Category: DMPonline

DMPonline user group at the London School of Economics

On the 17th September 2019 we ran a user group at the London School of Economics. Many thanks to Helen Porter for offering us the space to host us and hosting us. Please get in touch if you wish to host a DMPonline user group at your institution.

For the first time we had a user group with subscribers from the UK, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands so we could look at the tool from different perspectives and backgrounds. It was great to discuss how you use DMPonline, which new functionalities you wish us to add to the tool, and to get your feedback on our future plans and developments. We started the session with Sarah presenting our most recent updates, future plans and growth of our DMPonline team. Afterwards Killian (our summer intern from Edinburgh University) showed you a demo of the fantastic work he has done over the summer on conditional questions. We are currently testing this with you and will be deploying in the following month. Magdalena showed you a demo of a new feature where you can add departments to categorise where users come from, and after the coffee break Sam joined us remotely and explained his work on full text API & mapping to the DMP common standard released by the Research Data Alliance.

We have raised several tickets

Based on your request we have raised tickets on GitHub, which are labeled as ‘ user group.’ These include features to improve the admin functionality when you are searching for plans and users, further API development to support bulk assignment of departments, adding document upload and relocating the ‘request feedback’ button.

We held a meeting to review these requests and prioritise work for the coming months. You can read the outcome of that in Sarah’s blog.

Other information…

In Manchester we did an axe throwing social, so this time around we decided to do something more peaceful and went to Bloomsbury Lanes to play bowling the night before the user group.Helen, Sarah and Judith represented the north-west of England and took on the rest of the world. Unsurprisingly, after a brave start, the north-west floundered and the rest of the world got stronger. We are all much better off as one big community!

After our user group had lunch at an Italian restaurant where attendees had more space to just chat and network with the rest of the community. We really enjoyed the time with you and we are looking forward to our next user group in few months time! We have been offered a venue in the Netherlands, so are planning to hold the next DMPonline user group on 20th January 2020 in Delft. We will be in touch with you about further details but mark your calendars now.

Last but not least – as always, we are keen to hear from you about how you use the tool and how we can improve it, so please feel free to contact us at the details below:

Do not forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter. To keep up with DMPonline news, you can subscribe to the RSS feed to receive our blogs and tweets, and watch GitHub for code updates. You can also discuss any of our new features on the user group mailing list


Full steam ahead!

Photo byLee Hull on Unsplash
Following on from our user group last week, the DMPonline team met yesterday and has prioritised the feature requests you raised. Ray Carrick started work for the DCC on Monday so we have doubled developer effort…

DMPonline at Maastricht University Medical Center

Knowledge exchange 
DMPonline case study – Maastricht University Medical Center by Mirjam Kamps

DMPMaastricht is hosted by DataHub Maastricht. DataHub provides data management services to researchers in the Maastricht University Medical Center an…

DMPonline@TU Delft

Knowledge exchange 

DMPonline case study – DMPonline@TU Delft by Madeleine de Smaele and Marta Teperek

Madeleine de Smaele

Marta Teperek



Data management support is provided by the Research Data Services team of TU Delft Library, in close collaboration with the Faculty Data Stewards who are providing discipline-specific support and are the first point of contact for TU Delft researchers. As part of this service, support on writing data management plans has become increasingly important. Indeed, most funding agencies require research data produced as part of a funded project to be made publicly available and are requiring their grant-holders to produce a data management plan (DMP).

In addition, TU Delft Research Data Framework Policy is encouraging this for research projects in general as part of good data management.

The increasing importance of DMPs has also prompted us to critically evaluate the complete workflow and support provided. How can we make the process as efficient as possible and meet expectations and requirements of the university, research funders, and legislation (such as GDPR), and minimise the duplication of effort for researchers as well as support staff? In answering this question we decided that providing DMPonline could be of enormous help achieving that.

The process

When rethinking the data management planning process we got very much inspired by the work of the University of Manchester that designed an integrated workflow in which information is shared between support services across the university. See this blog post for the complete story.

Following the same method, together with representatives from the Library, Data Stewards, ICT Department, Ethics Committee and the Privacy Team, a new data management plan template was created with questions covering all the necessary information. Basically, TU Delft template consists of two sections: General TU Delft data management questions, and TU Delft questions about management of personal research data. The second section is compulsory only for projects working with personal research data.

In parallel, we customized DMPonline in order to make it a recognizable TU Delft tool with its own identity and added guidance and example answers to each template with information on local support, infrastructure and services.

Once a researcher starts writing a DMP, Data Stewards are alerted about this through an API. This allows them to pro-actively approach researchers and offer them support in creating their plans.  In addition, researchers are also offered the option of having their full DMPs reviewed, using DMPonline’s ‘request feedback’ button. If researchers take up this service, their plans will be reviewed by the Faculty Data Steward, using the commenting functionality within DMPonline.

When a research project involves personal data, the researcher will be directed from TU Delft DMP template to the Ethics Committee to get ethical approval and to the Privacy Team to get advice on Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), as appropriate. Vice versa, when a researcher submits the ethics application, the Ethics Committee will check whether the DMP has been approved by the Data Steward and if adequate measures will be taken to protect the interests of vulnerable persons (if applicable). 

Also other experts (for example, colleagues from the Privacy Team), who are assigned a ‘reviewer’ role in DMPonline, are able to comment on a plan.

Next steps

On an international level, Science Europe, representing the major funder organisations in Europe, has launched last year the Practical guide to the international alignment of research data management with core requirements for data management plans. Now we see that these requirements are increasingly being taken over by Dutch research funding agencies, such as NWO and ZonMw. We are therefore planning to align our TU Delft data management plan template with these requirements. Once the template is approved by the funding agency, researchers will be allowed to submit a DMP created using our TU Delft template directly to the funder, which makes the process much easier for our researchers.

Regarding the DMPonline tool, we will continue to collaborate with the DCC in the UK to improve functionality and to further streamline the process in a more automated way. For example, one of the features most frequently requested by our researchers are conditional questions. Researchers who do not work with personal research data should not be presented with the whole list of questions regarding personal data processing. In addition, we see clear benefits of using the API for automated notifications. At the moment, the API provides access to the administrative information of every DMP, which allowed us to set up email alerts whenever new plans are created. What we would really like to see is API access to the entire content of DMPs. We envisage that full content API access would allow us to automate more processes within our institutions, such as notifications about DMPs which are likely to require a separate ethics application, or might involve high risk data processing and could need a DPIA. Full content API could also bring us a step closer to making DMPs machine actionable. Therefore, we strongly believe that close collaboration with DCC, Research Data Alliance (RDA), as well as colleagues at other institutions who use DMPonline, will not only benefit the researcher, but also support staff as information will be more efficiently shared and workflows better connected. 

“DMPonline allows you to collaborate on a template, so that both the researcher and myself as the Data Steward are always working on the same version, at the same time.” – reflects Esther Plomp, Data Steward at the Faculty of Applied Sciences at TU Delft. “I also like that we can put practical guidelines in a simple interface so that the researcher’s job becomes easier, and then consequently my job is also easier. So it saves time.”

We would like to say thank you to Madeleine de Smaele &  Marta Teperek for sharing this blog post with us. We have also a recording from our August 2019 DMPonline drop in session where we were joined by Medeliene and Marta, which you can listen to here.

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.

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. 

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