Category: DMPonline

Getting our ducks in a row

Recent activity on the Roadmap project encompasses two major themes: 1) machine-actionable data management plans and 2) kicking off co-development of the shared codebase.

Image credit: ‘Get Your Ducks in a Row‘ CC-BY-SA by Cliff Johnson

Machine-actionable DMPs

The first of these has been a hot topic of conversation among stakeholders in the data management game for some time now, although most use the phrase “machine-readable DMPs.” So what do we mean by machine-actionable DMPs? Per the Data Documentation Initiative definition, “this term refers to information that is structured in a consistent way so that machines can be programmed against the structure.” The goal of machine-actionable DMPs, then, is to better facilitate good data management and reuse practices (think FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) by enabling:

  • Institutions to manage their data
  • Funders to mine the DMPs they receive
  • Infrastructure providers to plan their resources
  • Researchers to discover data

This term is consistent with the Research Data Alliance Active DMPs Interest Group and the FORCE11 FAIR DMPs group mission statements, and it seems to capture what we’re all thinking: i.e., we want to move beyond static text files to a dynamic inventory of digital research methods, protocols, environments, software, articles, data… One reason for the DMPonline-DMPTool merger is to develop a core infrastructure for implementing use cases that make this possible. We still need a human-readable document with a narrative, but underneath the DMP could have more thematic richness with value for all stakeholders.

A recent Cern/RDA workshop presented the perfect opportunity to consolidate our notes and ideas. In addition to the Roadmap project members, Daniel Mietchen (NIH) and Angus Whyte (DCC) participated in the exercise. We conducted a survey of previous work on the topic (we know we didn’t capture everything so please alert us to things we missed) and began outlining concrete use cases for machine-actionable DMPs, which we plan to develop further through community engagement over the coming months. Another crucial piece of our presentation was a call to make DMPs public, open, discoverable resources. We highlighted existing efforts to promote public DMPs (e.g., the DMPTool Public DMPs list, publishing exemplary DMPs in RIO Journal) but these are just a drop in the bucket compared to what we might be able to do if all DMPs were open by default.  

You can review our slides here. And please send feedback—we want to know what you think!

Let the co-development begin!

Now for the second news item: our ducks are all in a row and work is underway on the shared Roadmap codebase.

We open with a wistful farewell to Marta Ribeiro, who is moving on to an exciting new gig at the Urban Big Data Centre. DCC has hired two new developers to join our ranks—Ray Carrick and Jimmy Angelakos—both from their sister team at EDINA. The finalized co-development team commenced weekly check-in calls and in the next week or two we’ll begin testing the draft co-development process by adding three features from the roadmap:

  1. Enhanced institutional branding
  2. Funder template export
  3. OAuth link an ORCID

In the meantime, Brian is completing the migration to Rails 4.2 and both teams are getting our development environments in place. Our intention is to iterate on the process for a few sprints, iron out the kinks, and then use it and the roadmap as the touchstones for a monthly community developer check-in call. We hope this will provide a forum for sharing use cases and plans for future work (on all instances of the tool) in order to prioritize, coordinate, and alleviate duplication of effort.

The DCC interns have also been plugging away at their respective projects. Sam Rust just finished building some APIs on creating plans and extracting guidance, and is now starting work on the statistics use case. Damodar Sójka meanwhile is completing the internationalization project, drawing from work done by the Canadian DMP Assistant team. We’ll share more details about their work once we roll it back into the main codebase.

Next month the UC Berkeley Web Services team will evaluate the current version of DMPonline to flag any accessibility issues that need to be addressed in the new system. We’ve also been consulting with Rachael Hu on UX strategy. We’re keeping track of requests for the new system and invite you to submit feedback via GitHub issues.

Stay tuned to GitHub and our blog channels for more documentation and regular progress updates.

The 20:51 sprint (Roadmap team-building: UK edition)

This week we hosted the DMPTool team to flesh out our plans for ‘roadmap’ – the joint codebase we’re building together based on DMPonline and DMPTool. The key focus was reviewing and prioritising tasks for an initial release. &n…

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.

Roadmap

  • 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
Improved…

Software Management Plan Service prototype live

Guest blog post by Mike Jackson, Software Architect at the Software Sustainability Institute. Reposted from the SSI blog.

 

Software management plans set down goals and processes that ensure software is accessible and reusable throughout a project and beyond. To complement our guide on Writing and using a software management plan we have now developed a prototype software management plan service, powered by the Digital Curation Centre‘s data management plan service, DMPonline

It is easy to concentrate on the short-term issues when developing scientific software. Deadlines for publications, collaboration with others and the demands of a daily routine all conspire to prevent proper planning. A software management plan can help to formalise a set of structures and goals that ensure research software is accessible and reusable in the short, medium and long term. It also helps researchers to consider whether third-party software to be used within a research project will be available, and supported, for the lifetime of the project. They can also give funders confidence that software they have funded survives beyond the funding period, that there is something to show for their investment.

In 2012 we wrote a guide on Writing and using a software management plan to take researchers through the questions they should consider when developing a software management plan. This was influenced by work by the Digital Curation Centre on data management plans.

Both our advisory board, and participants at our Collaborations Workshop 2012, suggested that we complement our guide with an online service. An online service could help researchers understand issues around research software, appreciate why software management plans are important and assist in the preparation of them.

Rather than create yet another service from scratch, we decided to practice what we preach and see if we could reuse an existing research output, DMPonline. DMPonline is the Digital Curation Centre’s data management plan service which helps researchers write data management plans. DMPonline is a Ruby on Rails application and the source is hosted on GitHub licenced under GNU Affero GPL.

We took DMPonline, and updated its form and content into a prototype software management plan service, which is now live. The source is on GitHub.

We hope the service will prompt discussion on:

  • What software management plans should contain.
  • What features a service like this should support, what questions it should ask, and what advice it should give.
  • Overlaps between software and data management plans.

If you have any suggestions then please get in touch. Likewise, we want to collect examples of software management plans that we can link to, so if you have one you are willing to share, please let us know.

We are working closely with the Digital Curation Centre, providing feedback on our experiences in customising DMPonline – DMPonline has been deployed at a number of institutions around the world and the Digital Curation Centre want to make this easier to do. We will also be discussing the overlaps between software and management plans, and whether these can be combined in some way, and, if so, how. And, we’ll be helping with the development of an API for DMPonline.

Both Marta Ribeiro of the Digital Curation Centre and myself will be at our Collaborations Workshop 2015 this week, giving lightning talks and a demo.