Friday, 21 March 2008

A UK Research Data Management Forum

The UK Research Data Management Forum inaugural workshop was organized by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and the Research Information Network (RIN). A mixed audience  formed by staff from data centres, data managers, some research councils, JISC, librarians, repository managers and IT specialists came together to hear about, discuss and share ideas around data management.

Michael Jubb, Director of RIN, gave the keynote address delving on RIN's Research Data Principles. A number of data categorizations were mentioned to show the variety and inconsistency of those and it was highlighted the need to reward researchers for making their data available.

Martin Lewis, Director of Library Services and Librarian at the University of Sheffield , talked about the division of responsibilities between data centres, institutions, libraries and others pointing out the need for a national data strategy. After this he introduced the UK Research Data Service (UKRDS) , a feasibility study to assess costs of a national share service to deal with research data generated in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). It is worth mentioning here that Oxford is participating in the UKRDS as one of the four case studies.

The next presentation brought Mark Thorley, NERC's Data Management Coordinator,  to discuss how to provide appropriate skills in data curation. Mark pointed out the importance of understanding why data needs to be managed to help identifying the skills needed and proposed three key players : researchers, data managers and informaticians. The shortage of data managers and the need to professionalize their career were also issues raised in this presentation.

Finally, the breakout sessions had the mission of discussing the remit of the forum and suggest what could the DCC  do to help providing appropriate skills for data curation. Most attendees agreed on the usefulness of having this forum to discuss practical issues but also recognized that a lobbying group is also required. It was noted throughout the workshop that dealing with the data deluge is a huge task and there is a need to provide evidence of the benefits of curating research data and nurturing a workforce of data managers.


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Licensing your data

Last Friday I attended the seminar "Implementing Open Data: the Open Data Commons project" at the Oxford Internet Institute. Jordan Hatcher, a lawyer and researcher working on IP issues,  explained how the concept of open data shares principles with those of open source and free software, i.e. data will be available for re-use by the public without  any further licensing or permission needed. 

Jordan pointed out that data can be protected by copyright and database rights and how those require permission in the form of a licence. But in case the data producer or rightsholder wants to openly share the data, then there is no easy way to do this.

The Open Data Commons project has developed a set of licences, in draft form, based on the Science Commons Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data that attempt to address this key legal data dissemination issue. 

In relation to these efforts, it is worth pointing out the work carried out by the DART (Dataset Acquisition, Accesibility and Annotation e-Research Technologies) project developing tools and services to enable their researchers to make use of licences to disseminate their data (also based on the Science Commons Initiative).    

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Project Plan is now available

The full project plan for Scoping Digital Repository Services for Research Data Management is now available for download as a PDF document.