“SCOSS is thrilled to announce the launch of its fifth pledging cycle. Both of the chosen projects are already an established and well-known infrastructure with high usage making an important contribution […]
Interview with Nina Weisweiler and Heinz Pampel – Helmholtz Open Science Office
The Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data) was established ten years ago. Today, the platform is the most comprehensive source of information regarding research data – global and cross-disciplinary in scope – and is used by researchers, research organisations, and publishers around the world. In the present interview, Nina Weisweiler and Heinz Pampel from the Helmholtz Open Science Office report on its genesis and plans for the service’s future.
What were the most important milestones in ten years of re3data?
Heinz Pampel: I first introduced the idea of developing a directory of research data repositories in 2010 in the Electronic Publishing working group of the German Initiative for Networked Information (DINI). A consortium of institutions was soon created that made a proposal to the German Research Foundation (DFG) in April 2011 to develop the “re3data – Registry of Research Data Repositories” The initiating institutions were the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the Helmholtz Open Science Office at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. The proposal was approved in September 2011. We started developing the registry in the same year. As a first step, a metadata schema to describe digital repositories for research data was created. In spring 2012, we came into contact with a similar initiative at Purdue University in the USA, known as “Databib”.
The idea of combining both projects soon developed, in dialogue with Databib. After the conception and implementation phase, this cooperation and internationalisation was decisive for re3data. Many stakeholders on an international level supported it. After Databib and re3data had merged, the service was continued as a partner of DataCite. Up until today, various third party funded projects support the continuous development of the service – currently “re3data COREF” for example, a project Nina Weisweiler manages here at the Helmholtz Open Science Office.
What makes re3data so unique for you?
Nina Weisweiler: re3data is the largest directory for research data repositories and is used and recommended by researchers, funding organisations, publishers, scientific institutions as well as other infrastructures around the world. It not only covers individual research fields and regions, it also targets the holistic mapping of the repository landscape for research data.
With re3data, we are actively supporting a culture of sharing and transparent handling of research data management, thereby encouraging the realisation of Open Science at an international level. re3data ensures that the sharing of data and the infrastructural work in the field of research data management receives more visibility and recognition.
In terms of Open Science, why is re3data so important?
Heinz Pampel: The core idea of re3data was always to support scientists in their handling of research data. re3data helps researchers to search for and to identify suitable infrastructures for storage and for making digital research data accessible. For this reason, many academic institutions and funding organisations, but also publishers and scholarly journals, have firmly anchored re3data in their policies. Furthermore, diverse stakeholders reuse data from re3data for their community services, for example regarding the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). The data retrieved from re3data are also increasingly used to monitor the landscape of digital information structures. Particularly in information science, researchers use re3data for analyses relating to the development of Open Science.
In your birthday post on the DataCite blog, you write that inclusivity is one of your aims. How do you want to achieve it? How do you manage, for example, to record repositories in other regions of the world? Isn’t the language barrier a problem?
Nina Weisweiler: Yes, the language barrier is a challenge of course. We responded to this challenge early on by establishing an international editorial board. There are experts on this board who check the entries in re3data, and who kindly support the service and promote it in their respective region. Furthermore, re3data collaborates with numerous stakeholders to improve the indexing of repositories outside Europe and the United States.
We are active members of the internationally focussed Research Data Alliance (RDA) and regularly exchange information with national initiatives as well as other services and stakeholders with whom we develop and intensify partnerships. For example, we are currently working with the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, in order to improve the quality of the entries of Canadian repositories.
Are you planning to offer re3data in other languages apart from English?
Nina Weisweiler: In the comprehensive metadata schema, which is used in re3data for the description of research data repositories, the names and descriptions can be added in any language. Basically, the team discusses the topic of multilingualism a lot. We try to design the service as openly and as internationally as possible. In this, we depend on the languages our editors speak in order to guarantee the quality of the datasets. Thanks to our international team, we were able to incorporate many infrastructures that are being operated in China or India for example.
How can the success of re3data be measured?
Nina Weisweiler: We consider the numerous recommendations and the wide reuse of our service as the central measurement factors for the success of re3data. Important funding organisations such as the European Commission (PDF), the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) recommend that researchers use the service to implement these organisations’ Open Science requirements. re3data also provides information to the Open Science Monitor of the European Commission as well as to OpenAIRE’s Open Science Observatory. The European Research Council (ERC) also refers to re3data in its recommendations for Open Science.
Furthermore, on the re3data website, we also document references that mention or recommend the service. Based on this collection, our colleague Dorothea Strecker from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has made an exciting analysis that we have published in the re3data COREF project blog.
Do you know if there are also companies like publishers that use re3data as a basis for chargeable services?
Heinz Pampel: Yes. We decided on an Open Data policy when starting the service. re3data metadata are available for reuse as public domain, via CC0. Any interested party can use it via the API. Various publishers and companies in the field of scholarly information are already using re3data metadata for their services. Without this open availability of re3data metadata, several commercial services would certainly be less advanced in this field. We are sure that the advantage of Open Data ultimately outweighs the disadvantages.
re3data has many filters and functions. Which of them is your personal favourite?
Nina Weisweiler: I like the diverse browsing options, particularly the map view, which visualises the countries where institutions that are involved in the operation of the repositories are located. We have published a blog post on this topic that is well worth reading.
I am also enthusiastic about the facetted filter search, which allows for targeted searches across the almost 3,000 repository entries. At first glance, this search mode appears to be very detailed and perhaps somewhat challenging, but thanks to the exact representation of our comprehensive metadata schema in the filter facets, users can use it to search for and find a suitable repository according to their individual criteria and needs.
For technically savvy users, who would like reuse our data to prepare their own analyses, we have developed a special “treat” in the context of COREF. The colleagues at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and KIT have designed inspiring examples for the use of the re3data API, which are published in our GitHub repository as Jupyter Notebooks. If anyone has any queries about these examples, we would be delighted to help!
What’s more, in re3data you can also have metrics illustrated, which provide a clear overview of the current landscape of the research data repositories.
In a perfect world, where will re3data be in the year 2032?
Nina Weisweiler: I have the following vision: re3data is a high-quality and complete global directory for research data repositories from all academic disciplines. The composition of our team and our partners reflects this internationalism. We are thereby able to continue to increase coverage in regions from which not many infrastructures have yet been recorded.
Researchers, funders, publishers, and scientific institutions use the directory to reliably find the most suitable repositories und portals for their individual requirements. re3data is closely networked with further infrastructures for research data. In this way it supports an interconnected worldwide system of FAIR research data. Scientific communities use re3data actively and contribute to ensuring that the entries are current and complete.
Through greater awareness of the importance of Open Research Data and a corresponding remuneration of activities in the field of research data management, more scientists are motivated to research and publish in line with Open Science principles.publizieren.
What’s more: In re3data, datasets can be very easily updated via the link “Submit a change request” in a repository entry. We are also always delighted to receive information about new repositories. Simply fill out the “Suggest” form on our website.
This text has been translated from German.
This might also interest you:
- Website re3data
- re3data on Twitter
- FAQ regarding re3data
- re3data Community Driven Open Reference for Research Data Repositories (COREF) Project
- Happy 10th Anniversary, re3data!
- Poster „Celebrating 10 Years of re3data – The Registry of Research Data Repositories
- Website Helmholtz Open Science
- Entry re3data in the Open Economics Guide
- Video tip “Relevante Repositorien finden – Forschungsdaten suchen & nachnutzen” (German)
- More Awareness Through Open Research Data: How to Find a FAIR Repository
We were talking to:
Nina Weisweiler, Open Science Officer at the Helmholtz Open Science Office where she is working on the re3data COREF project. You can also find her on Twitter, ORCID and Linkedin
Portrait: Nina Weisweiler©
SPARC Europe organised a face-to-face event for The Council of National Open Science Coordinators (CoNOSC) in June 2022 at the inspirational Delft University of Technology. National policymakers from over ten countries […]
by Anastasia Kazakova
The third INCONECSS – International Conference on Economics and Business Information – took place online from 17 to 19 May 2022. The panels and presentations focused on artificial intelligence, Open Access and (research) data. INCONECSS also addressed collaboration in designing services for economics research and education and how these may have been influenced by the corona crisis.
Unleash the future and decentralise research!
Prof. Dr Isabell Welpe, Chair of Business Administration – Strategy and Organisation at the Technical University of Munich, gave the keynote address “The next chapter for research information: decentralised, digital and disrupted”. With this, she wanted to inspire the participants to “unleash the future” and decentralise research. The first topic of her presentation was about German universities. Isabell Welpe took us on a journey through three stations:
- What happens at universities?
- What does the work of students, researchers and teachers and the organisation at universities look like?
- How can universities and libraries be made future-proof?
In her lecture, she pointed out that hierarchically organised teaching is currently often unable to cope with the rapid social changes and new developments in the world of work. Isabell Welpe therefore suggested opening up teaching and organising it “bottom up”. This means relying on the decentralised self-organisation of students, offering (digital) spaces for exchange and tailoring teaching to their needs. Through these changes, students can learn while actively participating in research, which simultaneously promotes their creativity and agility. This is a cornerstone for disruptive innovation; that is, innovation that breaks and radically changes existing structures.
Libraries could support and even drive the upcoming changes. In any case, they should prepare themselves for enormous changes due to the advancing digitisation of science. Isabell Welpe observed the trend towards “digital first” in teaching – triggered by the coronavirus situation. In the long term, this trend will influence the role of libraries as places of learning, but will also determine interactions with libraries as sources of information. Isabell Welpe therefore encouraged libraries to become a market-place in order to promote exchange, creativity and adaptability. The transformation towards this is both a task and an opportunity to make academic libraries future-proof.
In her keynote speech, Isabell Welpe also focused on the topic of decentralisation. One of the potentials of decentralisation is that scientists exchange data directly and share research data and results with each other, without, for example, publishers in between. Keywords were: Web 3.0, Crypto Sci-Hub and Decentralisation of Science.
In the Q&A session, Isabell Welpe addressed the image of libraries: Libraries could be places where people would go and do things, where they would exchange and would be creative; they could be places where innovation took place. She sees libraries as a Web 3.0 ecosystem with different services and encouraged them to be more responsive to what users need. Her credo: “Let the users own a part of the library!”
How can libraries support researchers?
Following on from the keynote, many presentations at INCONECSS dealt with how libraries can succeed even better in supporting researchers. On the first day, Markus Herklotz and Lars Oberländer from the University of Mannheim presented their ideas on this topic with a Poster (PDF, partly in German). The focus was on the interactive virtual assistant (iVA), which enables data collaboration by imparting legal knowledge. Developed by the BERD@BW and BERD@NFDI initiatives, the iVA helps researchers to understand the basic data protection regulations in each case and thereby helps them to evaluate their legal options for data use. The selfdirected assistant is an open-source learning module and can be extended.
Paola Corti from SPARC Europe introduced the ENOEL toolkit with her poster (PDF). It is a collection of templates for slides, brochures and Twitter posts to help communicate the benefits of Open Education to different user groups. The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of Open Education. It is openly designed, available in 16 language versions and can be adapted to the needs of the organisation.
On the last day of INCONECSS, Franziska Klatt from the Economics and Management Library of the TU Berlin reported in her presentation (PDF) on another toolkit that supports researchers in applying the Systematic Literature Review (SLRM) method. Originating from the medical field, the method was adapted to the economic context. SLRM helps researchers to reduce bias and redundancy in their work by following a formalised and transparent process that is reproducible. The toolkit provides a collection of information on the stages of this process, as well as SLR sources, tutorial videos and sample articles. Through the use of the toolkit and the information on the associated website, the media competence of the young researchers could be improved. An online course is also planned.
Field reports: How has the pandemic changed the library world?
The coronavirus is not yet letting go of the world, which also applies to the world of the INCONECSS community: In the poster session, Scott Richard St. Louis from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis presented his experiences of onboarding in a hybrid work environment. He addressed individual aspects of remote onboarding, such as getting to know new colleagues or the lack of a physical space for meetings.
The poster (PDF) is worth a look, as it contains a number of suggestions for new employees and management, e.g.:
- “Be direct, and even vulnerable”,
- “Be approachable” or
- “What was once implicit or informal needs to become explicit or conscious”.
Arjun Sanyal from the Central University of Himachal Pradesh (CUHP) reported in his presentation (PDF) on a project of his library team. They observed that the long absence from campus triggered a kind of indifference towards everyday academic life and an “informational anxiety” among students. The latter manifests itself in a reluctance to use information resources for studying, out of a fear of searching for them. To counteract this, the librarians used three types of measures: Mind-map sessions, an experimental makerspace and supportive motivational events. In the mind-map session, for example, the team collected ideas for improving library services together with the students. The effort had paid off, they said, because after a while they noticed that the campus and the libraries in particular were once again popular. In addition, Makerspace and motivational events helped students to rediscover the joy of learning, reports Arjun Sanyal.
Artificial Intelligence in Libraries
One of the central topics of the conference was without doubt the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the library context. On the second day of INCONECSS, the panel participants from the fields of research, AI, libraries and thesaurus/ontology looked at aspects of the benefits of AI for libraries from different perspectives. They discussed the support of researchers through AI and the benefits for library services, but also the added value and the risks that arise through AI.
The panellists agreed that new doors would open up through the use of AI in libraries, such as new levels of knowledge organisation or new services and products. In this context, it was interesting to hear Osma Suominen from the National Library of Finland say that AI is not a game changer at the moment: it has the potential, but is still too immature. In the closing statements, the speakers took up this idea again: They were optimistic about the future of AI, yet a sceptical approach to this technology is appropriate. It is still a tool. According to the panellists, AI will not replace librarians or libraries, nor will it replace research processes. The latter require too much creativity for that. And in the case of libraries, a change in business concepts is conceivable, but not the replacement of the institution of the library itself.
It was interesting to observe that the topics that shaped the panel discussion kept popping up in the other presentations at the conference: Data, for example, in the form of training or evaluation data, was omnipresent. The discussants emphasised that the quality of the data is very important for AI, as it determines the quality of the results. Finding good and usable data is still complex and often related to licences, copyrights and other legal restrictions. The chatbot team from the ZBW also reported on the challenges surrounding the quality of training data in the poster session (PDF).
The question of trust in algorithms was also a major concern for the participants. On the one hand, it was about bias, which is difficult and requires great care to remove from AI systems. Again, data was the main issue: if the data was biased, it was almost impossible to remove the bias from the system. Sometimes it even leads to the systems not going live at all. On the other hand, it was about the trust in the results that an AI system delivers. Because AI systems are often non-transparent, it is difficult for users and information specialists to trust the search results provided by the AI system for a literature search. These are two of the key findings from the presentation (PDF) by Solveig Sandal Johnsen from AU Library, The Royal Library and Julie Kiersgaard Lyngsfeldt from Copenhagen University Library, The Royal Library. The team from Denmark investigated two AI systems designed to assist with literature searches. The aim was to investigate the extent to which different AI-based search programmes supported researchers and students in academic literature search. During the project, information specialists tested the functionality of the systems using the same search tasks. Among other results, they concluded that the systems could be useful in the exploratory phase of the search, but they functioned differently from traditional systems (such as classic library catalogues or search portals like EconBiz) and, according to the presenters, challenged the skills of information specialists.
This year, the conference took place exclusively online. As the participants came from different time zones, it was possible to attend the lectures asynchronously and after the conference. A selection of recorded lectures and presentations (videos) is available on the TIB AV portal.
Links to INCONECSS 2022:
- Programme INCONECSS
- Interactive Virtual Assistant (iVA) – Enabling Data Collaboration by Conveying Legal Knowledge: Abstract and poster (PDF)
- ENOEL toolkit: Open Education Benefits: Abstract and poster (PDF)
- Systematic Literature Review – Enhancing methodology competencies of young researchers: Abstract and slides (PDF)
- Onboarding in a Hybrid Work Environment: Questions from a Library Administrator, Answers from a New Hire: Abstract and Poster (PDF)
- Rethinking university librarianship in the post-pandemic scenario: Abstract and slides (PDF)
- „Potential of AI for Libraries: A new level for knowledge organization?“: Abstract Panel Discussion
- The EconDesk Chatbot: Work in Progress Report on the Development of a Digital Assistant for Information Provision: Abstract and slides (PDF)
- AI-powered software for literature searching: What is the potential in the context of the University Library?: Abstract and slides (PDF)
This might also interest you:
- INCONECSS 2019: A Look Into the Future of Economics and Business Libraries
- Discrimination Through AI: To What Extent Libraries are Affected and how Staff can Find the Right Mindset
- Hackathon Coding.Waterkant: How to Improve Library Services Through Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence
Anastasia Kazakova is a research associate in the department Information Provision & Access and part of the EconBiz team at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. Her focus is on user research, usability and user experience design, and research-based innovation. She can also be found on LinkedIn, ResearchGate and XING.
Potrait: Photographer: Carola Grübner, ZBW©
The post INCONECSS 2022 Symposium: Artificial Intelligence, Open Access and Data Dominate the Discussions first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.
by Elisa Rodenburg, Samuel Simango, Nadine Neute and Markus Herklotz
Online escape game: raising awareness of data horror
By Elisa Rodenburg
2020 was a tough year for event organisers, and a colleague and I were hoping to create a fun activity online. Together with a few colleagues from other Dutch University Libraries, we organised the Data Horror Week around Halloween. We used the “horror” theme to highlight the importance of good data management and things that can go wrong in research and built an online escape room.
The players (researchers and others) are “locked” in a room (on a website), and have to “escape” by solving six puzzles about Research Data Management (RDM). While doing so, they learn aspects of RDM that are part of writing a Data Management Plan. Our Data Horror Escape Room is freely available as an Open Educational Resource (OER).
Since then, we have used the escape room for training, awareness campaigns, team building events, and just for fun. We presented the escape room during the Session “Level up! Building the skills” at the LIBER Conference 2021 as an example of gamification in research skills training. We received such useful and generous feedback, that we decided to continue the fun and create a follow-up game in the form of an „Open Science escape room“, for Data Horror Week 2022.
Research Data Management Adventure Game: on the trail of Indiana Jones
By Samuel Simango
The Research Data Management Adventure Game, which was developed by the libraries of the Universities of Bath (England) and Stellenbosch (South Africa), is an online text-based role-playing interactive fiction serious game, based on the data management challenges of a research project. The game play takes players through different stages of the research data lifecycle, presents them with a data management challenge and allows them to make decisions that affect the success of their research projects. The game is freely available online and can be accessed via an internet connection and a web browser. As such, the game can be used as part of asynchronous virtual training or synchronous interactive training. For optimal learning experience, the Research Data Management Adventure Game works best as a single-player game. However, the game can also be used in group settings.
The idea to develop the game emerged from a lack of educational games focusing specifically on research data management. The game was developed from 2017 to 2020. The RDM Adventure Game is aimed primarily at postgraduate students as well as early career researchers and academics. Game players can opt to play the entire game or they may select to only play specific stages of the research data management lifecycle. On average the entire game takes 60 minutes to complete – although this depends on the specific paths and decisions that are taken by game players. So far, the game has been played by 1,520 people in 71 countries; and there are more every day …
Research Data Scarytales: an eerie journey
By Nadine Neute
With its Research Data Scarytales, the TKFDM wants to take you on an eerie journey and show you in short stories what scary consequences mistakes in data management can have. We are showcasing a wide range of scenarios, ranging from minor inconveniences to a single person to permanent consequences for humankind, all based on real events. Readers have the opportunity to find out for themselves what went wrong in each story. Each scenario begins with a brief summary of the facts. Then it’s time to figure it out! The game and instructions how to play it can be found on our overview page.
The game is meant for all data users: researchers, teachers and lecturers and those working in libraries and research infrastructures. It addresses itself to simply everyone who could be a victim of the mishaps presented. Order the cardboard game at TKFDM via e-mail to info (at) forschungsdaten-thueringen.de and deal with the topic in a relaxed atmosphere during coffee breaks, or use it in your training courses. For better integration into existing materials and searchability by topic and source, a text-only version of the stories is also available on Zenodo. The flexibly configurable duration, the wide range of content and the different examples make it easy to integrate a game round in workshops. Along the way, the trainers learn a lot about the working environment, prior knowledge and concrete concerns of their workshop participants and “nudge” them to actively participate in the session.
BERD Data Literacy Snacks: Research data management for your lunch break
By Markus Herklotz
With the amount and variety of data generated, there is an increasing demand for trained experts. At the same time, people managing data can come from very different professional backgrounds between research and infrastructure, looking for possibilities to enhance their skills for this fast-changing digital world. Yet, finding entry points for this type of education fitting into your professional time schedule can be challenging.
To reduce these barriers, we developed the Data Literacy Snacks within the initiative BERD (Business, Economic and Related Data). Building on the coffee lecture format, the Data Literacy Snacks are a free online series to provide a compact input of a maximum of 60 minutes fitting right into your lunch break. This includes a 30 to 45 minute presentation and a 15 minute discussion led by a moderator who addresses your questions via chat. The topics of the first biweekly series in 2021 provided a general introduction to research data management and covered topics of reproducibility, privacy law and Wikibase knowledge graphs in more detail.
We were delighted by how well the Snacks were received with up to 65 participants (per session) from both research and infrastructure. It gave us the opportunity to get directly in touch with the community, raise awareness for research data management issues and to identify the demand for information on it. Based on these experiences, the Data Literacy Snacks will return 2022 and we invite everyone to enter suggestions for your favourite topics on our website
Background and INCONECSS
This round-up post emerged from a digital community meeting on „Trainings & Games related to Research Data“ of the INCONECSS community (International Conference on Economics and Business Information). INCONECSS is actually a triennial international conference for librarians and information specialists who support researchers in business and economics in their daily work.
Main topics are for example: research data management, the transformation of competences and structures, the support of research and Open Access. To bridge the long breaks between the conferences, the Community Meetings were created. Most recently, RDM experts exchanged views on alternative approaches.
Event Tip: The next INCONECSS will take place from 17 – 19 May 2022. Information on the event can be found on the website.
This might also interest you:
- Data Horror Escape Room
- Open Science Escape Rooms
- Research Data Management Adventure Games
- Research Data Scarytales
- Text version of the Research Data Scarytales on Zenodo
- Data Literacy Snacks
- More impact through FAIR research data (German)
- Research Data Management: We Need to Pick Up the Pace
- European Open Science Cloud: small projects, big plans and 1 billion EUR
- Research Data Management Project bw2FDM: Best Practice for Consultations and Training Seminars
- Gamification – Playing in (Academic) Libraries? (German)
- ZBW Podcast “The Future is Open Science” : Athanasios Mazarakis about Gamification und Open Science: The Playfulness of Normal Everyday Processes (German)
About the Authors:
Elisa Rodenburg is a Research Data Steward at the University Library of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In that role, she supports researchers with several aspects of Research Data Management and Open Science.
Portrait, photographer: René Knoop
Samuel Simango is the manager of research data services at Stellenbosch University’s Library and Information Service in South Africa. He is interested in the conceptualisation and implementation of research data management systems – particularly insofar as this relates to the integration of lifecycle models, governance frameworks, technological infrastructure and services that apply to the management of research data.
Portrait: Samuel Simango©
Nadine Neute is the subject librarian for economics at Erfurt University Library , works for the Service Point Research Data Management at the University of Erfurt and in this function she is part of the Thuringian Competence Network for Research Data Management (TKFDM). The TKFDM is the point of contact for researchers from all Thuringian universities in the field of research data management. Among other things it provides consultations and carries out workshops and training courses.
Portrait: Nadine Neute© [CC BY 4.0]
Markus Herklotz is a higher education researcher working at the Professorship for Statistics and Social Scientific Methodology (University of Mannheim), responsible for developing and facilitating workshops and other educational resources within BERD. BERD@NFDI is a consortium within the National Research Data Infrastructure Germany (NFDI), building a platform for collecting, processing, analyzing, and preserviwng Business, Economic and Related Data. Markus Herklotz can also be found on ResearchGate and LinkedIn.
Portrait: Markus Herklotz©
The post Horror Research Data Management: 4 Best Practice Examples for Successful Gamifications first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.
by Prof. Udo Kragl, Prof. Anne Lauber-Rönsberg, Prof. Klaus Tochtermann, Dr Oda Cordes and Dr Anna Maria Höfler
On the initiative of the North German Conference of Science Ministers (NWMK), the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern organised in cooperation with the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics the workshop “Shaping Research Data Management at North German Universities and Research Institutions Together” (German) on 15 October 2021. Three top-class panels and 200 virtually connected participants discussed strategic plans for campus-wide research data management at universities, future library services and legal aspects.
This article summarises the main results and is intended to further promote the processes and developments that have been initiated.
Research data is generated on a large scale worldwide, whereby the type and volume of data varies greatly depending on the discipline. The type of storage and, above all, the form of publication determine how and to what extent the data become known and usable within the scientific community, but also by the general public. In Germany, the foundations for comprehensive national research data management are being laid at federal and state level with the funding of consortia in various subject areas.
Strategic plans for campus-wide research data management at universities
In the panel on strategic plans for campus-wide research data management at universities, the existing range in dealing with research data was shown against the background that research data management is playing an increasingly important role in the acquisition of third-party funding. This spectrum ranges from “we don’t do that” to a self-image in dealing with research data. The associated orientation towards the FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) is embedded at national and international level in a more general discussion on the use of scientific results under the concept of Open Science: to treat data “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. For the paradigm shift required for this in the individual disciplines, there are a number of questions and prerequisites that need to be clarified, as the discussion in the panel showed. In the academic institutions, this process has been underway for some time in some places, while in others it is still in its infancy. There are also approaches to a holistic approach. In order to make greater progress in this area, the participants of the panel and the participants at home came up with the following recommendations for all stakeholders in the science system.
- Research data management must be included in the curriculum of higher education and thus in the study and examination regulations, so that the awareness of young scientists is raised at an early stage.
- Research data management requires the staffing of experts in research data management, both for university education and for the support of scientists at universities.
- Research data management requires cooperation between central institutions across universities in the interest of better coordination, including non-university research institutions. The importance of intensive cooperation between institutions with the same orientation at the same location, but also across different locations, was emphasised. In this way, resources can be used effectively and, above all, a contribution can be made to the development of common standards.
Future services offered by university libraries
During the panel on future services offered by university libraries, it was discussed which services university libraries could develop for research data management. These could include consultation formats for finding, citing and documenting research data, dealing with the FAIR principles, offers such as the allocation of persistent identifiers for research data or the role of university libraries in consortia of the National Research Data Infrastructure Germany (NFDI). In the discussion, procedures for the introduction of offers to support research data management by university libraries were exchanged in order to derive the following recommendations for all stakeholders in the science system:
- Training courses should be developed and offered that enable certified further training for library staff in the field of research data management. Training is also needed for researchers, for example, in the design of data management plans, the application of FAIR principles or persistent identifiers.
- The range of tasks of librarians must be expanded to include new services and advice on research data management. Against the backdrop of the efficient use of resources, the services and advice offered by the university libraries should be provided jointly in a complementary and networked manner.
- Cost-intensive and complex infrastructures, such as for the digital long-term archiving of research data, should be established and operated cooperatively, networked and across the borders of federal states.
Legal aspects of research data management
This panel showed that, in view of the complexity of the legal framework, researchers should be relieved as much as possible of the legal assessment of issues related to research data management. This can be achieved by creating legal support and advice services, such as general training and information services, which, however, cannot replace a legal examination of the individual case. Therefore, on the other hand, there should also be the possibility of qualified and comprehensive legal advice in complex cases.
Many universities, university libraries and non-university research institutions have already established advisory services on research data management. However, there is a need for clear regulation on the extent to which these should also provide legal advice. This goes hand in hand with the question of quality-assured training and further education offers and the creation of corresponding career paths and job profiles for the staff working there. In addition, sufficient legal resources should be available at universities and non-university research institutions to provide qualified and comprehensive legal advice. Furthermore, it was emphasised how important the exchange between the staff of advisory institutions on research data management and the legal offices and data protection officers of the universities and non-university research institutions is.
With regard to specific legal issues in the respective discipline, reference was made to the responsibility of the corresponding NFDI consortia. The panel discussion showed that with regard to (co-)decision-making powers on the handling of research data, arrangements and agreements made in advance or the definition of general framework specifications of the research institutions are particularly useful. Since research data management raises a large number of still unresolved legal issues, research funding organisations should take into account the time and effort required to clarify legal issues in funding lines for project proposals.
Recommendations for a future-oriented approach to research data
In summary, the following core statements can be derived from the panels, which apply as a mandate to all participants in the science system:
- Sustainable structures – first and foremost sustainable, financial staffing – are needed to establish research data management in all subject cultures in the long term.
- Measures for a paradigm shift – both in the mindset of (early career) researchers and among infrastructure service providers – must be expanded and promoted accordingly.
- Both the competences at the level of the German federal states and nationally distributed competences and responsibilities must be made visible.
Ultimately, the introduction of research data management is both a task and an opportunity to make more sustainable use of the research results obtained and, above all, to be able to draw more far-reaching conclusions. With the workshop, the northern German states – according to Bettina Martin, Minister for Education, Science and Culture in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in her welcoming address – have set an active sign of scientific cooperation across borders. This will be continued to build upon, because there was broad consensus among the discussants about the topicality and necessity of dealing with this issue on an ongoing basis and, above all, of creating sustainable, viable structures with the involvement of science policy in order to establish effective research data management for researchers.
This text has been translated from German.
This might also interest you:
- Programme of the workshop “Shaping Research Data Management at North German Universities Together” (German).
- Quick start: “Making research verifiable with Open Data” at the Open Economics Guide (German).
- Research Data Management Project bw2FDM: Best Practice for Consultations and Training Seminars.
- Wikidata and Open Science: A Model for Open Data Work.
- Guidelines: Electronic Lab Notebooks in Research Data Management.
- Research Data Management: Toolbox for Successful Institutional Services.
- FAIR Data: Many Paths Lead to the EOSC.
- Research Data Management: Over-Reliance on the Lifecycle Metaphor – and Alternatives.
This text has been translated from German.
Prof. Udo Kragl is currently Prorector for Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Rostock. His responsibilities there include research data and Open Science. He is chairman of the German Catalysis Society (GeCatS) and a DFG review board member for Technical Chemistry, where these topics are also currently being discussed intensively. He holds the chair of Technical Chemistry and is head of division at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis, Rostock.
Portraet: ITMZ University of Rostock©
Prof. Anne Lauber-Rönsberg is Professor of Civil Law, Intellectual Property Law, Media and Data Protection Law at TU Dresden. She led the BMBF-funded project “DataJus” on the legal framework of research data management and published a handbook on the subject with colleagues in 2021.
Portraet: Anne Lauber-Rönsberg©, photographer: J. Gilch
Prof. Klaus Tochtermann ist Direktor der ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft. Seit vielen Jahren engagiert er sich auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene für Open Science. Er ist Mitglied im Vorstand der EOSC Association (European Open Science Cloud).
Portraet: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied
Dr jur. Oda Cordes is a policy officer for research and research funding at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Portraet, photographer: Anne Jüngling©
Dr Anna Maria Höfler works as a Science Policy Coordinator at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics as part of the Open Science research group. She is mainly concerned with the topics of research data and Open Science.
Portraet, photographer: Rupert Pessl©
The post Research Data Management: We Need to Pick Up the Pace first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.
We were talking to Elisabeth Böker and Peter Brettschneider
Research data management (RDM, known as FDM in German) is an essential topic regarding Open Science. Baden-Württemberg’s support and development project for research data management (German, bw2FDM) is dedicated to this issue. One of the aims of the bw2FDM project is to create a multifaceted educational programme to drive forward sustainability and networking within the entire research data management community. bw2FDM also operates the information platform forschungsdaten.info (Forschungsdaten means research data), which offers a wide-ranging collection of articles on RDM topics. None of these programmes is limited to a specific institution; rather they are aimed at the entire German-speaking community. Elisabeth Böker and Peter Brettschneider, who are involved in the project, explain how it works in detail, which topics are particularly popular within the RDM community, and what role libraries and information infrastructure institutions can play.
Please introduce the project in three sentences: What is the mission / aim / vision of bw2FDM?
Elisabeth Böker: bw2FDM is an initiative for research data management, funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Science, Research and Art. We follow four primary aims:
- The coordination of the interdisciplinary issues of the four Science Data centres (German) in Baden-Württemberg.
- We want to develop the information platform forschungsdaten.info further to become the central RDM platform for the German-speaking countries.
- We offer consultations and training seminars on the topic of research data management, primarily for researchers from Baden-Württemberg.
- bw2FDM is responsible for the planning and implementation of the E-Science-Tage conference .
We are particularly interested in the bw2FDM consultations and training seminars on research data management, which you also presented at the Open Science Conference 2021. What was your approach? What is your target group? What you do offer, specifically? And who can participate in the training seminars and consultations?
Elisabeth Böker: That differs slightly, depending on the format: We focus our training seminars primarily on researchers from Baden-Württemberg. The students of the University of Konstanz are the target audience for our Open Science course. We want to introduce them to the topic of Open Science during their studies and are delighted at the considerable interest it has already drawn. The course “Open Science: From Data to Publications ” is subject to a CC BY licence – reuse is most welcome! Following the principle of openness, we have also published the videos as Open Educational Resources (OER) on Zenodo (German) and the central OER repository of the Institutions of Higher Education in Baden-Württemberg (ZOERR, German) as well as the material collection of the sub-working group training seminars / continuing education of the DINI/nestor AG research data (German) and also on the website of the Konstanz Open Science team.
By way of contrast, forschungsdaten.info live (German) focuses on all interested persons – both researchers as well as RDM officers – throughout the entire German-speaking countries.
Peter Brettschneider: : We try to consider research data management in a holistic sense. This also means that we focus on different target groups, and it also ensures that our training activities never become boring.
To what extent do you specifically address Open Science topics, for example in the field of Open Data?
Elisabeth Böker: Research data management is our central focus point. The guiding principle of the EU data strategy “as open as possible, as closed as necessary” is extremely important to us, which is why we emphasise it continually.
Libraries fit wonderfully into a data-based academic world.
– Peter Brettschneider
(How) Are academic libraries and other digital infrastructure institutions integrated into the field of training seminars and consultations?
Peter Brettschneider: Libraries fit wonderfully into a data-based academic world. Their core business is collecting information and making it available to the users. Research data have been part of the digital inventory of libraries for a considerable time. For example, that is the reason why universities will usually task their library or IT department with the implementation and operation of a research data repository. However, this kind of services should be accompanied by consultation and training programmes. Once again, our aim is to approach research data management holistically: It is not sufficient to provide just the hardware. There is also a need for people who explain and promote these services and are ready to assist researchers that may require help.
The project runs from 2019 to 2023. This means that you are just about half way through. Could you draw some interim conclusions? What are the most important lessons that you have learned over the past two years?
Elisabeth Böker: RDM is a team sport” – this is what we wrote in a publication (German) about our project. In this spirit, I would say it is crucial to approach issues collaboratively, use synergies and then progress towards the target. That works wonderfully. It is particularly gratifying to see this happening with the forschungsdaten.info platform. Even before “half-time”, we have been able to bring colleagues from Austria and Switzerland into the team – and we intend to continue building on this even more intensively in the second phase.There is an enormous demand for legal topics, and we are very lucky to have with Peter Brettschneider a legal specialist in the team.
FDM is a Teamsport.
– Elisabeth Böker
Peter Brettschneider: Indeed, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding legal issues. In our training seminars, we like to combine legal topics with fundamental RDM know-how. This is important to us, because we can’t emphasise enough the central messages on research data and its management – such as FAIR data. But on the other hand, research data management is not an end in itself. It’s not our task to proselytise. Rather, it is our intention to support researchers and to make their research visible and reusable.
What has the feedback to your RDM consultation and training seminar programmes been like so far?
Elisabeth Böker: We are extremely satisfied. With forschungsdaten.info live in particular, we were able to average over a hundred participants. The demand is definitively there!
Which of your programme’s RDM topics or formats are particularly popular?
Elisabeth Böker: The forschungsdaten.info live format has been very popular – in part due to its focus on the entire German-speaking RDM community. Moreover, events that explore legal topics are always sure-fire successes.
The bw2FDM project can definitely be called a success so far in the area of training and consulting. Are there plans to expand your project throughout Germany?
Elisabeth Böker: : We are already active throughout the German-speaking countries with forschungsdaten.info live. However, we intend to advertise our other training seminars primarily for researchers in Baden-Württemberg – at both, universities as well as other higher education institutions. The reason for this is that our funding comes from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Science, Research and Art. Moreover, other federal states have their own RDM initiatives that offer great training opportunities.
Are there already similar projects in other federal states? To what extent do you collaborate with them?
Elisabeth Böker: Yes, many other federal states have comparable RDM projects or dedicated initiatives. They introduce themselves on the platform forschungsdaten.info (German). We have close and very fruitful collaboration with our colleagues, both, within a joint discussion forum as well as via the editorial network of forschungsdaten.info.
From a legal point of view, we ensure sustainability by systematically releasing the project results under free licences in order to promote reuse.
– Peter Brettschneider
Sustainability plays an important role in your project. How do you ensure it?
Peter Brettschneider: Sustainability has several dimensions: Structurally, we try to safeguard our programmes in the long-term through partnerships with other institutions. For example, our project team does not run forschungsdaten.info on its own, but rather relies on an editorial network of approximately 20 institutions.
From a legal point of view, we ensure sustainability by systematically releasing the project results under free licences in order to promote reuse. This means that all training materials are licenced under Creative Commons BY 4.0. The contents of the forschungsdaten.info page can be reused completely without any restrictions, as we waive our rights by using CC 0 1.0.. Perhaps the most difficult thing is securing sustainability in terms of personnel. Currently, research data infrastructures are primarily sustained by project employees – the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) provides a good example. That is a real issue since RDM is a long-term task.
This text has been translated from German.
Weblinks to the bw2FDM project and to forschungsdaten.info:
- Website bw2FDM (German)
- Educating data literacy – a holistic concept. A best practice example for open science education
- Online course Open Science: From data to publications
- Website Forschungsdaten.info
- Newsletter forschungsdaten.info aktuell
- Twitter-Account @ForschDatenInfo (German)
This might also interest you:
- Wikidata and Open Science: A Model for Open Data Work
- Open Science Right from the Start: How the UBC Okanagan Library Introduces Students to Good Scientific Practice
- Guidelines: Electronic Lab Notebooks in Research Data Management
- Legal Compendium on Open Science: Guideline answers Legal Questions
- Research Data Management: Toolbox for successful institutional Services
- Open Educational Resources: How the EconBiz Academic Career Kit Trains Open Science Skills
- FAIR Data: Many paths lead to the EOSC
- Research data management: over-reliance on the lifecycle metaphor – and alternatives
- OER-Anleitungen und -Tutorials: Open Educational Resources selbst erstellen
- Promoting OER: How to create an open textbook
The post Research Data Management Project bw2FDM: Best Practice for Consultations and Training Seminars first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.
The RECODE project is an EU funded project designed to compile a set of generic guidelines for EU funders to use when forming research data sharing policies. The premise is that publicly funded data should be openly accessible to the public, because they have paid for it. The workshop signalled the end of the first work-package of the project. This studied stakeholder values and ecosystems, that is individual’s and scientific groups’ concepts of open access to data and an examination of current good practice in the area. Other topics such as the ethical considerations and the technological solutions of sharing data are to be tackled in other work-packages. This workshop was of particular interest to the CRC and Sherpa Services because we have recently conducted research into journal research data (the JoRD project; http://jordproject.wordpress.com) and because of the implications for funder’s policies in SHERPA/JULIET.
It was with some relief that we found that our findings about stakeholder perspectives were broadly the same as the RECODE findings; it shows that we were right! I gathered some extra insights from presentations by representatives from participants of the RECODE case studies. For example, there is not a clear difference of opinion on opening out research data between scientific disciplines, but there are many opinions within each discipline. It reminded me of the adage “when you put two academics together you get three different opinions”. It seems to me that it would be easier to sort the factions across disciplinary lines into “pro data sharing”, “contra data sharing” and “no-one would want our data because it is boring”. Another major problem of sharing data that became apparent is that the person who can interpret the data best is the person who collected it because data needs a context. In other words, the knowledge that the data reveals is stuck inside someone’s head, and it is very hard to make that openly accessible. This is the knowledge management problem of intellectual capital. One of the RECODE team expressed it as, a lot of knowledge is lost when you lose another post-doc.
Other issues were raised about technological infrastructure, data licensing, data citation, lack of standardisation of practice within the same fields, the simply practicality of opening huge data sets (the word peta-bytes was bandied about) and whether some sort of reward to an academic could be triggered for openly sharing their data. Overall, the workshop raised some interesting points, and I do not envy the RECODE project team in trying to reach a generic set of open research data guidelines for funders. This is a project that we will follow with great interest.
You can find more about the RECODE project on their website http://recodeproject.eu/
Journal Research Data Policy Bank (JoRD) will shed light on the policies devised by academic publishers to promote linkage between journal articles and underlying research data.
This initiative, is funded by JISC as part of its Digital Infrastructure Programme; it runs from July to December 2012. This work is being carried out by the Centre for Research Communication, University of Nottingham, working with Research Information Network and Professor Paul Sturges.
The aim of the JoRD Policy Bank project is to conduct a feasibility study into the scope and shape of a sustainable service to collate and summarise journal data policies. The project will deliver requirements and specifications for a service that will provide researchers, managers of research data and other stakeholders with an easy source of reference to understand and comply with the research data policies of journals and publishers.
Through maintaining a firm focus upon research literature and stakeholder consultations, the project aims to:
- identify and consult with a wide range of stakeholders, publishers and others, and develop a detailed set of stakeholder requirements and service specifications;
- investigate the current state of data sharing policies within journals and shed light on how journals are addressing this crucial question;
- scope and deliver recommendations on the shape of a central service that will (i) summarise journal research data policies; and (ii) provide a ready reference source of easily accessible, standardised, accurate and clear guidance and information relating to the journal policy landscape for research data;
- provide models to establish the business framework that will allow the committed relationships necessary to deliver such a service on a long term basis;
- provide service sustainability models determining how the long term operation of such a service can be sustained.
JoRD Blog and Project Website (http://jordproject.wordpress.com/)
Azhar, Jane and Melanie