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Notes from SURA Research Data Management (RDM) conference call of 7/2/12

These calls are now scheduled for every other Monday at 4:00pm Eastern (3pm Central). The next SURA RDM group call will be on Monday, July 2. We will continue to use the same conference bridge: 800-377-8846 Pin: 14421498.


Bliss Bailey (Auburn), Gary Crane (SURA), Sara Graves (UAB), Steven Morris (NCSU), Richard Newman (FIT), Ramon Padilla (UNC), Vijay Padmanabhan (GWU), Susan Parham (GaTech), Sharon Pitt (GMU), Bryan Sinclair (GSU), Pat Vince (Tulane), Tom Wilson (UA)

Action Items:

  1. Everyone should read and comment on the “Step-By-Step Guide to Data Management” document using Word Track Changes. Send edits to Aaron Trehub (trehuaj@auburn.edu) and Ramon Padilla (ramon_padilla_jr@unc.edu). Ramon will circulate another draft for comments this week.
  2. Please send Pat (pvince@tulane.edu) the name of any metadata schema you are aware of, the discipline/community it was designed for and a URL to the schema. She will send a draft compilation to the group later this week.
  3. Tom Wilson agreed to set up a wiki for the group using the Data Management Guide as initial content.

July 2 Discussion Items:

New NSF DataWay Program: NSF Math and Physical Sciences division has turned up a website (http://www.nsf.gov/mps/dataway/dataway.jsp) where they will be posting information about the DataWay Initiative. The site contains a link to the presentation from the June 15th webinar and a list of future events and background information. Gary will continue to monitor this new program and report back to the group.

Draft Step-By-Step Guide to Data Management: Ramon Padilla has incorporated comments received over the past 2 weeks into the document and will circulate the next draft later this week.

Pat Vince suggested that the document should attempt to outline best practices for saving and backing up research during the research process. It was suggested that this might be best framed as a set of questions targeted at the researcher and could be inserted between steps 4 and 5 in the current guide draft. Ramon agreed and will circulate a set of questions he saw from MIT focused on this topic.

Tom Wilson suggested that this document might be most effective if put in Wiki format and offered to create a Wiki using the document as a starting point. The group agreed that this was a good idea and Tom agreed to create a pilot Wiki and notify the group when it is ready.

Update on creation of Metadata Schema compilation: Pat Vince reported that she has received only two responses to her call for discipline specific metadata that could be added to a compilation that Tulane is working on. Tulane is continuing to build this compilation and Pat agreed to circulate a first draft within the next week in hopes that this will incent people to send her additional content for this list.

Schema.org Review: Steve Morris provided a short overview of Schema.org (http://schema.org/). This site provides a collection of schemas, i.e., html tags, that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers. Search engines rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages. OCLC is publishing bibliographic data to WorldCat using Schema.org format. Medical and health data is now available and new areas are being added. Lots of activity in this space and something to watch. This service requires a website that search engine crawlers can access to index available data.

Educause Webinar: Ramon Padilla provided an overview of the Thursday, June 21 Educause Webinar: “National Status of Data Management: Current Research in Policy and Education”. Ramon reported that the title of the presentation was somewhat misleading. The presentation was not a recap of activities of data stewardship at the national level but in fact was focused on two programs/projects: Datares and iCamp.

Datares http://datamanagement.unt.edu/datares/wiki/Main_Page

The DataRes Project, funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians grant from the IMLS, investigates how the library and information science (LIS) profession can best respond to emerging needs of research data management in universities. DataRes is a collaboration between the University of North Texas Libraries, the UNT College of Information, and the Council on Library and Information Resources.

My main take away from the datares presentation: 72% of awards institutions do not have institutional level policy regarding research data management. The individual charge of research data management is being led by the libraries followed by IT. You can find out more about DataRes at their web site and from the educase web cast.


The UNT College of Information’s iCAMP project, also funded by the IMLS, is developing a four course, competency-based, online graduate academic certificate program in data curation and data management for a hybrid audience of information professionals and disciplinary researchers and scholars. The Council on Library and Information Resources’ (CLIR) Sloan Foundation-funded research on scholarly practitioners in data curation has conducted an environmental scan of the state of data curation education in and out of the academy, and an anthropological study of the development needs of research professionals thrust into data curation roles. This project builds upon an existing successful program that brings scholars into libraries, the CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Academic Libraries, to develop a rigorous training program in data curation for individuals with domain expertise, and to propose back to Sloan next steps in the implementation of a sound data management curriculum to extend the CLIR postdoctoral program into the area of data curation. Together these three projects offer both a snapshot of the current landscape of data management policy and education, and offer prescriptive insights on best practices for this rapidly evolving field.

Main take away from the iCamp project: People are very interested in the four course certification being created as part of iCamp. Preview of the CLIR report was informative – look for details in an upcoming report on www.clir.org. My most important take way and one that is food for thought for our SURA group is that most universities do not have formal policies regarding research data management and that is an area that seems to go un-talked about. Everyone focused on the tools and methods but not the governance of research data. Purdue supposedly has policy on this that can be used as a model (unable to find a link at this time) but this is worth discussion. Can SURA help here?

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