Category: #ActiveDMPs

2019: a DMP year in review

2019 was a pivotal year for DMPonline. Having introduced a new subscription model in November 2018 to sustain the DCC-led service, the last 12 months saw us develop a solid user base. This uptake has allowed us to grow the team and increase our engagem…

Roadmap back to school edition

Image: CC-BY-NC-ND ‘Pencils‘ by Vanessa Lynn
Summer activities and latest (major 2.0.0) release
The DMPRoadmap team is checking in with an overdue update after rotating holidays and work travels over the past few months. We also experienced some core team staff transitions and began juggling some parallel projects. As a result we haven’t been following a regular development schedule, but we have been busy tidying up the codebase and documentation. 
This post summarizes the contents of the major release and provides instructions for those with existing installations who will need to make some configuration changes in order to upgrade to the latest and greatest DMPRoadmap code. In addition to infrastructure improvements, we fixed some bugs and completed some feature enhancements. We appreciate the feedback and encourage you to keep it coming since this helps us set priorities (listed on the development roadmap) and meet the data management planning needs of our increasingly international user community. On that note, we welcome Japan (National Institute for Informatics) and South Africa (NeDICC) as additional voices in the DMP conversation!
Read on for more details about all the great things packed into the latest release, as well as some general updates about our services and of course machine-actionable DMPs. The DCC has already pushed the release out to its services and the DMPTool will be upgrading soon – separate communications to follow. Those who run their own instances should check out the full release notes and a video tutorial on the validations and data clean-up (thanks Gavin!) to complete the upgrade.
DMPRoadmap housekeeping work (full release notes, highlights below)
  • Instructions for existing installations to upgrade to the latest release. Please read and follow these carefully to prevent any issues arising from invalid data. We highly recommend that you backup your existing database before running through these steps to prepare your system for Roadmap 2.0.0!
  • Added a full suite of automated unit tests to make it easier to incorporate external contributions and improve overall reliability.
  • Added data validations for improved data integrity.
  • Created new and revised existing documentation for coding conventions, tests, translations, etc (Github wiki). We can now update existing translations and add new ones more efficiently.
DMPRoadmap new features and bug fixes
  • Comments are now visible by default without having to click ‘Show.’ Stay tuned for additional improvements to the plan comments functionality in upcoming sprints. 
  • Renamed/standardized text labels for ‘Save’ buttons for clarity.
  • Added a button to download a list of org users as a csv file (Admin > ‘Users’ page)
  • Added a global usage report for total users and plans for all orgs (Admin > ‘Usage’ page)
  • Admins can create customized template sections and place them at the beginning or end of funder templates via drag-and-drop 
  • Removed multi-select box as an answer format and replaced with multiple choice
DCC/DMPonline subscriptions [Please note: this does not apply to DMPTool users]
Another recent change is in the DMPonline service delivery model. The DCC has been running DMP services for overseas clients for several years and is now transitioning the core DMPonline tool to a subscription model based on administrator access to the tool. The core functionality (developing, sharing and publishing DMPs) remains freely accessible to all, as well as the templates, guidance and user manuals we offer. We also remain committed to the Open Source DMPRoadmap codebase. The charges cover the support infrastructure necessary to run a production-level international service. More information is available for our users in a recent announcement. We’re also growing the support team to keep up with the requests we’re receiving. If you are interested in being at the cutting edge of DMP services and engaging with the international community to define future directions, apply to join us!
Machine-actionable DMPs
Increasing the opportunities for machine-actionability of DMPs was one of the spurs behind the DMPRoadmap collaboration. Facilities already exist via use of a number of standard identifiers and we’re moving on both the standards development tracks and code development and testing.
The CDL has been prototyping for the NSF EAGER grant and started a blog series focused on this work (#1, #2, next installation forthcoming), with an eye to seeding conversations and sharing experiences as many of us begin to experiment in multiple directions. CDL prototyping efforts are separate from the DMPRoadmap project currently but will inform future enhancements.

We’re also attempting to inventory global activities and projects on Some updates for this page are in the works to highlight new requirements and tools. Please add any other updates you’re aware of! Sarah ran a workshop in South Africa in August on behalf of NeDICC to gather requirements for machine-actionable DMPs there and the DCC will be hosting a visit from DIRISA in December. All the content from the workshop is on Zenodo and you can see how engaged the audience got in mapping our solutions. The DCC is also presenting on recent trends in DMPs as part of the OpenAIRE and FOSTER webinar series for Open Access week 2018. The talk maps out the current and emerging tools from a European perspective. Check out the slides and video

Image: CC-BY ‘Active DMPs in South Africa‘ by Sarah Jones
You can also check out the preprint and/or stop by the poster for ‘Ten Principles for Machine-Actionable DMPs’ at Force2018 in Montreal and the RDA plenary in Botswana. This work presents 10 community-generated principles to put machine-actionable DMPs into practice and realize their benefits. The principles describe specific actions that various stakeholders are already undertaking or should take.
We encourage everyone to contribute to the session for the DMP Common Standards working group at the next RDA plenary (Nov 5-8 in Botswana). There is community
consensus that interoperability and delivery of DMP information across systems requires a common data model; this group aims to deliver a framework for this essential first step in actualizing machine-actionable DMPs.

RDA 11th Plenary Berlin: Active DMP Excitement

Now that the dust has settled, here are a few thoughts and reflections from March’s 11th RDA Plenary in Berlin, with a focus on Data Management Plans (DMPs).

DMP Common Standards WG

My participation in this plenary began with the DMP Common Standards WG meeting tasked with finding practical ways to make DMPs machine-actionable. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of participants, most of who perhaps aren’t interested in the technical minutiae of the WG conference calls, but are nevertheless interested in the general discussion and wish to be included in shaping the outputs and recommendations of this group.* [Theme 1]

More importantly, many participants had questions to ask and insights to offer during the Towards a Common Data Model moderated discussion to the extent that, unavoidably, many conversations spilled over into the coffee break and the immaculate corridors of Berlin’s Congress Center! This happily points to a clear need to listen and gather insights from as wide a stakeholder base as possible if we want our recommendations to be useful to the widest possible audience.

Points of interest:

  • Lightning talks where we presented various DMP-related tools’ approaches to modelling this subject area. [Slides]
  • By Common Data Model we mean finding a way to let funders ask their questions and receive answers in a standard, well-defined way that does not restrict expressiveness and represents the very diverse approaches and requirements that different groups and organisations have.* [Theme 2]
  • DMPRoadmap data model’s emphasis on KISS principle (Keep It Simple & Straightforward): 
    Plans use Templates – Templates have Phases, which contain Sections with Questions in them.
  • Missing DMP data may be the result of a question that was never asked. [DCC‘s Kevin Ashley]
  • There may be a middle ground between free-text and machine-readable content in the concept of Themes.
  • More emphasis on integration between APIs, data sources and tools as opposed to simply exporting/sharing DMPs. 

Emerging themes:

  1. The first emerging theme was convergence & collaboration: collect as many user stories as possible for maximum inclusivity.
  2. By extension, the need to avoid overspecification & overengineering in the WG’s outputs, to prevent having to shoehorn diverse standards and methodologies into a narrow data/metadata model in the future.
    • This is what makes many recommendations that look good on paper unusable in the real world.

Exposing DMPs WG

Another full room at P11, this time for the Exposing DMPs WG meeting:

  • Lightning talk presentations on the subject of sharing DMP content by Angus Whyte (DCC), David Carr (Wellcome), Elena Zudilova-Seinstra (Elsevier RDM Solutions), Iain Hrynaszkiewicz (BMC Research Notes), Sandra Gesing (Open Science Framework), Stephanie Simms (CDL).
  • Use cases for exposing DMPs
  • Real-time voting: Which use cases should we spend our time on? – showed great interest on the subjects of Integration and Evaluation.

Favourite moment

Resolutely debugging the RDA Metadata Standards Catalog with Alex Ball during a coffee break – having coffee standing up Italian style, furiously typing into laptops & tablets, we must have been a sight!

RDA Plenaries are an excellent opportunity for learning and collaboration, as there’s so much experience around in many different subject areas – so many user stories, and so many different perspectives to stimulate conversation and one’s interest in previously unexplored topics.


Full room at DMP Common Standards WG… …and at Exposing DMPs WG!

Photos: Tomasz Miksa, Jimmy Angelakos

On the right track(s) – DCC release draws nigh

Eurostar by red hand records CC-BY-ND
Preliminary DMPRoadmap out to test
We’ve made a major breakthrough this month, getting a preliminary version of the DMPRoadmap code out to test on DMPonline, DMPTuuli and DMPMelbourne. This has taken longer …

RDA-DMP movings and shakings

An update on RDA and our Active DMP work, courtesy of Stephanie Simms

RDA Plenary 9 
We had another productive gathering of #ActiveDMPs enthusiasts at the Research Data Alliance (RDA) plenary meeting in Barcelona (5-7 Apr). Just prior to the meet…