Research Data Management (RDM) is an emerging field with a currently
complex landscape. This can be both bewildering and off-putting for many
smaller institutions, often resulting in a decision to delay action until
something ‘better’, ‘easier’ or ‘cheaper’ comes along. This is despite
strong directives from funding bodies [1] to make research data accessible
over the long-term and the benefits [2][3] of doing so. But for many
institutions, whilst the drivers might be there, the pain of trying to set
up and run a research data management infrastructure is simply too high.

This is no surprise! There are many challenges to address which range
from training and awareness of good RDM practice, how to create and
provide a supporting RDM infrastructure, and how to justify and recover
the costs needed to set-up and run RDM, especially when the costs can be
‘now’ but the benefits are often seen as ‘later’. These challenges are
not unconnected and in turn so is the solution. A RDM infrastructure that
is easy to use and provides immediate benefit to researchers will motivate
take-up and spread the word. In turn this means benefits are magnified
through scale and impact that comes through critical mass. And with
benefits accruing quickly and in a measurable way, e.g. through more
research collaborations or increased research reputation and visibility,
then the business case is easier to make and can be proven through pilots
and test cases rather than an ‘all or nothing’ investment.

Sounds good? Well, this is exactly what we are trying to do in the CREST
RDMS project. The concept is simple. Provide research data management
infrastructure as a hosted service to institutions and do so in a way that
is easy to use, low cost, and most importantly designed explicitly to be
attractive to researchers.

We won’t get there overnight and there’s a lot of work to do to make this
happen. We are extremely grateful to Jisc for initial funding to help get
this off the ground. But we will need that support to continue. Jisc
need to know if you believe in what the project is trying to do.

Jisc is currently asking UK HE institutions to input into our Cloud
Services and Research Services and Systems Survey. To use the words of

“The cloud services part of the survey aims to gather information to
inform new shared services for the HE & FE/Skills sectors, shared
procurement, and connectivity. This part of the survey has been directly
commissioned by the Jisc Technology consultative forum.

The Research Systems and Services part of the survey is a response to
requirements for shared repository, archiving and preservation services
that were raised during our Research at Risk Co-design challenge

The survey covers six areas:

– Active research data storage and archival and preservation storage for
research data
– Archival and preservation solutions
– Current research information systems (CRIS)
– Institutional repositories
– Research data catalogue or registries
– Research software

There’s plenty of overlap with what we’re trying to do. If you think we
are on the right track and want to see the work go further then please
complete the survey and have your voice heard. And if you think there are
other important things for Jisc to focus on, then make sure you get your
word in for them too.

Click to access the SURVEY

Closing date: 22 May
[1] DCC overview of funding body expectations on data management.
[2] Open Research Data. Report to the Australian National Data Service
[3] The Value and Impact of Data Sharing and Curation. Jisc report,