Digital Curation Centre
Digital Curation Centre Pipeline Newsletter | January 2017
                            
What we learned this month


IDCC
The 12th International Digital Curation Conference - IDCC17 - is less than a week away as we write. We're looking forward to welcoming 250 colleagues old and new in Edinburgh to hear our keynote speakers Maria Wolters, Alice Daish and Chris Williams, present over 40 papers (and more posters), engage with workshops, demos and Birds of a Feather sessions and leave hopefully better-informed, more connected and inspired. We had to close registration early this year when we reached the venue capacity before the formal closing date. We're delighted that IDCC is so popular, but sorry that we can't accommodate everyone. Some last-minute cancellations are allowing us to let a few of those on the waiting list through, but many will be disappointed. Book early next year to avoid this problem!


EOSCPilot launch
September's Pipeline contained news that funding had been confirmed for a project to pilot approaches to the delivery of the European Open Science Cloud. The project had its kickoff meeting in January and Kevin Ashley & Angus Whyte of the DCC were both present. It's a complex project with many partners some of whom won't be known until later in-project calls for science demonstrators are issued and evaluated. The DCC's role is primarily in the area of skills and capabilities, where we are leading a work package. You can read more about the full range of project activities on the EOSC Pilot web site.

The project is intended to do more to join up existing disjoint infrastructures and this applies to training development and delivery as much as it does to data and compute infrastructure. The EOSC pilot will adopt the competence-based approached used in career development planning to identify relevant competencies for researchers, apply these to research data expertise, and align these with service capability models and standards, for example the Data Seal of Approval and other certification frameworks. The rationale is to align new capabilities and competencies with models used by research organisations to plan and to recognise and endorse skill or service development.  The results will support engagement between, on the one hand, developers of training material on data science and stewardship and, on the other, HR professionals who plan career development pathways for the research and support roles the training is relevant to. We believe this will help ensure training makes a difference to reward structures, incentivising people to manage and sustain the quality raw material needed for good data science.


Smart Descriptions, Smarter Vocabularies
A draft report is now available from the Smart Descriptions, Smarter Vocabularies workshop which took place in Amsterdam in the closing weeks of 2016. The report is recommended reading for anyone involved with data description, discovery and evaluation. There was material in the presentations to suit those focussed on the technical details of recommendations such as DCAT and on the implications of these details for data producers, data users and data stewards. One outcome of the workshop is the creation of a new working group charged with revising and extending DCAT, providing guidance and exemplars of its use, and standardizing content negotiation by profile.
 
RISE – a self-start tool for research data management service review

If your role includes responsibility for your institution’s RDM services you will understand how important it is to periodically review whether your service is delivering on compliance, quality and economy. Whether you are developing the business case to roll out a live service, or preparing for  periodic service review, it can be useful to benchmark your service against sector norms. The DCC’s Research Infrastructure Self-Evaluation (RISE) framework is a straightforward checklist that should help you review the scope of your service and where improvements may be made. 

RISE focuses on ten common areas of institutional RDM support, including technical and ‘soft’ infrastructure. For each of these areas we have described a range of support processes, describing three levels of capability for each. The framework offers statements describing these capability levels, designed to help frame discussions with stakeholders. By identifying where your current provision lies, on a scale ranging from basic compliance to a sector-leading service offering, the framework should help you work out where your service offers the value that stakeholders are looking for, and where improvements may be made.

The RISE framework has been developed and tested with a number of UK HE institutions. The framework draws on more than ten year’s experience supporting institutions to develop RDM services, and it recognises the wide diversity in the services they need and can afford.  RISE also builds on the DCC’s long experience developing tools to assess data management and preservation, such as CARDIO, DAF, and AIDA. We look forward to expanding its role in our training and consultancy. If you are interested in this or just have questions about using RISE, please get in touch at info@dcc.ac.uk


Resource of the month

We're often asked for stories to demonstrate the impact of data sharing and reuse and will point people to publications such as the Open to All? study we did for RIN, and their report on the value of data centres both of which contain a variety of useful examples in their case studies as well as broader information about the value of data infrastructure. This recent publication from ANDS, available as a free ebook, is a welcome addition to the canon. It describes 16 stories of reuse of Australian data gathered during a recent campaign. If you're looking for varied stories to tell about data reuse, dataimpact - stories about the real-life impact of Australian research data could be for you.

Future events


DMP session at RDA
The forthcoming RDA Plenary is taking place in Barcelona from 5th-7th April 2017. We co-chair the interest group on Active Data Management Plans and have a dedicated session at this plenary intended to move this work forward and ideally establish working groups with identified time-limited tasks to define functions and formats for machine-actionable DMPs and demonstrate them within production systems. Look out for future news of how you can contribute, whether or not you can make it in person to Barcelona.
 
And finally...
Barely a month after we wrap up IDCC, Edinburgh will be hosting its first ever Data Festival organised by Scotland's Data Lab . The festival is a mixture of formal and informal events centred on Edinburgh but with fringe events taking place around Scotland. From learning about data visualisation and machine learning, through briefings on data innovation in financial technology to travelling art shows inspired by data there's something for everyone. The Data Festival takes place from March 20th - 24th.
 

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