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.

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