Incremental scoping study and implementation plan

Ward, C., Freiman, L., Molloy, L. , Jones, S. and Snow, K. (2010) Incremental scoping study and implementation plan. Project Report. University of Cambridge, Online.

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Abstract

This report is one of the first deliverables from the Incremental project, which seeks to investigate and improve the research data management infrastructure at the universities of Glasgow and Cambridge and to learn lessons and develop resources of value to other institutions. Coming at the end of the project’s scoping study, this report identifies the key themes and issues that emerged and proposes a set of activities to address those needs. As its name suggests, Incremental deliberately adopts a stepped, pragmatic approach to supporting research data management. It recognises that solutions will vary across different departmental and institutional contexts; and that top-down, policy-driven or centralised solutions are unlikely to prove as effective as practical support delivered in a clear and timely manner where the benefits can be clearly understood and will justify any effort or resources required. The findings of the scoping study have confirmed the value of this approach and the main recommendations of this report are concerned with the development and delivery of suitable resources. Although some differences were observed between disciplines, these seemed to be as much a feature of different organisational cultures as the nature of the research being undertaken. Our study found that there were many common issues across the groups and that the responses to these issues need not be highly technical or expensive to implement. What is required is that these resources employ jargon-free language and use examples of relevance to researchers and that they can be accessed easily at the point of need. There are resources already available (institutionally and externally) that can address researchers’ data management needs but these are not being fully exploited. So in many cases Incremental will be enabling efficient and contextualised access, or tailoring resources to specific environments, rather than developing resources from scratch. While Incremental will concentrate on developing, repurposing and leveraging practical resources to support researchers in their management of data, it recognises that this will be best achieved within a supportive institutional context (both in terms of policy and provision). The need for institutional support is especially evident when long-term preservation and data sharing are considered – these activities are clearly more effective and sustainable if addressed at more aggregated levels (e.g. repositories) rather than left to individual researchers or groups. So in addition to its work in developing resources, the Incremental project will seek to inform the development of a more comprehensive data management infrastructure at each institution. In Cambridge, this will be connected with the library’s CUPID project (Cambridge University Preservation Development) and at Glasgow in conjunction with the Digital Preservation Advisory Board.

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Project Report)
Keywords:research data management, training, education
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Snow, Ms Kellie and Molloy, Ms Laura and Jones, Ms Sarah
Authors: Ward, C., Freiman, L., Molloy, L., Jones, S., and Snow, K.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Publisher:University of Cambridge
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2010 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with permission of the authors
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