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.


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