Data management plan creates order and structure
A virtual research data office has been set up within the University Administration. The aim of this initiative is to link together the expertise within KTH that works to support researchers in issues relating to the management of research data, e.g. how to produce a data management plan. KTH wishes to offer comprehensive support in this respect.
The importance of a data management plan
“It is now increasingly often the case that not only the funders of research, but also publishing houses and industrial partners, are requiring researchers to be able to show the research data on which a published result is based. These parties are therefore asking for a data management plan that describes how supporting data is structured and made available,” says Rosa Lönneborg, who is the coordinator for research data at KTH Library.”
She goes on to say that there are many benefits to open data. There is increasing transparency, with more people now able to access older data – as well as greater reproducibility, since other researchers are able to use this body of data in order to achieve the same research results. Re-using data quite simply advances research.
Rosa Lönneborg points out that the data management plan can potentially function as an excellent everyday source of support for researchers by helping to structure and organise all data generated throughout the research process.
“In order to meet the external requirements for structured and open research data, KTH’s researchers need to equip themselves with knowledge about how best to organise, store, share and present their data in a way that is both satisfactory and clear. Volumes of data to be stored for the future must also be administered in such a way as to preserve readability. This is a challenge in itself, with file formats and storage media changing over time.”
In addition there are the complex ethical and legal aspects to take into account. For reasons of integrity and confidentiality, not all data has to be published in full, but as Rosa Lönneborg points out, it can often be described at metadata level in accordance with FAIR, which describes principles for how data can be made Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.
System support for research data
The role of the research data office is to support KTH’s researchers in this work and to provide assistance in the form of usable tools and system support in order to facilitate work with the data management plan.
“An evaluation process was launched last spring with the aim of producing suitable tools for this. The ambition is to work close to activities and use the needs of researchers as a starting point in order to ensure that the system support produced is usable,” says Rosa Lönneborg.
She is therefore encouraging KTH’s researchers to present their views on what this system support might look like by registering their interest in taking part in a workshop being arranged by the research data office later in the autumn. She goes on to emphasise the importance of the institute’s researchers being involved in this work from the very beginning in order to ensure the quality of the results.
The research data office is also offering training in this area.
“For example, we have launched a collaborative initiative with KI (Karolinska Institutet) and SU (Stockholm University) on training in basic digital proficiency. It is hoped that elements of data management will, in the long term, be included in the institute’s regular courses for doctoral students,” says Rosa in conclusion.
Words: Marianne Norén