Advocacy and the DAF – new Open Exeter case study

Readers may be interested in a new case study describing how the Open Exeter team promoted our online DAF survey. The survey attracted 284 responses, a very respectable response rate which we feel is a result of the advocacy and promotional work carried out before and during the survey. You can read or download the survey from our repository:

Posted under Advocacy and Governance, Case studies, Online survey

This post was written by Jill Evans on September 26, 2012

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Open Exeter DAF survey results

We will post more on our survey results shortly but I wanted to get the report out quickly as I think there may be interest in the findings, particularly amongst JISC MRD projects.

You can access the report from ERIC, our repository:

It would be great to get some feedback or comments.  Equally, we are happy to answer any queries arising from the report.

Posted under Online survey, Reports

This post was written by Jill Evans on August 8, 2012

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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


How to Develop a Data Management Plan


Organising Research Material


File and Document Management


Legal and Ethical Issues


Bibliographic Software


Institutional Repositories and Open Access


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



How to Develop a Data Management Plan




Organising Research Material




File and Document Management




Legal and Ethical Issues




Bibliographic Software




Institutional Repositories and Open Access




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

Congratulations Elif, our Kindle winner!

We would like to thank everyone who participated in our online research data management survey and announce that Elif Gozler, a PhD student in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, was the lucky winner of the Kindle in our prize draw.

Elif was randomly picked from the nearly 300 participants in our research data management survey and was presented the prize today by Afzal Hasan, Subject Librarian for the IAIS and Politics, and Open Exeter’s Holistic Librarian. Elif also enjoyed a cream team with the Open Exeter team.

Congratulations Elif!


Posted under Advocacy and Governance, Follow the Data, Holistic Librarian, News, Online survey

This post was written by Hannah Lloyd-Jones on May 24, 2012

Survey questions

Following on from Sian’s comment on my previous blog I have shared the survey questions we asked in our survey. We used Bristol Online Surveys to create it.

Although we did proof read it numerous times (and asked our PGR students to have a look) a couple of typos slipped through the net so apologies for this!

As before, any comments gratefully received. We tried to make the survey so that it wouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to complete… This meant that compromises had to be made and we weren’t able to ask all the questions we would have liked to. In retrospect, one question we should have asked was “Do you use a PC or a MAC?”.

Posted under Online survey, Useful links

This post was written by Gareth Cole on April 16, 2012

Online survey closed

As we have blogged previously we launched an online survey as part of our research into how research data is managed at Exeter. This has now closed and we are delighted with the number of respondents: 284 in total.

Encouragingly we have had a large number of responses from all of the academic colleges at Exeter so this will enable our conclusions to be as inclusive as possible. Additionally, only 45% of our respondents were PGR students and nearly 10% were professors. Covering the full spectrum of researchers will also enable us to focus our outputs.

Very initial analysis of the survey has thrown up a number of headline results which will affect how we progress on the project:

  1. Over half the respondents stated that they used sensitive or confidential data. 64% of these were under legal obligations to keep it secure.
  2. Almost a third of respondents are not currently working on an externally funded project.
  3. Over 60% of respondents had non-electronic research data (lab-books, article notes etc.).
  4. 135 respondents backed up to an External Hard Drive (although more analysis needs to take place to see how many only back up to one device).
  5. 64% shared research data.
  6. 8% had completed a data management plan.
  7. 11% were aware of any requirements of their funder to make their research data available via Open Access.
  8. Nearly 50% said that they would be willing to be contacted for a follow up interview.

These interviews are now taking place. We have already interviewed around 30 researchers and have more in our calendars. These are proving very useful and the engagement of the research community has been encouraging. We could not have accomplished what we have done without their help and support.

I would hope to have a draft of the written report completed by the end of the month so will be able to blog some more in-depth findings then. If anyone has any comments on these initial findings I would be interested to hear them. Are they similar to what other projects are finding?

Posted under Follow the Data, Online survey

This post was written by Gareth Cole on April 2, 2012

A Quick Note on Survey Responses

We are pleased to be able to announce that, at the time of writing, we have had 232 completed answers to our RDM survey.

The response rate has varied across the Academic Colleges, with the highest number of completed surveys coming from researchers from the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences and the lowest from the College of Humanities. The variation in number of responses probably depends on many factors, including the different methods of publicising the survey in the Colleges, but our feeling is that the word “data” puts off many of those who work in the Humanities.

We tried varying the wording of the communications which went to the College of Humanities, but still feel that we need to engage many of these researchers with our project in a more meaningful way – any suggestions are more than welcome!

The survey is still open for UoE researchers and PGRs and can be found at

Posted under Online survey

This post was written by Hannah Lloyd-Jones on March 1, 2012

Open Exeter Research Data survey is launched

After what seems like hundreds of meetings, multiple drafts and a pilot survey with our PGR students, the Open Exeter Research Data Survey has been launched!

The survey is open  to researchers at Exeter from postgraduate research (PGR) level to senior professors. We are hoping for as many responses as possible although due to the nature of the beast I will be happy with a response rate of around 10%.

We are well aware of the demands that researchers face on their time and we have tried to make the survey as user friendly and easy to fill in as possible. This has been helped in no small measure by the ease of use of Bristol Online Surveys.

Once we have some results we will be in a far better position to understand the needs and requirements of researchers at Exeter.

For those of you reading this who are Exeter researchers the survey can be found online at:

Posted under Follow the Data, Online survey

This post was written by Gareth Cole on February 14, 2012