Friday, 13 May 2011

eduserv symposium, Research data management

Kenji Takeda from the University of Southampton gave a great presentation on research data management. They have are taking part in a JISC funded project, the Institutional Data Management Blueprint, and the web site is here. There's a lot of information on the site, including a comprehensive report of a survey they carried out of researchers, and it's worth a look.

The survey asked questions such as Where do you store your data?" Answers ranged from paper, to CDs, to local hard discs, local servers, off site storage solutions, with only a minority using University provided storage, (with associated resilience, security, disaster recovery etc).

"How much data do you have?" gave answers from paper records only, to many terabytes.

Not surprisingly, the answers to " How long do you store it for?" ranged from don't know, to forever.

I suspect that these responses would be mirrored in most of our institutions.

Southampton carried out a gap analysis to see where they needed to take action, and drew up a series of recommendations. in the short term they included developing an institutional data repository and develop a scaleable business model, ( ie how are recommendations going to be paid for). They have calculated that 1 petabyte of data costs £1m over 5 years.

They also agreed to set up a one stop shop for researchers for data management advice and guidance.

In the medium term they are establishing a comprehensive and affordable back up service for all, and proposals to manage the complete research data life cycle.

Their ultimate long term is that good research data management is embedded in all policies and procedures, and it does not need to be considered separately. An Institutional data management policy is needed to help researchers by providing guidance on what is expected and providing guidance.
Has to be about building trust. if you want a quick win, give them hundreds of terabytes for free and back it up!

They have done some case studies which are outlined in their report accessed via the previous web link, especially in Archaeology which lends itself this sort of study. They collect a lot of data in many forms from laser scans, geophysics, CAD etc., and they understand the need for context and metadata. They have developed a Sharepoint 2010 site for Archeology data management using Pivot to slice and dice the data based on the metadata.

A good talk, and good to get an academic perspective.

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