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Keeping research data working

What can we do to ensure that the practice and methods of scientific research are rigorous and the outputs robust and reproducible?

Terry Clark, research fellow in performance science, Royal College of Music and one of Jisc's data champions, says:

“The Royal College of Music is a relatively small institution so we don’t have a massive research data management department. We have a research data management person. So we look to Jisc for assistance and guidance and that’s been invaluable.

"Most researchers’ time is spent collecting data, researching it and writing it up and it’s only recently that we’ve been thinking about the data that we have and how we preserve it in some useful sense that spans beyond the length of the project. What we’re finding is that there is not necessarily the understanding or the knowledge on the part of the researchers about how to set up datasets in a useful, preservable fashion.

"We also need the infrastructure. The Royal College of Music is one of the Jisc open research hub service pilots so we’re looking at all different mechanisms via which we can be preserving data.”

Marcus Munafò, professor of biological psychology, University of Bristol, adds:

“Jisc’s open research hub service will make it easier for researchers and research managers to showcase open data. If data is findable and reusable, then we are one step closer to being able to assess the reproducibility of research and reassess the value of research outputs.

"People choose careers in science to have impact, improve lives, and to tackle some of the major challenges of our times. As a community, we need to make sure that the methods we ask early career researchers to adopt will open doors for both them and their research. Reproducibility is central to making this a reality and to creating a sustainable research economy as we exit Europe.”