The Holistic Librarian – Thing 4: sharing means caring

Hi, I’m Afzal, your Subject Librarian for Arabic, and Politics.

Task 4: If a researcher came to you asking how they could share their research data with somebody external to the University what would you recommend?

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

That there are Facebook type networking sites for researchers of all disciplines such as www.researchgate.net where researchers can get to know one another’s work, and share meta-data and even collaborate to a limited extent but not in real time: this is through the usual means such as emailing, file attachments, web page sharing, perhaps you tube, LinkedIn.  Given the nature of research and links to funding there is reluctance to share Data in the way it is done within a department or institutional project.  

What I know now:

Whilst researchers can exchange their data via USB sticks, external hard drives even conventional post, there aren’t any data collaborative forums or ‘data internets’. This is because of the lack of standards, policies, and consensual sharing guidelines, differing copyright laws, university and institutional regulations which would satisfy researchers.

Sharing is practically limited to the researcher’s institution, where data sharing contracts would be in place.

How did you obtain this knowledge?

I came to the above answer by entering ‘data sharing researchers’ in Google. I didn’t really finding ‘Data Rooms’ where the world’s researchers come together and ‘chat data’ – (Of course, these data rooms would have protective security locks). The results invariably focused on individual organisations e.g. at Edinburgh. I was expecting some kind of inter-institutionally owned ‘data labs’.

What else would you like to know about the topic?

Where do we go from here given the emphases being placed on collaborative and group research at the funding level and Open Access at the output level. This surely cannot be limited to an individual institution anymore: for instance, how do researchers from Oxford, Bristol, and the Max Planck Institute share data – is progress being made to enable this?

How did you find this task? How would you improve it?

Disappointing answers owing to a lack of developed national strategy, which will not help us progress. To improve: provide ‘model’ responses to all the tasks.

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This post was written by Afzal Hasan on January 25, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 10

Hi, I’m Diane Workman and I’m the Subject Librarian for Drama, English, Film Studies and Theology & Religion.

As part of the Holistic Librarian project I was asked to research three tasks of the ‘23 Things (+1) for Research Data Management’.

Task 10 was to research the answer to the question: “A researcher has used a secondary data set in their research. In which circumstances would she be able to put this on Open Access?”

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

I was unsure where to begin with this one, but felt that I should explore issues of Intellectual Property Rights (in relation to the original data creator) and ethics (in relation to the consent provided by participants in the original data collection).

What I know now:

It’s important to know the copyright situation for the data set that is being re-used. The researcher should establish whether the data set is still covered by copyright, and who the copyright owner is. Once they know this, they can contact the copyright owner to seek permission to publish their data set on an Open Access (OA ) basis. It’s possible that the original creator may have made their material freely available for re-use in one or both of the following ways:

  • By applying a Creative Commons licence
  • By depositing in a data centre with an OA policy

It’s also important to be clear about what informed consent was obtained from the participants in the original data collection by the data creator. Any consent form signed by them should have outlined any likely re-uses of the data, ideally specifying publication of the data set in an OA repository. This relies heavily on the original data creator making good provisions for the sharing and future use of the data that they collect, something that researchers should consider when developing their Data Management Plan. The University of Glasgow acknowledges that the process of placing data sets on OA may not always be straightforward:

“There can be a tension between abiding by data protection legislation and ethical guidelines, whilst fulfilling funder and public expectations to make research results available.” [Source: University of Glasgow website; section on data protection legislation and ethics].

How did I obtain this knowledge?:

I consulted several websites during the research for this question. It required reading around research data management more generally, as it relates to several issues. The following websites were all useful:

The Digital Curation Centre, and in particular their section on digital curation
http://www.dcc.ac.uk/digital-curation/what-digital-curation

The Incremental Project, part of the JISC Managing Research Data programme
http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/preservation/incremental/index.html

The University of Cambridge Support for Managing Research Data web pages, one of the Incremental Project partners
http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/dataman/

The University of Glasgow Data Management Support for Researchers web pages, the other Incremental Project partner
http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/datamanagement/

The UK Data Archive at the University of Essex, and in particular their section on consent and ethics
http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/create-manage/consent-ethics

What else would I like to know about this topic:

It would be useful to know more about the implications of the Data Protection Act on the re-use of data by researchers.

How did I find this task? How would I improve it?

This was the most difficult of the tasks that I was set, as there is no clear answer. Anything relating to IPR is usually not straightforward, and was further complicated when combined with the ethical aspect of the question. No single source provided an answer to the question, so it was necessary to draw my own conclusions based on the range of information sources consulted.

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This post was written by Diane Workman on January 25, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 9: a date with meta…

Hi, I’m Afzal, your Subject Librarian for Arabic, and Politics.

Task 9: What is the importance of documenting research data and metadata? Where can you find useful information on data documentation and metadata?

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

I understood that Research Data Documentation to mean the same as creating Metadata. This is data about the data, helping the research creator with an organisational skeleton to keep track of progress themself and for others to know the research is or will be in the domain.

What I know now:

Creating metadata is highly emphasised and de rigueur. It’s as important as the research data itself. Rigorous standards mean greater impact because it means easy citability.Good metadata also allows other researchers to verify and repeat the experiments, for example. This has major ethical dimensions.

Universities now have webpages emphasising the importance of metadata:

E.g. MIT http://libraries.mit.edu/guides/subjects/data-management/metadata.html

Cambridge: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/dataman/pages/metadata.html

Oxford: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/rdm/dmp/documentation/

A good introduction to the sine qua non of Metadata is found at the UK Data Archive site:

http://data-archive.ac.uk/create-manage/document

How did you obtain this knowledge?

Googling succeeded.

What else would you like to know about the topic?

Whether there’s a standard Exeter University toolkit for ensuring rigorous metadata is created.

How did you find this task? How would you improve it?

Straightforward and educative.

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This post was written by Afzal Hasan on January 24, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 11

Hi, I’m Diane Workman and I’m the Subject Librarian for Drama, English, Film Studies and Theology & Religion.

As part of the Holistic Librarian project I was asked to research three tasks of the ‘23 Things (+1) for Research Data Management’.

Task 11 was to research the answer to the question “What advice could you give to a researcher about backing-up his research data?”

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

I was aware of the importance of making regular back-ups of data to protect against accidental or malicious data loss, and of ensuring that one copy was stored at a different location to the rest. I was also vaguely aware that Exeter IT provide a back-up service, but was unfamiliar with the detail.

What I know now:

Making back-ups of files is an essential element of data management and should be built into a researcher’s Data Management Plan. The back-up procedure followed, and the regularity with which it is carried out, will depend upon the perceived value of the data (e.g. is it unique?) and the levels of risk considered appropriate by the researcher.

Some things that need to be considered include:

  • Institutional back-up policy
    This will determine what the researcher will be responsible for backing-up themselves, e.g. personal laptops, home PCs. Exeter IT provide more advice on the back-up options available to staff and students of the University on their web pages. See http://as.exeter.ac.uk/it/files/backup/

Researchers at Exeter can also deposit their data in the Exeter Data Archive (EDA) for long-term preservation.

  • Which storage media to use
    This will depend on the quantity and type of data. Memory sticks, CD/DVD or remote, online back-up services are considered better for small amounts of data. Hard drives (networked and removable) and magnetic tapes are considered more suitable for large volumes of data.
  •  Which file format to use
    The format chosen should be suitable for long-term digital preservation.
  • Regular validation of back-ups
    It’s important to test back-ups at regular intervals for completeness and integrity. They can be checked by matching file size, dates and checksum/hash tags against the original file. MD5 is a widely used checksum which can be used to verify whether two files are identical. More information on MD5 is available on the UK Data Archive website.

Further information on the majority of these points can be found on the websites mentioned in the section below.

How did I obtain this knowledge?:

The UK Data Archive at the University of Essex is something of an authority on this topic, and had a useful webpage devoted to backing-up data.

The University of Glasgow has a set of useful webpages on data management support for researchers, including one dealing with data back-up.

Information about arrangements local to the University of Exeter can be found on the following Exeter IT web page: http://as.exeter.ac.uk/it/files/backup/

What else would I like to know about this topic:

I don’t begin to understand how the MD5 checksum works! I would like to find out more about this and perhaps see it in action.

How did I find this task? How would I improve it?

It was fine. There’s enough specific advice available on authoritative websites – much more than I could convey in this post.

Posted under Holistic Librarian, Training

This post was written by Diane Workman on January 24, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 8

Hi, I’m Afzal, your Subject Librarian for Arabic, and Politics.

Task 8: A researcher asks you about her funder requirements on research data. Where you could find out this information?

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

First thing to occur would be to ask the funder.

What I know now:

An excellent overview of funder requirements is found here with a more detailed look in a document called Funder Requirements for Data Management and Sharing by Gareth Knight. He covers the following funders:

1. Action Medical Research (AMR)
2. Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC)
3. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
4. Breast Cancer Campaign (BCC)
5. Cancer Research UK (CRUK)
6. Department of Health, UK (DoH)
7. Department for International Development (DfID)
8. Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi)
9. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
10. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
11. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
12. Medical Research Council (MRC)
13. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
14. Wellcome Trust
15. WHO – World Health Organization – TDR
16. World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)
17. National Health Service Technology Assessment (NHS HTA)

How did you obtain this knowledge?

I used Google.

What else would you like to know about the topic?

Do any of the Funder’s policies represent a potential conflict with the University of Exeter’s policies; if so what are our strategies for resolving this?

How did you find this task? How would you improve it?

Straightforward. But why would a researcher – worthy of their name – ask me about their funder?!

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This post was written by Afzal Hasan on January 24, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 5

Hi, I’m Afzal, your Subject Librarian for Arabic, and Politics.

Task 5: What is our institutional policy on OA and RDM and how does it compare with other institutions’ policies? Are there any other institutional policies that affect research data management?

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

OA and RDM are major components at Russell Group Universities, and I assumed therefore that must be a university body that’s affiliated with a national organisation setting or coordinating national policy. I did not think there should be so much a ‘comparison’ as ‘coordination’.

What I know now:

Policy authorship at Exeter is the responsibility of  Open Access and Research Data Management Policy Task and Finish Group, formed in March 2012. I understand there’s one approved policy for PGR students and one for researchers in advance draft stage.  These can be read here.

Comparison of inter-institutional policies

The Digital Curation Centre http://www.dcc.ac.uk/ gives guidelines on policy formation. The DCC  has collated policies from various UK institutions on data management, and can be seen here:

http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/policy-and-legal/institutional-data-policies/uk-institutional-data-policies

There are policies from non-UK bodies as well.

How did you obtain this knowledge?

I ran a search for OA policies on the Exeter University homepage. I googled OA RDM policies to find the DCC page.

What else would you like to know about the topic?

Is there a coordinated national objective?

How did you find this task? How would you improve it?

I found it straightforward. There might be copyright issues/conflicts involved. To improve the task, I’d put the task more simply. It’s rather beyond the means to ask for a comparison of institutional policies across the world.

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This post was written by Afzal Hasan on January 24, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 12

Hi, I’m Diane Workman and I’m the Subject Librarian for Drama, English, Film Studies and Theology & Religion.

As part of the Holistic Librarian project I was asked to research three tasks of the ‘23 Things (+1) for Research Data Management’.

Task 12 was to research the answer to the question “What evidence can you cite that research made available on Open Access has more impact than research that is not available on Open Access?”

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

I attended Alma Swan’s presentation during Open Access (OA) Week in October, and remembered her citing some examples where placing research papers on OA had a positive impact on their use and/or citation. The concept of Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is one that takes me out of my comfort zone, as it has traditionally been of less importance to the Humanities disciplines that I provide library support for.

What I know now:

Since 2001 many studies have taken place, largely in the Sciences, to test the hypothesis that OA provides a citation advantage “by increasing visibility, findability and accessibility for research articles” (Swan, 2010). Swan summarizes 31 studies that were published between 2001 and 2010, concluding that 27 studies found a positive citation advantage to placing a research article on OA. She also provides data on the size of the OA citation advantage found (as a % increase in citations) by discipline.

There is a move away from reliance on that traditional citation metric the JIF in measuring the impact of research articles. Notice is also being taken of Social Media-based metrics and ‘Altmetrics’ in attempting to determine the impact of research made available on OA.

How did I obtain this knowledge?:

Swan’s report The Open Access citation advantage: Studies and results to date provides a useful summary of the relevant studies carried out up to 2010.

There is a useful web-based bibliography provided the OpCit Project, which you can use to bring your knowledge up to date. This provides abstracts for a variety of studies, including a number published as recently as 2012.

What else would I like to know about this topic:

I would like to have more information about the impact of OA on research in HASS disciplines, as so many of the published studies focus upon STEMM subjects, where OA is more established. There is an interesting article by Melissa Terras, published in the OA Journal of Digital Humanities called The impact of social media on the dissemination of research: results of an experiment which deals with the topic from a HASS perspective.

How did I find this task? How would I improve it?

I enjoyed finding out more about this topic. It was well-documented in sources available on OA, I’m pleased to say!

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This post was written by Diane Workman on January 23, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 7

Hi, I’m Natasha Bayliss and I’m the Subject Librarian for Biosciences, Geography, Psychology, Sports and Health Science, Clinical sciences and Medicine.

Task 7 was to document “If a researcher asked you how to cite a data set, which resources could you point him to?”

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

I was aware that data required citations (just as any other source would) but it wasn’t always clear exactly how to do this as the standards for data citations are not universally agreed upon.

What I know now:

Generally speaking there are still debates about what should make up a complete citation. Although most citation methods include the following:

  • author,
  • title,
  • year of publication,
  • publisher (for data this is often the archive where it is housed),
  • edition or version, and
  • access information (a URL or other persistent identifier).

There are a number of reasons for this including the fact that it allows you to clearly identify the creator, the nature / type of the data and provides the means to access the information. However, the nature of the data produced can sometimes making it more complicated to cite. For example a dataset may have multiple parts or contain different types of data outputs. It worth noting that the final citation will depend on the referencing style the author is using within their publication and some referencing styles require additional fields.

How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications is a really useful guide produced by the DCC that will help you with citing your data. If you are using data from a data archive you may find they produce citation guides that will help you as well. For example How to cite ESDS data and How to cite census data .

How did I obtain this knowledge?

The ESRC produce a helpful guide called Data Citation: what you need to know .

Ball, A. & Duke, M. (2012). ‘How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications’. DCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/how-guides

What else would I like to know about this topic:

Given the on-going debates surrounding dataset citation standards it would be interesting to see if a standardized method is developed in the future.

How did I find this task? How would I improve it?

I found the task useful and hope that it will enhance the support I provide to researchers.

 

Posted under Holistic Librarian, Training

This post was written by Hannah Lloyd-Jones on January 4, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 6

Hi, I’m Natasha Bayliss and I’m the Subject Librarian for Biosciences, Geography, Psychology, Sports and Health Science, Clinical sciences and Medicine.

Task 6 was to document “Where can a University of Exeter researcher store her live research data?

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

Research data takes many forms, ranging from measurements, numbers and images to documents and publications. Therefore there are many different ways in which you can choose to store your research data. Often when creating and storing data you need to address issues surrounding ethics and data protection.

What I know now:

It’s essential to consider how you are going to store your research data from the beginning. There are a number of different ways that you can store your data. The nature of your data may determine which option you select.

All University of Exeter members have an allocation of secure filespace on a central server that can be used for storing work for access from any computer connected to the University network. This is known as the U: Drive because that is how it is identified on the open-access PC cluster rooms. More information about the U: Drive can be found at http://as.exeter.ac.uk/it/files/udrive/ .

You could store your data on a PC, Laptop or on storage devices such as external hard drives, USB memory sticks, CDs or DVDs. Cloud storage is an alternative form of storing data. It involves storing data on servers that are generally hosted by third parties, such as Google Docs, Dropbox and Skydrive. Be wary of using cloud storage for confidential data.

Backing up your data (i.e. saving it in more than one location) is critical. Useful advice on this topic can be found at http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/datamanagement/lookingafteryourdata/back-up/

How did I obtain this knowledge?

I looked at the following websites:

UK Data Archive

University of Glasgow, Data Management

Guides and Help Sheets for Researchers

Cloud storage

What else would I like to know about this topic?

Advice on storing confidential data and data security for researchers.

How did I find this task? How would I improve it?

I found the task useful and hope that it will enhance the support I provide to researchers.

Posted under Holistic Librarian, Training

This post was written by Hannah Lloyd-Jones on January 4, 2013

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The Holistic Librarian – Thing 13

Hi. I am Anne Dinan and I am the Subject Librarian for Education, Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology

Task 13 was:

A post-doctoral researcher is leaving the University and the research that she has undertaken is part of a larger research project. What advice would give her so that the research is usable by the other members of the research group?

 

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

It is often the case that researchers move to different institutions, and the problem of sharing research results is not new.

What I know now:

I interpreted the question as involving a researcher who had left the university but who was still collaborating with former colleagues.  In this case my answer would be as follows.

One of the aims of REF is to reward and encourage the effective sharing and application of research findings.

It may be that there are specific requirements on the researcher to share data.  Many research funders expect data sharing where possible, and some publishers require authors to make data available as a condition of publishing.

Research data can be requested under the Freedom of Information legislation.

The Digital Curation Centre provides information on data sharing with an overview of funders’ data policies.

Data can be shared with external contacts ( and members of the previous research group) in a variety of ways, including:

  • Sending files by e-mail
  • Usage portable storage media e.g. CDs, USBs ( with encrypted data for security)
  • Online file sharing services such as Dropbox  or Microsoft sharepoint
  • Secure File transfer ( supported by University IT Services) , or with online services such as Yousendit
  • Wikis –allow text to be edited and uploaded
  • depositing the data with a specialist data centre
  • submitting data to a journal to support a publication
  • depositing data in an institutional repository or website

 

A second situation would be if the researcher left with no further contact with the research group. What information would she leave to her former colleagues so that they could use her data?

She could leave data on a central university server, or on portable media ( USB or CD) or send files by e-mail as previously listed.  It would depend on the type of research data ( e.g. respecting confidentiality, Copyright issues).  Some data would need to have specific details explained e.g. type of data, type of equipment, date of research collected.

How did I obtain this knowledge?

Some tips were given at a talk by the Open Access and Data Curation Manager during Open Access Week in October 2012.

More help can be found on the web.

The UKDA ( United Kingdom Data Archive) has useful information on managing and sharing data.  There is a useful publication Managing and sharing data: best practice for researchers.    The UKDA has a section on sharing data.

The Directory of Open Access Repositories – OpenDOAR provides helpful information.

What else would you like to know about the topic? How did you find this task? How would you improve it?

This is an interesting topic but also a quite complicated area. As the momentum for Open Access increases, so it will be easier to access information and share data to mutual benefit. Collating information on good and bad experiences in this area would be useful.

 

 

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This post was written by eadinan on December 19, 2012

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