Category: training

DMPonline training debrief

DMPonline training debrief


As a follow up to our DMPonline training last week, here is a summary of actions and requests for further inputs from you. Feel free to leave comments on the blog or share your views in the training Slack channel or direct to our helpdesk. We’ll prioritise work as a result. You can jump to the sections that most interest you with the links below


Conditional questions


This will be deployed to DMPonline on Wednesday 29th April between 9-11am BST. There is one small usability fix (#2476) we have included in the current release. Additions to delay email notifications (#2475) will come following the Rails v.5 upgrade. We will also add conditional questions to the template preview in that forthcoming sprint (#2487). 


We have added this to the user guide and released a video tutorial. The code also remains on the DMPonline-dev site which is our pre-production server. If you would like to trial things with colleagues there by all means do, but be aware that data is periodically overwritten and we frequently push new code there to perform User Acceptance Testing so changes will occur.


Two feature requests on conditional questions which we want to consult with you on are:


1. Adding as well as removing questions in response to a certain answers, 

The current conditional questions logic means that the most full template is loaded as standard, which may be off-putting for users. Admin users requested functionality to add a series of extra questions in response to an answer, not just remove them. If lots of additional questions are included though, users could get frustrated as they can’t see the full extent of what they will be asked and keep getting additions when they thought their DMP was nearly complete.


  • To what extent does the current functionality give you what you need? 
  • How high a priority is this feature to add, not just remove questions?

2. Adding custom email triggers depending on the departmental affiliation

Admins requested an extension to the conditional questions to adjust where email notifications are sent based on the department/school in question e.g. if a trigger is set for a large data volume, this should alert the data steward in the relevant department


  • Where should the user affiliation be derived from? The original DMP creator or person answering the question?
  • How many organisations would want to use this feature? 
  • Where does it rank in your order of priorities?

Department and School features

Two suggestions were made with respect to departments/schools which we would welcome your feedback on:


3.Allow users to have multiple departmental affiliations

Some of you were interested in users being able to have multiple affiliations. This is certainly feasible, but we would need to scope out the requirements more fully:

  • How many organisations would like multiple departmental / school affiliations 
  • Would all the contacts for every departmental affiliation be sent email notifications or requests for plan review, or would there be a primary affiliation?
  • How would these affiliations affect guidance displayed to the user?
  • What other expectations / needs do you have for this?

4. Add multiple DMP feedback email addresses, not just one generic one

Some of you were interested in being able to specify different email addresses depending on the school/department, as you have different data stewards who offer DMP feedback.The preference was for each organisation to be able to configure this themselves by School/Dept. 

  • How many organisations would like to set multiple email addresses rather than having one generic helpdesk email?
  • How and where would you like these email addresses to be displayed? On the user interface or just to be used when DMP feedback requests are emailed to admins?
  • Is this requirement covered by the planned extension of the plan review functionality?

Plan review functionality

Several aspects were also raised in regard to the DMP feedback process. We plan to extend this functionality so would like to check our current thinking with you:


5. Enhance the notifications table to support allocation and progress tracking

In the last DMPonline user group, you asked us to extend the notifications table that you see when DMPs are submitted for feedback. This will help you assign reviews across the team and track progress. We have suggested some potential columns and dropdowns but there may be other things to add e.g. date submitted, data checked by data manager. See #2365

  • To what extent do the extensions we have suggested meet your needs?
  • What dropdown status indicators are needed, if any?
  • How should the assignment work? All admins self-assign or have an ability to assign to others and notify by email?
  • Does the process of assigning DMP reviewers work (we would list all users with this privilege) or do you want separate email addresses and notifications based on the users’ school/dept affiliation?

6. Add an ‘export comments’ option on the DMP download page

As part of your plan review workflows, you sometimes want to see all the comments with the plan. It was proposed to add an option to let users download the DMP with comments, just as you can choose to include a cover page or not.

  • Is this a feature you would find useful?
  • Given that comments are sometimes discussions between researchers not just plan reviews, are we ok to expose comments?

7. Make some comments ‘sticky’ and unable to be deleted

Some comments are critical and shouldn’t be deleted. There are two aspects to this. Firstly, we think we should change the permissions so only the commenter can delete their comment. In addition we propose having a separate overall reviewer comment and set of actions that appears at a DMP-wide level, not per question. This allows you to give summary guidance and any critical actions e.g. to change the consent and data sharing plans as it breaches DPA. 

  • Is it correct to only allow users to delete their own comment?
  • Would an overall review comment field and ability to set actions be useful?
  • Could this feature remove the need to download comments? Or perhaps this review comment could be downloaded rather than all comments per question?
  • If a more formal review process and official institutional approval is needed, should this be tied to plan versioning (e.g. v.2 was reviewed and approved by the uni)

Other requests

There were several other comments which we have raised as actions:

  • We have raised a ticket to make the one-click plan creation link stable so it can be used elsewhere on your RDM support webpages (#2489)
  • We’ll add the plan ID to the coversheet on DMP download. This is a persistent URL within DMPonline so can be used as a stable reference in other systems (#2478)
  • We will update the progress bar so it doesn’t show anything when no questions have been completed ( #2480)
  • We will cache your csv download preference (comma- tab- or hash-separated) from the usage dashboard page and apply this to all downloads of users and plans (#2490)
  • We will fix the bug on sorting users by dept/school (#2491)
  • We’ll prioritise the XML download so you can make better use of DMP content (#2237)
  • Magdalena, Diana and Sarah will update funder templates. We’ll specifically look at Cancer Research UK, different calls for Swedish Research Council and the Future Leaders Fellows call. If there are others you want us to review, please let us know

Machine actionable DMP features

Our colleagues at the California Digital Library have been progressing some new features in our machine-actionable DMP work. The latest updates are available for trial on DMPonline-test. The test site does not have any of the custom, tenant branding. It’s where we trial new functionality for ongoing DMPRoadmap development and sign-off on it before we create a release and eventually deploy to DMPonline.


We encourage you to view and comment on the forthcoming features. They include:

  • An integration with the Research Organisation Registry so we are using persistent identifiers for organisations (#2339)
  • Adding project start and end dates to ‘Project details’ to conform with the RDA Common Standard for DMPs (#2409)
  • Adding a contributor tab so we can list and give credit for the different roles using the CRediT taxonomy (#2349)
  • An update to the API (#2390)

We anticipate changing some of the layouts and interface design around these features as you will see in the ticket comments. Your feedback will help us to define priorities on progressing this work and when we schedule deployment to DMPonline.


Future DMPonline training 

We were really pleased with how the training went and plan to do more. The length of the session was a little intense for us – and probably you too! As a result we plan to do shorter one-hour sessions focusing on a single feature. If there are topics you are particularly keen to see covered in this lockdown lessons series, please let us know.


Many of you had wanted to know more about the API so we’ll begin in late May with an introductory, walk-through demo where we go at a slow pace so we can all follow along in real time. We will also keep the DMPonline training slack channel open and use this for training events and possibly user groups so we can troubleshoot and talk through as you try out features.

Come learn with us, part 3

In week 3 we looked at Data Management Plans (DMPs), existing services, and asked you to reflect on example DMP services and advice. 
“I also agree with some comments that in most (not all) projects the DMP at inception cannot be as detailed as it needs to be because there are too many unknowns.  This would mean that part of the original DMP should be a commitment to appropriate updates at intervals during the project. It might be wise to date the updates in advance”. Lesley Mostert
We examined ways to develop your own DMP webpages, and got lots of great input from learners! We are glad to see that many of you are inspired to engage with your institutions on implementing similar practices. 
“I was impressed by LSE and Utrecht website on DMP. Both are very clear on their here, now and future aspects of the data”. Lucy N. 
“As many have already mentioned, what I really like about the University of Wisconsin-Madison page is that it really makes getting in touch with the Research Data Services a no brainer. There’s just enough info, and many incentives to contact them”. Eve Paquette-Bigras
“Our organisation doesn’t have a RDM support page. I would advise our organisation to make a website, that just for RDM (like Utrecht and Bath) and not a website where other library services (such as bookservices and information literacy courses) are offered, together with RDM. Researchers are the ones most visiting your website to get information, so make sure they can find the information they need easily by infrastructure and content (Bath). You can use open information from other universities as well (CC BY) on your website. Graphical appearance should be taken into account”. Ingrid van Gorkum
We also looked at ways to develop your own RDM training, and asked learners to share dos and don’ts from their experiences with running training sessions. Many of you have provided excellent ideas and feedback, and we are glad to see that the resources on the MOOC are useful. 
“To start with thank you for these resources. I love how MANTRA is so well structured and detailed. Lots of information to find and use. I also found the NECDMC good to use, the resources in their modules section are really good and i think i would easily work with them.”  Abel M’kulama

Come learn with us, part 2


Image: MOOC tutors. From left to right: Sarah Jones, Rene van Horik, Alexandra Delipalta, S. Venkat, Ellen Verbakel.
In the second week of the Delivering Research Data Management Services we focused on “Finding the gap” in yo…

Come learn with us!

Image: MOOC tutors. From left to right: Sarah Jones, Rene van Horik, Alexandra Delipalta, S. Venkat, Ellen Verbakel.
Just over a week in and we all continue to be overwhelmed by responses to our new MOOC* on Delivering Research Data Management Services. We have over 1400 learners from 116 countries and they have been very active in the discussion forum. Literally hundreds of comments and questions – and such insightful responses.
Ellen and Sarah moderated the first week of the MOOC and have been inspired to do more online teaching as a result. This week you have Rene, Sarah and Ellen answering your questions. In the first week we learnt about the basics of RDM services, the data lifecycle and making the case for support. Participants watched various videos and read case studies, then reflected on the priorities at their own institution. Forum comments show that participants found the inputs from people we interviewed useful:
I agree with Gavin that ‘well managed data leads to higher quality research’.
Dorothy Byatt
I liked the summary by Tanita Casci (Head of Research Policy at the University of Glasgow) of what good research is like: “Good research is research that is well-planned, well-executed, well-documented, and widely shared.” 
Philipp Conzett
Data Management Planning and data stewardship were key discussion points. Many funders and organisations worldwide are encouraging DMPs but there are concerns about ensuring requirements are realistic and support researchers’ practices. The data stewardship approach at Delft also raised a lot of discussion. People appreciated their emphasis on open science and found the model a great way to bridge between the various services available in the institutions, as well as between data services and research communities.
The discussion on the stakeholders provided us with lots of insights from the institutions you all work in. The overall conclusion was that there is often a lack of engagement from senior management. Many people wanted to raise awareness, especially amongst researchers. Services could also be unconnected across the institution so support staff wanted to join up provision to offer a coordinated set of RDM services.
We have a few learners from a research background too. Our course is aimed specifically at those delivering RDM services. Some lessons will be transferable to other contexts, but those wanting to learn how to manage and share data should check out parallel courses such as those noted below:
Our MOOC runs until 14th October and will run again later in the year or early 2020. Find out more at:
* A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. Our MOOC is available on the FutureLearn platform and is free to all.

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