Digital Curation Centre
Digital Curation Centre Pipeline Newsletter | April 2013

What we learned this month

Research Data Alliance inaugural plenary – report by Kevin Ashley
The Research Data Alliance (RDA) was formally launched at a meeting in Gothenberg, Sweden, from 18 - 20 March 2013. The event was designed to achieve a number of things. By bringing high-profile speakers from each of the backers in Europe, Australia and the USA, it demonstrated the level of commitment that exists to make the RDA a success. With plenary speakers from a range of scientific disciplines and infrastructure providers, we got a good insight into the real challenges facing researchers and the work that has already been done to tackle them. In the breakout sessions, candidate working and interest groups got to refine their proposals, and in some cases react to feedback already received from the RDA steering group. Finally, the last session allowed participants to refine the governance and operational model for the organisation itself. There was a great deal to achieve in those three days and much still remains to be done. I don't think anyone present was left in doubt about high-level backing or the scale of the challenges. However, the unusual nature of this first meeting, with many plenary presentations, left less time for the working groups and for the interaction necessary to merge, split and refine proposals ready for discussion on the final day. It's also challenging to edit the constitution of an organisation in an interactive session involving over 100 people! At the end of the event, I think everyone went away with a much clearer idea of what they, their organisations, and their funders could do to make the RDA a success, and with a better sense of how important that success might be to them. The two working groups now approved should be able to report progress at the next plenary in Washington in September. Look out for more news about the RDA and what it means to you from the DCC soon. For more background to the RDA and how others might engage, read this blog post from 17 March 2013: IDCC13 and the Research Data Alliance.

Jisc Managing Research Data conference
Lots of inspiring talks and great outputs were shared at the MRD conference in Birmingham on 25 and 26 March. Reflecting on getting their business case for RDM approved, Simon Price of the data.bris project explained that the potential benefits and opportunities for collaborative research had been a far more persuasive argument with senior management, than compliance with funder and publisher requirements. This was echoed by others throughout the event. In the training strand, the consensus among the attendees was that training for support staff was about building confidence, as staff had a lot to bring to the discussions. The emphasis was mostly on facilitation rather than teaching. Some amazing work was also on display in the project and demo sessions. The Orbital researcher dashboard in particular is worth mentioning. It pulls together awards information, publications, datasets, analytics from the repository and eases the process of deposit. There was too much on show to do it justice in this newsletter, so we encourage you to visit the programme updated with links to the posters and presentations. Also, you can read more about this event in Angus Whyte's recent blog post entitled 'The sweet smell of sustainability - Jisc MRD projects make the business case'.

Research data matters in the visual arts
The DCC’s Martin Donnelly and Marieke Guy attended the end-of-project conference Research data matters in the visual arts for Jisc-funded KAPTUR project. Despite dealing with the uncharted territory of best practice in the management of research data in the visual arts, the project has had many highlights including RDM policy adoption being ‘almost there’ across the four partner institutions, and considerable knowledge development in the area of infrastructure. The conference concluded how there is still much work to be done in gathering, curating, engaging and preserving research data in the visual arts.

Resources of the month

Paisley pattern

DCC Publication: How to Develop RDM Services – a guide for HEIs 
The DCC’s latest How-to guide: How to Develop RDM Services - a guide for HEIs draws examples from the Jisc MRD programmes and DCC Institutional Engagements to explain the types of RDM services that institutions may wish to deliver. Practical examples are given where possible and a series of associated case studies is in development.

Do-It-Yourself Research Data Management Training Kit for Librarians
This University of Edinburgh’s DIY training kit has been designed to “contain everything you need to complete training in research data management”. Try it out now!

Future events

Framing the digital curation curriculum
The objective of this conference is to encourage discussion and build a consensus on the main criteria required to develop training courses for professionals in digital curation in the cultural heritage sector.
Screening the Future 2013: Crossing Boundaries for AV Preservation
The conference aims to navigate participants through current case studies, and the latest thinking on standards and planning for the digital preservation of AV assets.
  • London, UK, from 7 to 8 May 

The Now and Future of Data Publishing
The symposium will provide an overview of the current landscape, interrogate the apparent benefits for researchers and research in general and examine visions for the future of data publication. Above all, what sort of data publication will most engage researchers and most benefit research?
IASSIST 2013 - Data Innovation: Increasing Accessibility, Visibility and Sustainability
The theme of this conference reflects recent efforts across the globe by the largest government agencies, down to the smaller independent research units to make data (be it survey, administrative, geospatial, or scientific) more open, accessible and understandable for all.
  • Cologne, Germany, from 28 to 31 May

And finally...

We will be running training events in April as part of DCC’s institutional engagements’ programme including at the University of East London, Northampton, Edinburgh and the Open University. At Northampton, for example, we are organising a half-day training session for librarians reusing content from SupportDM, University of Edinburgh’s DIY training kit and RDMRose. We have also been inspired by the Leeds RoaDMaP approach to training, and hope to produce something similar for librarians. It includes a self-contained resource pack of slides and exercises with an accompanying handbook for participants to work through and take away. There should be lots of content coming out of all of these events for others to reuse.  Would you like us to provide training at your institution? Get in touch. 

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