European Landscape Study of Research Data Management
23 Sep 2013 Utrecht -
The European Landscape Study of Research Data Management offers an overview of how to effectively support researchers in their data management. It looks at interventions by funding agencies, research institutions, national bodies and publishers across the European Union member states. The report also makes recommendations that organisations can adopt to help their researchers.
The European Landscape Study of Research Data Management, carried out by SURF, is part of the European SIM4RDM project - Support Infrastructure Models for Research Data Management. The aim of this project is to equip researchers with the knowledge, skills and support infrastructures they need to adopt good research data management practices. The Landscape study is the first step towards a "cookbook" for implementing research data management. Together with the project partners, SURF will work on case studies that will be the proof of the pudding.
The Landscape study offers recommendations for all stakeholders. These recommendations are being incorporated in an European intervention and evaluation framework for Horizon 2020. Here is an overview of recommendations:
- National research organisations could take the lead in drafting a national code of conduct which encourages the creation and use of data management plans, suggest and supply appropriate tooling and take an active role in data citation practices.
- Funding bodies should encourage researchers by offering clear instructions to create a data management plan at the level of the project proposal and they can designate centres to store research data. In the Netherlands both NWO and ZonMw are working on a policy, instructions and support for researchers.
- The number of research institutions using a data management policy is growing. Many institutions offer an infrastructure to store, manage and access research data comprising a variety of file storage and library systems. In the Netherlands more and more universities are setting up data management support services.
- Interviews with researchers show that policies should primarily cover roles and responsibilities for managing data, mechanisms for storage, back-up, registration, deposit and retention of research data, access to re-use of data, open accessibility and availability of data and long term preservation and curation.
- Not many publishers have a policy in place yet. The policies that do exist require links to the data underlying the article or to make entire datasets available when submitting the article, but not to keep them up to date. A dialogue should be established with publishers and publishers' associations about the definition of data policies. Possible elements are persistent identifiers for citation of data and requirements of reliability for repositories in which data are to be deposited.
The setting for research data management is broader than initially anticipated. Other stakeholders need to be brought in as well, e.g. editorial boards of scientific journals, data centres and infrastructure providers. Research societies may intervene with the development of common practices. Infrastructure providers could intervene with common data formats for preservation and storage, tools and utilities. Policies from funders, institutes and editorial boards may influence researchers to use the principle of "share and share alike".
The landscape report is the first step in exploring stakeholders involved with research data management practice and support infrastructures. With the overview of used and planned interventions, the EU will determine models for co-ordinating such interventions so as to ensure maximum impact. And they will implement and pilot an intervention model and evaluation framework. The EU-partners will build international consensus on long term strategy and policy in the area of research data.
The landscape report is available for download .