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Professional development opportunities for research data management available

If you are among the many researchers who are using the down time created by COVID-19-related curtailment of research for professional development, you might want to check out the data management resources below. The list was compiled by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Associate of American Universities (AAU) as part of an ongoing collaboration on public access to research. The APLU’s Council on Research, which distributed the list, offered special thanks to Utah State University; Lisa Johnston and Jim Wilgenbusch at University of Minnesota; and Cynthia Vitale at Penn State University.

  • Data Management Short Course for Scientists – From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) in cooperation with NOAA and the Data Conservancy.
  • Data Management Training Clearinghouse – A registry for online learning resources focusing on research data management, hosted by ESIP.
  • DataONE Education Modules – DataONE provides several downloadable lessons in PowerPoint format that can be incorporated into teaching materials. Also available are webinars and screencast tutorials.
  • Research Data Management and Sharing – Coursera offers this five-week, introductory-level course [course started April 6]. Enrollment for is free; and optional certificate of completion is available for a $49 fee.
  • Research Data Management: A Primer – Offered by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) this primer covers the basics of research data management.
  • Data Management & Curation – The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), an international consortium of more than 750 academic institutions and research organizations, provides training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community.
  • Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving – Offered by ICPSR.
  • ETD+ Toolkit – Designed by the Educopia Institute for Graduate Students learning how to manage research for theses and dissertations, but useful to anyone involved in research.
  • MANTRA Research Data Management Training – A free online course from the University of Edinburgh for those who manage digital data as part of their research project. Modules include data protection, rights, and access; sharing and licensing; and metadata and curation.
  • Disciplinary RDM Training – Lists discipline-focused training units by RDMTrain. In addition to MANTRA (see above), units focusing on performing arts; archeology and social anthropology; health studies; and psychology are available. Maintained by the Digital Curation Centre of the U.K.

Image by Jisc, used under Creative Commons license.

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Librarian delivers workshop on NSF data management plans

Head-and-shoulder portrait of a man with grey hair and a full beard and mustache. He is wearing silver metal-framed glasses and a blue plaid button-down shirt.
Numeric and Spatial Data Services Librarian Eric Johnson led an October 21 workshop on NSF data management plans for Miami faculty.

As part of the NSF workshop series hosted by OARS, University Libraries Numeric and Spatial Data Services Librarian Eric Johnson presented information on the importance of data management to attendees at an October 21 session.

“Data Management is consciously planning each step of the data lifecycle,” Johnson explained. Specifically, he said, data management involves the creation of data, the use of data, determining how data will be stored, and who will have access to the data.

Data management is important not only because investigators don’t want this product of their hard work to become forgotten, lost, or inaccessible, but also because making data available after publication allows other researchers to use it to make additional discoveries. In addition, there is a federal mandate for public access to data generated from research funded with federal dollars.

Johnson said it is important for investigators to decide who will be responsible for the data every step of the way. For instance, if a student collects data, what happens to that data once the student has graduated? Who can access that data and will it be understandable? Johnson also said plans should be made for who will be in charge of – and have access to – the device or devices where the data is stored.

Overall, Johnson said, a sound data management plan answers the following questions:

  • What type of data will be collected?
  • Who has responsibility for the data at each step?
  • How and when will data be backed up?
  • How will investigators gain access to the data?
  • How will others discover the data?
  • Where will the data be stored after the project ends?
  • Will the data be available in multiple formats? Will it be open-source? Can it be migrated to new formats in the future?
  • Do special precautions need to be put into place to protect sensitive data?

For the benefit of Miami’s researchers, University Libraries subscribes to the University of California Curation Center’s Data Management Planning (DMP) tool. By signing in with their Miami credentials, investigators have free online access to templates for constructing data management plans, custom guidance for different types of grant applications, and sample plans. In addition to helping investigators create data management plans, the DMP also allows them to upload their plans for review by Johnson and colleagues (given sufficient time).

Johnson’s contact information and a link to the DMP are available on the OARS website. Additional data management plan workshops are planned for winter term and early summer term.

Written by Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Data set image by Fernanda B. Viegas via Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons license.  Photo of Eric Johnson by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Photo Services.