans in particular areas that can help guiding and inspiring those creating new ones.
  • In some cases researchers will want to create a DMP without necessarily having, or planning to have, funding from one of the research councils in the UK. This does not seem to be possible with this tool at the moment. A generic DMP that is not specific to any funding agency could be extremely useful.

Overall, this test version of the DCC´s Data Management Planning tool is shaping up nicely and there is a clear need for it. Bringing together the RCUK statements on data management, the DCC´s generic DMP clauses and guidance from a variety of reputable sources can help researchers immensely.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Digital Curation Centre Workshop at Oxford on the 16th June, 2010 – How to Manage Research Data

I am very pleased to announce that the Digital Curation Centre will be paying a visit to Oxford on the 16th June to present a workshop on managing research data. The workshop is aimed primarily at researchers interested in bidding for funding for projects with a data output, although it should also appeal to those who assist and support research activities and who would like to find out more about the challenges of data curation.

Although the workshop will obviously be of relevance to those interested in either the Sudamih or EIDCSR projects, it will not focus exclusively on a particular academic discipline but should be useful across the board. Sessions will include: the roles and responsibilities associated with conceptualising, creating and managing research data during the life of a project; the responsibilities associated with the longer-term management of research data after a project has ended; developing a data management plan; and preparing data for long-term curation and re-use.

The workshop is free for members of the University of Oxford, £50 for non-members.

Anyone interested in attending the workshop should register at

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Data management and curation cost modelling

The final report of the Keeping Research Data Safe 2 (KRDS2) project has now been published delivering a survey of data preservation costs, an enhanced curation activity model, four in-depth case studies and a benefits framework .

Oxford, and in particular the research groups participating in EIDCSR, participated as one of the case studies. For this exercise cost information was gathered on activities related to generation of data, local data management as well as the curatorial activities undertaken as part of EIDCSR such as metadata management and long-term archiving.

It is hard to make any inferences from these costs as they represent a snapshoot in time of one particular research project. Nonetheless, the Oxford costs information revealed that:

  • generating research data can be extremely expensive,
  • local data management may be modestly resourced in comparison with the value of the data,
  • start-up curation services, i.e. curation services in the process of development, can also be expensive,
  • the cost of established data management services, such as the long-term filestore, can be be rather low in comparison to those services in the process of development.
The report contains more detailed information about the Oxford case study as well as the others including the UK Data Archive, the Archaeology Data Service and the National Digital Archive of Datasets.

Friday, 7 May 2010

A new interesting project: Data Management for Bio-Imaging

A new data management project funded by JISC known as Data Management for Bio-Imaging has just created a wiki that will contain relevant information about the project.

The aim of the project is to generate better understanding and planning of data management for bio-imaging within the John Innes Centre

The project plans to document the data flows and infrastructure in the Coen Lab and the JISC Bio-Imaging service. In both cases they use sophisticated instruments such as light microscopy, CCD systems and confocal microscopy generating terabytes of imaging data.

To address their data management needs they are deploying an Open Microscopy Environment known as OMERO which features like:

- Managing and organizing
- Search&Browsing
- 3D Projection
- Metadata, annotation, tagging
- Share, Export, Import

In addition to this, they will train users, including post-docs, to use the system as well as defining strategies to handle user acceptance and encourage image processing.

This is an extremely interesting activity and we´ll surely keep a close eye.