Information Session on Research Data Management at UP

Posted on January 01, 2018

Since 2007 several developments have led to the establishment of Research Data Management (RDM) at UP. The Department of Library Services has taken the lead in these developments. To bring library staff up to speed, an information session was presented by Johann van Wyk and Isak van der Walt on 28 November 2017 in the Merensky 2 auditorium.

During this session, an overview was given on the chronological development of RDM at the University of Pretoaria (UP). The presentation revealed the following:

  • UP was the first university in South Africa to formulate an RDM policy in 2017;
  • A survey of RDM practices at UP was run from October 2009 to March 2010, which was done among UP researchers, and a second survey in 2013 which focused on Essential Research Data that UP should manage, conducted among the Deputy Deans: Research of all faculties;
  • In 2013-2014 the Department of Library Services also conducted five pilot projects using Alfresco to gain an understanding of researchers’ RDM needs;
  • In 2014 a high-level report was compiled for the UP Executive about national and international developments in RDM, which included results of the 2013 survey as well as recommendations
  • The RDM Team in the library has also been extensively involved in the Network of Data and Information Curation Communities (NeDICC);
  • The RDM Team in the library also conducted a range of RDM related in-house workshops geared for library staff and researchers;
  • The Library RDM team together with Department of Information Technology Services investigated Research Data Repository Software Solutions over a six-month period and a report with recommendations was presented to the UP Executive in March 2017. A second round of investigations was launched at the end of November 2017 to look at Open Source Solutions, which should be completed by end of 2018;
  • The new revised UP RDM policy was approved by Senate in September 2017, and should be released to the UP community early in 2018.

The second part of the presentation focused on the new UP RDM policy and the impact it will have on the Department of Library Services’ staff. The importance of preparing staff through upcoming training opportunities was also emphasized.

Isak van der Walt elaborated on the upcoming training opportunities for staff by giving an overview of an RDM Readiness Training Toolkit that will be presented to staff as one of the services of the Digital Scholarship Centre. This Toolkit will initially consist of two legs: RDM Fundamentals and RDM Essentials, with a third leg that will be added later, consisting of more specialist training. It was mentioned that the first leg will be geared for all library staff, and will include a session on what RDM is and a second session will give clarity on the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders as mentioned in the new UP RDM Policy. It was also mentioned that the RDM Essentials leg will focus more on information specialists and the library technical services staff, and will include sessions on data management plans, data citation, metadata standards for data, data repositories and data curation and preservation.

The session was concluded with questions from staff and a discussion on the way forward.

- Author Isak van der Walt

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