Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Research Data Management and Curation Services Framework

In the last months we have been conducting a consultation with service units in Oxford to validate the requirements gathered through the researchers interviews as well as to define what data management services are on offer and where the gaps in service provision are.

Researchers' top requirements for services were:

  • Advice on practical issues related to managing data across their life cycle. 
  • A secure and user-friendly solution that allows storage of large volume of data and sharing of these in a controlled fashion way allowing fine-grained access control mechanisms.
  • A sustainable infrastructure that allows publication and long-term preservation of research data for those disciplines not currently served by domain specific services such as the UK Data Archive, NERC Data Centres, European Bioinformatics Institute and others.
Those requirements helped to produce the following framework of research data management services :

Data Management and Sharing Plans

Support and advice to help researchers prepare their data management and sharing plans.

Legal and Ethical

This service includes support to assist researchers with t

he legal and ethical implications of creating, sharing and using data.

Best Formats and Best Practice

Support for researchers to decide which are the best formats and practice for producing and documenting specific data. This service may also include provision of support for database design.

Secure Storage

Secure storage includes infrastructure that allows storing research data providing backup and version control capabilities amongst other things.


Tools and support to permit researchers describe their data from the moment of creation

Access and Discovery

A support service as well as tools to help researchers locate and access research data. This service could also include tools to help research groups to find about their data resources using the Data Audit Framework methodology.

Computation, Analysis & Visualization

Software and computing resources that allow analysis and visualization of research data as well as the training needed to equip researchers with the appropriate skills.

Restricted Sharing

Technical infrastructure to share research data with selected individuals or groups.

Data Cleaning

Support to clean and prepare data to the standard required for publication. This service should include help with anonymizing data.


Infrastructure that permits researchers to publish documented data and link them to research articles and other materials located in other repositories. In some cases researchers may want to exploit their data commercially. DRAMBORA could serve as a tool here to assess repositories that publish the data.

Assess Value

One of the main challenges with research data is deciding what data needs to be kept and for how long.


This service would be responsible for looking after the data in the long-term applying the required measures so that the data is accessible through time.

Add Value

Once the data is stored with the metadata associated with it, value can be added by organizing similar data in groups, promoting it, linking it to other materials or allowing annotations.

In order to validate this framework we mapped it to the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model, see below: 

Mapping between DCC Curation Lifecycle and Research Data Management Services

DCC Lifecycle Model Sequential Actions

Research Data Management Services



Data Management/ Sharing Plans; Best Formats and Best Practice; Legal and Ethical

This stage is related to services to support researchers in the production of data management and data sharing plans. It is also related to the advisory services for best formats and best practice for data creation as well as legal and ethical services for data creation (for instance to clearly define the ownership of the data to be created or how can they be used) and sharing.

Create or receive

Best Format and Best Practice; Metadata

At this point researchers need support to figure out best formats and best practice as well how to best document their data with appropriate metadata.

Appraise and select/ dispose

Assess Value

This phase relates to services to assess value of the data.


Data Cleaning, Add Value

Before data are ingested, they will need to be prepared and cleaned. During ingestion other information can be added to enhance them.

Preservation Action


Obviously relates to preservation services.


Secure Storage

This stage clearly relates to the secure storage.

Access, Use and Reuse

Publication; Legal and Ethical; Computation, Analysis and Visualization

This phase relates to several of the research data management services. Publication of data as well as access and discovery belong to this stage.  When publishing data there is a legal aspect that needs to be addressed and hence the relation here to legal services. In addition to this, the use and reuse of data is tightly coupled to analysis and computational services.


Computation, Analysis and Visualization; Preservation

Transforming the data relates to producing new derived version of them by either analysis, visualization or for preservation purposes.

And now we are using this framework to establish the levels of service provided for each of the services in the framework in order to identify those that need to be develop further.