DARTS3

A couple of weeks ago I presented a paper at the Third Discover Academic Research Training and Support Conference at Dartington Hall. For a full review of the two days see Laura Molloy’s JISC MRD Evidence Gathering blog. Our paper was entitled “Creating and Maintaining a Sustainable Research Data Management Service: Where Do Librarians Fit?” and the slides are available on our website.

In addition to my paper, it was interesting to listen to the other papers and also to speak to other delegates. It is easy to sit in a research data management (RDM) bubble and think that everyone knows about RDM issues. However, in speaking to a number of delegates it soon became clear that for most of them, RDM did not sit high up on their agendas (if indeed it sat there at all). Those of us working on RDM on a daily basis must remember that not everybody is and any sustainable solution needs to take this into account.

As I was speaking just after lunch we decided that rather than having to listen to me droning on for an hour we would include an interactive element. We decided to produce a questionnaire on research data management training. Following on from our DAF survey a quick analysis of the answers to the questionnaire has proved very informative.

We asked in our DAF survey which areas related to RDM researchers would like training in. There were a total of 284 respondents and the answers were as follows (respondents could give more than one answer):

Training Area

Number

How to Develop a Data Management Plan

144

Organising Research Material

123

File and Document Management

112

Legal and Ethical Issues

115

Bibliographic Software

83

Institutional Repositories and Open Access

121

In our DARTS3 questionnaire we asked in which of the above fields the delegates would feel comfortable teaching. The results are below (although there were c50 delegates we only have the results from the 33 questionnaires collected by us on the day):

In which of these would you feel comfortable training researchers?

Not Comfortable at all

Comfortable

Confident

How to Develop a Data Management Plan

29

4

0

Organising Research Material

21

11

1

File and Document Management

17

15

1

Legal and Ethical Issues

25

7

1

Bibliographic Software

5

10

18

Institutional Repositories and Open Access

3

14

14

As can be seen, there is a definite need to “train the trainers” on RDM issues. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the delegates present at the conference felt much more comfortable teaching on Bibliographic Software and Open Access than the other topics. However, the results of our survey show that training on Bibliographic Software is the least required by researchers (although this could be because it is already provided at Exeter). If we are expecting that librarians, or related staff, are to lead workshops, training sessions etc. on RDM issues in the future then they need to feel comfortable on the topic before they can teach. The knowledge to teach cannot be passed without effort and at Exeter we have started to train librarians and support staff: we are running a segment we are calling “The Holistic Librarian” with one of our subject librarians and members of the DCC recently ran a half day training session for our Subject Librarians, IT staff and Research and Knowledge Transfer staff.

This is, of course, an ongoing process and we will continue to “train the trainers” throughout the lifetime of the project.

Posted under Follow the Data, Holistic Librarian, Online survey, Reports, Training

This post was written by Gareth Cole on July 11, 2012

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