Are institutions ready for research data management? First results from our survey

In February 2016 the LEARN Project launched a survey for research institutions particularly, but not exclusively, in Europe and Latin America to:

a) use as a tool to assess their own readiness in relation to research data management (RDM), and

b) help the Project to build a general picture of the state of play in this area.

The survey is based on the issues posed to institutions by the LERU Roadmap for Research Data published in 2013.

The survey reviews the estart-1414148_1280xistence of a policy and/or the establishment of services to help researchers in the management of their data. It also questions the existence of infrastructures and models of cost. Moreover, the survey points towards the need for the creation of new RDM-related roles, and the organisation of training sessions in order to build awareness and to steward researchers with their data.

All those issues are summarized in thirteen questions, each of which has three possible responses. This simple multiple choice approach tries to map to three broad potential situations: an institution ready to manage research data, an institution on the way to doing this, and finally, an institution that has not yet started the process.

Although it was created as a self-assessment tool, the LEARN Project has gathered some initial data based on survey completions so far that it would like to share out of interest. Data will be published twice a year in Zenodo under a CC0 license. Now the answers received up until June 2016 are available at

Thanks to the three non-mandatory questions at the start of the survey (the name of the institution, the country of origin and the role within the institution of the person who completes the questionnaire) we have identified different situations according to geographical areas. We have carried out a brief analysis of this first results that we will publish soon in our website. Nevertheless we would like to share some headline findings here:

In this interim period we received a total of 118 valid answers from 24 different countries. Looking at the first question: “Has your institution a policy on research data?” we find 37 positive responses, 25 of which are concentrated in a single country, the United Kingdom. This result shows us how some countries are ahead in managing research data. For instance, the second country in number of answers, Spain, has not any institution with a policy.

If we look at all the answers without taking note of their provenance, we can find that several institutions have created services and Helpdesks to help researchers in their data management. On the other hand we see that only a minority of responding institutions have carried out an analysis of costs and there is a lot to do regarding training.

These are the first results we have so far but we expect to receive more soon. The survey will traffic-lights-icon-psd-psdgraphics-Ngalj1-clipartcontinue to be available online throughout the lifetime of the LEARN Project (i.e. until June 2017) in order that it can be taken as many times as wished, and thereby it will offer the chance to collect trend data based on different answers from the same institutions over time. All the data will be processed in order to record the different situations.

We therefore continue to invite individuals from any research institution to take our survey at (in English) or at (in Spanish)…..and thank you in advance for your participation.

PhD in Physics Head of the Research Unit and the Office for the Dissemination of Knowledge at the CRAI of the University of Barcelona Public Leader of Creative Commons in Spain

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