The management of research data is recognised as one of the most pressing challenges facing the higher education and research sectors. Research data generated by publicly-funded research is seen as a public good and should be available for verification and re-use. In recognition of this principle, all UK Research Councils require their grant holders to manage and retain their research data for re-use, unless there are specific and valid reasons not to do so. Research data can also be the subject of requests under Freedom of Information legislation or Environmental Information Regulations.

Managing Research Data Programme 2011-13

The management of research data is recognised as one of the most pressing challenges facing the higher education and research sectors. Research data generated by publicly-funded research is seen as a public good and should be available for verification and re-use. In recognition of this principle, all UK Research Councils require their grant holders to manage and retain their research data for re-use, unless there are specific and valid reasons not to do so. Research data can also be the subject of requests under Freedom of Information legislation or Environmental Information Regulations.  

Not all the drivers for improved management and sharing of research data are ‘top-down’, however. Researchers who have experienced the innovative and transforming potential of data intensive research through data re-use, recombination or meta-analysis, are also calling for data to be as open as possible.

Aims

JISC considers it a priority to promote and support good research data management and sharing for the benefit of UK Higher Education and Research. The Managing Research Data Programme builds on earlier work which developed a number of important tools, technologies and services, and improved the support available for the sector to develop the necessary skills and expertise in this area. (This earlier work demonstrated the benefits of improved research data management.) The next step is to broaden the implementation base of these innovations, as well as enhance both infrastructure and practice.

Working closely with the Digital Curation Centre and other stakeholders, the strand aims to improve the capability of the institutions taking part to manage their research data. Projects will generate a significant body of software, supporting systems, guidance and policies which may be used by other universities. We will also build on the work of the UMF Shared Services and Cloud programme to provide efficiencies by means of Software as a Service for research data management.

The Managing Research Data Programme will have the following components:
  • 17 large institutional projects will help universities pilot or further develop and extend infrastructures for research data management as part of an institutional mission to provide high quality support for research. They will also be developing institutional or departmental research data management policies and guidance materials. 
  • 8 projects are helping research groups, projects or departments fulfill disciplinary best practice and the requirements of research funders by implementing data management plans and supporting systems.
  • 2 projects are customising the Digital Curation Centre's online data management planning tool for institutional use.
These activities will be complemented by work:
  • to improve the practice of data citation and explore innovative ways of publishing research data;
  • to develop disciplinary focused training materials as well as training for other stakeholders, including discipline liaison librarians and research liaison officers.