Where are they now? An RDM update from Queen's University Belfast

28 April, 2014
Jonathan Greer

Although research data management is a relatively new field, it is evolving quickly which is creating uncertainty and placing increasing demands on institutions and researchers. Within this challenging context, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) has been working with the DCC over the last year to develop appropriate policies, guidance, process and infrastructure that will enable the University to adopt the highest standards in research data management and make publicly funded research accessible and freely available.

QUB is currently working to implement its Research Data Management Strategy (May 2012 - May 2015). While this strategy provides a framework for developing research data management in the University by outlining a roadmap for action, at each stage of development the DCC has been able to provide support, outline best practice in the field and generally act as a sounding board. This has helped steer QUB in the right direction and manage the uncertainties surrounding which research data management options to adopt.

In early 2014, QUB is prioritising the development of a research data management policy and associated guidance, the implementation of the DCC’s DMPonline data management planning tool and a feasibility assessment for establishing an ‘in-house’ research data management repository. The development of these tasks requires an institution-wide approach and involves staff from Research and Enterprise, Finance, the Library, and IT, as well as consultation with academic staff.

While the data management planning tool can be adopted from the DCC and the research policy framed to meet the requirements of the University, understanding the current and future needs of an ‘in-house’ research data management repository is particularly challenging. At this stage it is unclear how much research data academic staff will be storing on campus or in external subject repositories and what research data demands will be presented by future research projects, especially those which involve the collection and analysis of large volumes of data.  What is clear, however, is that research data management is becoming an increasingly important part of the research process and that this message is permeating across the organisation.

Further actions for development in the Research Data Management Strategy include, among other things, establishing the necessary infrastructure to enable research data management, embedding training on research data management into the University’s overall skills programme and appointing staff with responsibility for managing research data across the institution. Progress on these actions will be reported on in future blogs. In the meantime, I am looking forward to attending the DCC workshop in Glasgow on 8 May which is centred on helping HEIs to assess their readiness to comply with the EPSRC policy framework on research data. This will provide a good reflection (and hopefully not a loud wakeup call!) on progress to date.


Earlier RDM updates


An RDM update from the University of East London