Right now at Jisc we have a number of prototypes under way to test and develop new solutions for universities and colleges. These cover a range of areas, including library usage data and analytics; on-line collaboration tools; software sustainability; research information and research data.
Using data in different ways is critical to education and research, but it also has a use in informing important organisational and business decisions. It’s fair to say that data is fast becoming ‘king’ in the digital environment, from educational analytics to open government data, to linked data, to data produced through research that is then becoming a foundation for further data-driven research and much more.
I am part of the team who is developing the prototypes about the re-use of data, be it administrative data, research data, library data or usage data. So let me tell you a little bit about them…
Library Analytics and Metrics Project (LAMP)
Using data to inform decision making is of course a big buzz right now, often referred to as Big Data. Using different data sets, for example student records and library usage data and analysing these can show useful correlations and can be used for a variety of things including monitoring student retention rates or catching potential drops outs before it’s too late.
Our Library Analytics and Metrics Project (LAMP) plans to use data to support the development of new services, for example the personalisation of resources or student support, and allow libraries to understand their impact across the university. This includes how they support new research patterns or student attainment.
The project will develop a prototype service for libraries to try, probably a dashboard view of different data sources. Participants who helped us test and validated use cases, in the areas of demographics, collection management, disciplinary and student support, recently flagged the sort of data that could be relevant to the dashboard. Some examples are data from UCAS and the national student survey.
There is a real sense that LAMP could really be valuable to libraries and their users in the future.
Gateway 4 Higher Education (G4HE)
A rich source of data in today’s world is the Research Councils Gateway to Research. The Government has supported the Gateway as part of their strategy to ensure research gets to more audiences and therefore has the potential of greater impact. It brings together data from the seven research councils about the research they fund, the outcomes and outputs (e.g. research papers and patents) of research.
Our project, Gateway 4 Higher Education (G4HE) is all about the re-use of this data source for universities. The project will be building tools to exploit the Gateway to Research data so that universities can identify other universities with similar research activity and interests, therefore helping to build relevant collaborations. Another priority is benchmarking, for example a research manager would be able to see if they are performing at a similar level to others in terms of funding awards.
The project team includes Brunel University, the University of Cambridge, Cottage Labs, Evidence Base, the Research Councils and Jisc.
Keep in touch with the G4HE project.
Research data, its management and exploitation is seen as critical to universities, researchers and governments all around the world. Here in the UK many research funders expect that research data produced through their funding will be made available and accessible. This often offers benefits for the re-use of research data to inform new findings and knowledge.
Discovery of research data is quite a challenge, but making data accessible is key if it is to be exploited. In order to address this we, alongside the Digital Curation Centre, are developing a Research Data Registry. In essence this is a prototype of a research discovery service which will aim to uncover research data from across all of the UK’s universities. Work has already begun and software is being tested. Watch this space for further details. Our team will post more details about this within the next couple of months.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or thoughts on these prototypes.