PhD recruitment complete

After nearly 70 applications and 20 interviews (although a badly timed reaction to the flu jab meant that Jill had to do over half the interviews by herself whilst I was on my sick bed/sofa) we have chosen the PhD students who we are going to be working with over the next 12 months.

It was an exceptionally strong field and a very difficult choice but the successful applicants cover both a wide range of disciplines and of data types. I am currently arranging an initial workshop for the middle of December where we can all meet as a group for the first time and where Jill and I can brief everyone on how we see the 12 months progressing. The workshop will also include exercises and discussions on research data management.

The application and interview stages gave us far more information about the state of research data management at Exeter than we were expecting and we are currently collating all of this into a spreadsheet which will help me when I move onto the DAF after Christmas.

Posted under News

This post was written by Gareth Cole on November 14, 2011

Introduction to Open Exeter

Open Exeter will build on the work of the University’s current Science-driven Exeter Data Archive, extending the existing pilot DSpace data repository across the University to all disciplines. In order for us to provide an effective and efficient multi-disciplinary service, we first need to understand what kind of data exists throughout the University, and how it is used and handled. To get to that point, we intend to undertake two related investigations: 1) the Data Asset Framework will allow us to obtain a broad snapshot of data assets and their management across the University, 2) a more in-depth, long-term investigation, ‘Follow the Data’, which will involve working with four later years postgraduate researchers in different subject areas, will lead to an understanding of how researchers create, use and reuse data in real life scenarios.

Findings from these two exercises, which will be led by Gareth Cole, our Data Curation Officer, will guide the development of a surrounding framework of discipline-specific training materials and guidance to support researchers’ data management needs. These materials will be developed and tested in collaboration with the DCC.

Alongside these activities, technical development will focus on two main areas: 1) testing, improving and refining the pilot system so that performance is at the highest level achievable in order to make use as appealing, easy and quick as possible, 2) trialling integration of our research publications repository, ERIC: ( with the data repository to make deposit, searching, citation and storage of related publication/primary data easier for both researchers and curation staff. An additional consideration related to integration work is our about to be launched Repository Tools facility that will allow research materials to be deposited to ERIC via our Current Research Information System, Symplectic.

An Advocacy and Governance Officer will lead the remaining major workstrand focussing on developing and implementing strategies for embedding the repository/data curation service in the research lifecycle. This work will be underpinned by creation of a policy and governance framework to ensure embedding of research data management good practice in the institutional mindset.


Open Exeter aims to create an environment in which Exeter is equipped to ‘act open’ with its research data in order to facilitate collaboration and increase the global impact of research.

Objectives include the ratification of institutional RDM and Open Access policies and a business model for sustainable post-project technical development and data curation support. Researchers will have the support, knowledge and skills needed to act as effective data managers, measured through the adoption of new KPIs to monitor use and adoption rates. The project will seek to embed new policy and guidance within existing committee structures and to strengthen existing cross-departmental bonds.

Anticipated Outputs and Outcomes

• Report on data investigation activities: DAF and Follow the Data
• Technical requirements analysis
• Refinement and extension of the existing repository including work to integrate published research with related primary data
• Development of a range of discipline-specific RDM training materials, planning guides and courses
• One-stop-shop research data management web site
• Shared curation service including clear, defined roles and responsibilities
• Ratification of institutional RDM policy
• Advocacy/Communications plan
• Business case for long-term sustainability
• Project evaluation report

Posted under News

This post was written by Jill Evans on November 1, 2011