Friday, 26 September 2008

Spatial Data Visualization Tools Briefing Paper - DataShare

The JISC funded DataShare project has just published the second part of the briefing paper Data Visualization Tools: Spatial Data in a Web 2.0 Environment and Beyond by Stuart Macdonald. The paper describes an incredible collection of spatial mash-up and geo-browser tools and shows examples of academic research use of some of these technologies.

The vision proposed is that "by opening up their code to repository developers (e.g. through APIs) numeric and spatial data tools could be utilised further within this environment to engage potential depositors, to enhance output, and to provide analysis and visualisations as part of ‘value-added’ functionality."

This is a must read for anyone interested in Geo Web or Geo 2.0!


Friday, 19 September 2008

New JISC report on role and skills of data scientists

I wrote a summary of this report for DISC-UK DataShare 

"In my opinion, this is another very useful report that, amongst other things, calls for urgent action from research funders, universities and the library community to not only train future professionals in this field but to develop ways to recognise their work. I am very pleased to see the strong emphasis on libraries and data librarians and I am looking forward to see how the recommendations can be addressed. "  

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Upcoming Project Workshop - 20th October

The Institutional and National Services for Research Data Management Workshop is the second event organized as part of the Scoping Digital Repository Services for Research Data Management project. 

Speakers from San Diego Supercomputer Centre, the UK Data Archive, the Archaeology Data Service and the NERC Environmental Bioinformatics Centre will show through examples and case studies the types of research data services that could potentially be delivered at Oxford. After this, a panel formed by representatives of Oxford service providers will discuss their role in supporting researchers with their data management.

To find more information and register please visit:

Saturday, 13 September 2008

UKRDS Interim Report

SERCO has published the UKRDS Interim Report where "The Committee is asked to consider the role of UKRDS as a vehicle for achieving coherence in data management strategy and service provision across the UK."

This report analyses the current situation in the UK with a detailed look at relevant literature and funders policies, it then moves into describing the emerging trends of local data repositories and national facilities to finally look at Australia, the US and the EU, competitors and partners of the UK. It suggests three options for UKRS models:

  • No change
  • Massively centralised
  • Hybrid/Umbrella

The Hybrid/Umbrella model is presented as a lower risk and more managable option and promotes the UKRDS "representing the interests of many UK data repositories, both those based around single institutions and those based on storage for a single discipline." Amongst the functions of this model of "grid computing and cloud-base data storage", UKRDS would play the role of mediator, standards-setting body, source of information similar to the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and in time a data repository in its own.

I highly recommend everyone with an interest in research data management to have a look at this report as not only it captures the current state of affairs in the UK and elsewhere but also offers possible ways forward. The Hybrid/Umbrella model seems like a sound option to me, specially if UKRDS would be able to address what Liz Lyon's termed as the big gap during the Oxford Workshop, the joint up from funding bodies and councils for a national data strategy . As far as I am aware, UKRDS will report to HEFCE at the end of the year and hopefully the UK will have a new body to support and guide those institutions that, like Oxford, have an interest in developing services for research data management.