Category: Data Management Planning

DMP inspiration down under

I’ve had a number of inspiring DMP discussions over the last few weeks, both Australian and European based. Here in Oz, funders do not require data management plans like they do in the UK and USA. This has led to the growth of quite different tools as institutions fit the DMP to local priorities.
CSIRO, QCIF and the University of Queensland all have data management tools with a strikingly similar feature set. Research Data Planner, RedBox and UQ Research Data Manager are more akin to data management systems than DMP tools. They integrate with other institutional systems and prioritise storage allocation, metadata capture and data publishing as incentives to engage researchers. It’s heartening to see that they have learned lessons from overseas – much attention has been given to streamlining questions and providing tailored guidance or pre-filled answers. This point came up at Macquarrie University too which is currently developing a DMP tool and will provide default answers that should suit most use cases. They are focusing on sensitive data as that’s the biggest risk and institutional concern. Indeed, institutions here seem very risk adverse and defensive of IP.
This prevailing institutional competitiveness is a weakeness for the data management field in my opinion. Three teams have developed very similar DMP tools while the sector as a whole would have been much better served by a coordinated national effort. Admittedly this is easier to say than do. Parallel DMPonline and DMPTool developments ran in the UK and USA for nearly 6 years before we started the DMPRoadmap partnership to have a common open source codebase from which to run each of our services.
Australian DMP tools are very impressive and there are a lot of ideas I plan to take back to inform DMPonline developments. I really like the API plug and play approach to allow organisations to join up whatever systems they have in place. I hope to coordinate a co-located workshop during the RDA Plenary on 18-20 March 2020 in Melbourne to discuss global DMP initiatives and what opportunities there are for wider collaboration. These could be around the common standard for DMP, sharing user requirements, code, developer peer exchange, training or more. If you are involved in DMP work and want to get involved please reach out to me.
There have been interesting European DMP talks over the last few weeks too. Benjamin Faure and colleagues at DMP OPIDoR in France have made a number of useful extensions to the DMPRoadmap codebase. These include one click plan creation from the public templates page, an API extension to pull out themes, and adding a dataset component to the underlying data model. We have also continued our DMPonline outreach, running drop-ins and scheduling the next user group for 17th September in London. This will follow a full day RDMF on costing data management on 16th at the British Library – register here. We are also growing the DMPonline team and held interviews for a new developer on Monday.
I’ll be giving a DMP webinar for ARDC on lessons from Europe tomorrow. Slides are available and a video is forthcoming. 

Talking About Data: Lessons from Science Communication

As a person who worked for years in psychology and neuroscience laboratories before coming to work in academic libraries, I have particularly strong feelings about ambiguous definitions. One of my favorite anecdotes about my first year of graduate school involves watching two researchers argue about the definition of “attention” for several hours, multiple times a … … Continue reading

DMP themes: And then there were 14…

We issued a call for input on the DMP themes in late September and received feedback from across the UK, Europe and the USA. Many thanks to all who responded. It’s really helped to confirm our thinking.
We asked a few specific questions:

An RDM Model for Researchers: What we’ve learned

Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on our previous blog post describing our data management tool for researchers. We received a great deal of input related to our guide’s use of the term “data sharing” and our guide’s position in relation to other RDM tools as well as quite a few questions about what our guide […]

DMPonline / DMPTool roadmap – reciprocal visits

Our collaboration with the DMPTool team continues. Marta was in Oakland at the end of May and we’re preparing to host the US team in Glasgow next week. We’ve been experiencing Californian weather for the past few weeks – hope it lasts long enough so they experience Scotland at its best.

Below is an update from Stephanie on Marta’s visit. We’ll post more news soon on the UK side of the trip.

Roadmap team-building exercises: US edition – reposted from the DMPTool blog

Last week we hosted Marta Ribeiro, the lead developer for DMPonline, for an intense, donut-fueled planning meeting to define our co-development process and consolidate our joint roadmap. The following is a debriefing on what we accomplished and what we identified as our next steps.

The project team is established, with Brian Riley joining as the DMPTool technical lead. Marta is busy completing the migration of DMPonline to Rails 4.2 to deposit the code into our new Github repository: DMPRoadmap. There’s nothing to see just yet—we’re in the midst of populating it with documentation about our process, roadmap, issues, etc. As soon as everything is in place, we’ll send word so that anyone who’s interested can track our progress. This will also allow us to begin sussing out how to incorporate external development efforts to benefit the larger DMP community. In addition, Marta is mentoring a pair of summer interns who are undertaking the internationalization work and building APIs. Meanwhile, Brian will finish building the servers for the Roadmap development and staging environments on AWS with another new member of the UC3 team: Jim Vanderveen (DevOps/Developer). Additional core team members include Stephanie Simms and Sarah Jones as Service/Project Managers, Marisa Strong as the Technical Manager, and the CDL UX team (many thanks to our UX Design Manager, Rachael Hu, for spending so much time with us!). UC3 and DCC will also rely on their existing user groups for testing and feedback on both sides of the pond.

Other groundlaying activities include a web accessibility evaluation for DMPonline to ensure that the new system is accessible for disabled users and exploring what we (and others) mean when we talk about “machine-readable DMPs.” Stephanie just received an RDA/US Data Share Fellowship to develop use cases for making DMPs machine readable, in consultation with the Active DMPs Interest Group and the research community at large. In line with this effort, she’ll be participating in an interdisciplinary and international workshop on active DMPs next month, co-hosted by CERN and the RDA group. We’re actively seeking and summarizing thoughts on the topic so please send us your ideas!

We conclude this edition with a draft of our project roadmap (below); it lists all of the features that we’ll be adding to the DMPonline codebase before we release the new platform. Most of the features already exist in the DMPTool and were slated for future enhancements to DMPonline. Stay tuned for our next update following a UC3 exchange visit to Glasgow/Edinburgh in mid June to prioritize the roadmap and commence co-development work.


  • Migration to Rails v.4.2
  • Bring DMP Assistant’s internationalization upstream for multi-lingual support
  • Adding the concept of locales so specific organizations, funders, and templates can be defined and filtered out for certain users/contexts
  • Shibboleth support through eduGain
  • OAuth link for ORCID
  • APIs to create plans, extract guidance, and generate usage statistics
  • More robust institutional branding
  • A lifecycle to indicate the status of plans and allow institutional access to plans
  • Support for reviewing plans
  • Public sharing option > Public DMPs library
  • Flag test plans (to exclude them from usage stats)
  • Email notification system
  • Admin controls for assigning admin rights to others
  • Export template with guidance
  • Copy template option for creating new templates
  • Copy plan option for creating new plans
  • Toggle switch for navigating between Plan area and Admin area

DMPonline: new release

We’re pleased to announce a new release to DMPonline , the DCC’s online tool for Data Management Planning. The new release includes:

A comment feature to enable collaborators to share ideas and feedback when co-writing plans

Where are they now? An RDM update from Oxford Brookes University

A guest blog post by Sarah Taylor, Research Support Manager, Oxford Brookes University.

Since working with the DCC in 2011-2012, we have agreed a Research Data Management Policy in 2013. This is supported by an Operational document, which is specifically designed to be dynamic, allowing us to demonstrate how and to what extent support mechanisms in the University underpin the policy. We have deliberately included policy statements which are challenging: to both academic staff those supporting them and are working on improving the support we provide.

A key area of concern was archiving data and we signed a contract with Arkivum, under the terms of their agreement with JANET, at the end of 2014. We have set up a pilot with two research groups to work through how to use the system to support them best and how to scale up its use to enable all parts of the University to utilise it easily. We will be working with these two research groups to design protocols on best practice for archiving, which will be shared with all interested staff across the University.

We are just reaching agreement for academic colleagues to manage their own research project web pages. This will be one of the ways academic staff will have to make their research data openly accessible. This development is at its early stages and we would be expecting the data itself to be stored on our repository but with a link through from the relevant web page.

Both of these developments should benefit academic staff directly, but one of our other challenges is more focused on getting the support mechanisms right. Our Head of Resource Development and Delivery, from the Directorate of Learning Resources has produced a report on digital curation and the preservation of research data. This report has a 10-point plan for implementing a response to the issues of digital curation and preservation and includes consideration of issues relating to adoption of standards, guidelines on accessibility, policies for appraisal and re-appraisal of data and responsibility for leading on this area. A bid has been put to the University for additional support and we are about to meet Faculty Associate Deans for Research to discuss how to start to raise awareness of these issues in their Faculties.

In 2014 the Directorate of Learning Resources underwent a restructuring that would, amongst other things, support the University’s strategy for research and knowledge exchange.  For the Directorate this meant the introduction of a structure that enables working with the University’s researchers to support the growing research agenda.  This enabled the creation of a clearly articulated support for research data management across the Directorate.  This restructuring represented a move away from a structure based on activities and processes to one that was instead based on service provision.  The support for research data therefore changed from being focussed on supporting a repository service to supporting research data management activities, including the appropriate service provision.

This restructuring resulted in the redefinition of existing roles across the Directorate and also in the creation of a Scholarly Communications Team.  This team built upon the support that already existed for the institutional repository, RADAR, and staff already involved in research data management activities at the University.  The remit of the Scholarly Communications team includes the roll-out of research data management within the Directorate and across the University, ensuring that University research outputs and research data are deposited in the institutional repository and carrying out appropriate advocacy work across the University. Support for research data management is not confined to the Scholarly Communications team alone, and Academic Liaison roles have been revised to specifically include areas of expanding Library activity and, specifically, research support.  This ensures that the support for research is embedded as a core activity.

Some academic colleagues in the arts have embraced the issue of data management with enthusiasm – not least by discursive and ongoing discussions about what may constitute ‘data’ in their field. One of our colleagues, Professor Paul Whitty, delivered a paper on ‘Research data and Arts practice: a consideration of the relationship between practice-based research in the Arts, documentation, outputs and data management’ at the UKSG in November 2014 ( He has also secured funding from his Faculty to employ a Research Data Enabler. This post involves working alongside practice-based researchers during the process of ‘data’ creation to instil good practice around data management. This is a notable step forward in that it will constitute the first dedicated research data management role in the Institution.

We are in the process of rolling out a Current Research Information System (CRIS). We currently have all externally funded project details held in one database but we do not yet have a central record of internally funded projects. The CRIS will allow us to have that and so we can then start to contact academic staff and ask them about their plans for data as their projects start to draw to an end. This will serve also to flag up the policy requirements for data and act as a dissemination mechanism as well. The CRIS could also allow us to contact Line Managers when a member of staff is leaving, to check that arrangements are being put in place for management of data when they go.

We have also continued to raise awareness of issues relating to research data management – particularly those around making data openly accessible. We used the opportunity presented by HEFCE’s Open Access policies for the post-2014 REF exercise to ensure that data management continued to be considered. The then Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Exchange (now our Vice-Chancellor) ran a series of roadshows on Open Access between October-December 2014 and included a session in each one on what open data meant and how it could affect different disciplines and what rules future REF exercises may have on the sharing of data.


Where are they now? An RDM update from the University of Glasgow

A guest blog post by Mary Donaldson, Research Data Management Services Co-ordinator, University of Glasgow.

Over recent years, central support for research data management (RDM) at the University of Glasgow has been limited. The JISC-funded C4D project which ran until September 2013 provided some basic support, which was augmented with expert advice from the Digital Curation Centre (DCC). We used our DCC institutional engagement to assist with the formulation of our draft Institutional Data Policy and our Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Roadmap and for help with RDM training.  The DCC also helped run a Data Asset Framework (DAF) survey and associated follow-up interviews which allowed us to assess current RDM practices in the University. Joy Davidson and Sarah Jones were invaluable for their support in the early development of RDM awareness at Glasgow.

Between the end of the initial formal engagement with the DCC and late 2014, work to develop and promote RDM at Glasgow has been on an ad hoc basis. In late 2014, the University of Glasgow began appointing an RDM team to run its institutional RDM service and research data registry and repository. The team currently comprises an RDM officer with responsibility for the technical side of operations and an RDM officer with responsibility for the coordination of the service. In June 2015, our team will be complete when a third member, an RDM officer with responsibility for staff training and support, joins us. The RDM team has been working systematically to develop the RDM service on several fronts:

Registry and Repository:

As part of the Cerif for Datasets (C4D) project, Glasgow set up a fledgling Research Data Registry ( using EPrints Repository software.  The Registry uses a metadata specification developed during the C4D project working with other EPrints sites to agree standard functionality.  The data registry has various functionality to help researchers manage their research data, including the capability to mint Digital Object Identfiers (DOIs) for data.

Following the appointment of the Glasgow RDM team in late 2014, the Registry has been augmented by data archiving capability provided by Arkivum, and using the Arkivum EPrints plugin to seamlessly link the Registry with off-site Arkivum storage.

Plans for the coming months include: linking research data with research publications and theses, building on work carried out by University of London Computer Centre and University of East London; linking research data with University staff profile pages; enhanced Registry front-end to include a responsive design so that researchers can use the registry across multiple devices; and iterative development of data ingest and curation procedures as more datasets come through the Registry and workflows are tested and revised.

Researcher Engagement:

With the looming 1st May 2015 deadline for the EPSRC expectations, the majority of our researcher engagement activities this year have been focussed on EPSRC-funded researchers.  We have been contacting EPSRC-funded researchers to offer face-to-face meetings with a member of the RDM team to clarify funder expectations and to explain how the RDM service can help.  Through these meetings, we have identified a few examples of really good practice and have cultivated these researchers as ‘data management champions’ who are willing to speak at RDM engagement events about how they go about RDM activities. We also take opportunities to go and speak at researcher gatherings to raise the profile of RDM within the University’s research community. In addition to our proactive work with EPSRC-funded researchers, our services are also available to all other research staff in the University. In recent weeks, with the release of the ESRC Data Policy, we have been looking at ways in which we can engage with ESRC-funded researchers at Glasgow. We anticipate that as compliance with the EPSRC and ESRC requirements becomes part of the normal research workflow, we’ll turn our attention to other RCUK-funded researchers. We are also working with the Open Access Service to coordinate our service offerings and to reduce the number of emails being received by research staff.

Training Offering:

Recently we have been working on extending our researcher training offering to make sure we cover all aspects of RDM and the data lifecycle, and make this training available to researchers at all stages of their careers.

Through the Staff Development Service, we will be increasing access opportunities to the existing workshop-  ‘Managing Research Data’ and we will also be offering a new workshop –  ‘Data Management Planning’. We will also be contributing appropriate material to several other workshops run by the Staff Development Service.

Through the Graduate Schools, we will be offering workshops on Research Data Management for Postgraduate researchers. We will also be contributing appropriate material to other training courses offered by the Graduate Schools.

In addition we will be delivering training to staff and student groups within the University such as the Early Career Researcher Fellowship Application Mentoring Group.

Service coordination:

We are continuing to work with other services at Glasgow to ensure that consideration is given to RDM at the appropriate times in a research project lifecycle.  With the contracts team we have agreed wording for collaboration agreements that makes provision for data sharing at the end of the project. We are also working with the University Ethics Committee to inform them of RDM considerations that they might need to take into account when considering applications, and with the Research Support Office to get researchers to complete a Data Management Plan for their project and to cost for RDM when making funding bids.

We have also made two successful proposals to the Research Strategy and Planning Committee:

  1. To put the responsibility for the quality assurance of our data curations processes within the remit of our Vice Principal for Research and Enterprise.
  2. To strongly encourage all researchers within the University of Glasgow to prepare data management plans for their projects, regardless of whether this is required by their funders as part of the application process.

Future aspirations:

  • To ensure all researchers have access to support to facilitate compliance with funder requirements and good data management practice?
  • To extend the University of Glasgow-specific guidance in DMPonline.
  • To fully embed data management and planning into the normal workflow of researchers at Glasgow.
  • To update our training offering and resources with examples of best RDM practice from within our own research community.


We are Hiring a DMPTool Manager!

Do you love all things data management as much as we do? Then join our team! We are hiring a person to help manage the DMPTool, including development prioritization, promotion, outreach, and education. The position is funded for two years with the potential for an extension pending funding and budgets. You would be based in the amazing city […]