IDCC13 Preview: Anthony Beitz

18 November, 2012

The 8th International Digital Curation Conference is just around the corner and we are anticipating great discussions about data science when our international audience gather in Amsterdam in January 2013.

In the second of our series of preview posts, Anthony Beitz from Monash eResearch Centre, gives us his insights into some of the current issues... 

Your presentation will focus on Infrastructure.  Are there any specific messages would you like people to take away from your talk?

  • When deploying Research Data Management (RDM) infrastructure ensure fit-for purpose, promote good adoption, and ensure sustainability.
  • Research institutions will need to engage a number of RDM platforms to accommodate their researchers, a single generic platform will not suffice.
  • Adopt/Adapt/Develop - if a research community already has a specific RDM platform and it meets the needs of your researchers from that community, then adopt it. Develop a new RDM platform only as a last resort.
  • Be strategic, don't just follow the trend.
  • No research institution can do it alone, we need to work together.

We address three areas in our call this year - Infrastructure, Intelligence and Innovation. What do you see as the most pressing challenges across these?

I believe that the main challenges are:

  • Cultural change
  • Funding
  • Sustainability

Providing a technical solution is the easy part, the accompanying cultural change is a bit more difficult.  Challenges within cultural change include:

  • How do we facilitate the adoption of new research data systems by researchers?
  • How do University IT departments support discipline-focused bespoke systems, when they are very accustomed to supporting University-wide enterprise systems?
  • How do we encourage researchers to publicly share their research data?

With Research Data Management still in its infancy, there are still many new research data systems that need to be adopted/adapted/developed, deployed, and supported. How will these activities be funded now and into the future?

Sustainability covers a variety of topics, including some already mentioned. Challenges in sustaining a research data system include:

  • How is its ongoing support funded and who looks after it?
  • How do we keep it relevant and beneficial, and the community engaged with it?
  • How do we ensure the accessibility of hosted research data for well into the future?

And in terms of opportunities, do you see potential in data science as a new discipline?

I believe that it is well on its way to becoming one.

The conference theme recognises that the term ‘data’ can be applied to all manner of content. Do you also apply such a broad definition or are you less convinced that all data are equal?

Monash University supports a broad definition for research data, as evident in the University's RDM Policy (given below).

Research Data - Monash University’s Research Data Management Policy and associated procedures defines research data as the data, records, files or other evidence, irrespective of their content or form (e.g. in print, digital, physical or other forms), that comprise a research project’s observations, findings or outcomes, including primary materials and analysed data.

You’ll undoubtedly have looked at the programme in preparation for IDCC. Which speakers / sessions are you most looking forward to?

I'm interested in getting an updated perspective of RDM in the UK and Australia, so, I'm looking forward to attending the presentations by Simon Hodson, Graham Pryor, and David Groenewegen.

The University of Bath was the first UK University to develop an institutional RDM strategy, so, I'm also looking forward to attending Cathy Pink's presentation, in order to learn how Bath is progressing in the implementation of its strategy.

  • Simon Hodson - "Institutional research data management services: progress and challenges in the JISC Managing Research Data Programme"
  • Graham Pryor - "A Maturing Process of Engagement: raising data capabilities in UK higher education"
  • David Groenewegen - "Data Management Practice in Australia - the ANDS perspective"

  • Cathy Pink - "Meeting the Data Management Compliance Challenge: Funder Expectations and Institutional Reality"


Anthony's presentation entitled Growing an Institution’s Research Data Management Capability through Strategic Investments in Infrastructure is on Day 1 of the conference, 15 January. Draft programme is available.

If you have not already done so, you can still book your place

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