At Karolinska Institutet work on improving research documentation and data management took a big step forward ten years ago with the implementation of an electronic logbook system and increased support to our researchers. Last year DMPonline became the most recent addition to our electronic research support for documentation and data management. This was in part triggered by changes in funding requirements when one of our biggest national funders, the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) decided that starting in 2019 all their awarded projects required a data management plan before the start of the project. They also made it clear that the responsibility for this does not lie with the principal investigator, but with the university.
This enabled us to start working more strategically and focused on data management planning. In DMPonline we provide a DMP template that covers the requirements from the Swedish Research Council, with some adaptation to more local requirements and guidelines like our electronic logbook system and storage solutions. It is not mandatory to use DMPonline for our researchers, but it is the system we recommend – and the vast majority have chosen to use our template in DMPonline for their DMPs.
The PI is required to send the DMP to us at the Research Data Office for review and approval before project start. The internal review of the DMPs is an iterative process done together with our researchers until we have an agreed upon final version of the DMP. This process is partly manual since the researcher download the DMPs from DMPonline for the review – in the future we want to investigate the possibility of doing also at least part of the review within DMPonline.
Already being able to use the template function in DMPonline has greatly facilitated our review since the majority of the DMPs we have looked at follow the same pattern – makes for an easy and quick review. We are keen to look at improving our template and guidance texts for this year’s coming projects.
We will also during this spring evaluate our usage of DMPonline and the DMP review process, both internally within our Research Data Office – where the review is managed – and ask our researchers for their input on both the process and the support provided. This will then form the basis for our continued work with DMPs.
The whole process, from the first meeting to launch, was completed and deployed in less than three months. This includes information to the grantees by e-mail, two workshops with researchers, development of the template and guidelines in DMPonline. A simple process for the review was established as well. With great help from the DMPonline staff, we even had our own branding done (https://dmp.ki.se), day before launch date.
We would like to say thank you to Cecilia Bjorkdahl & Johan Lundeqvist for sharing this blog post with us. If you would like to get involved in our knowledge exchange and share a story from your institution please do get in touch with us.