Survey Results: How Ready are Research Institutions to Manage Research Data?

In February 2016 the LEARN project launched a survey addressed to any research institution willing to analyse its readiness to manage research data.

The survey’s 13 questions were based on issues outlined in the LERU Roadmap for Research Data. Each question had three possible answers, aligning with one of three possible situations:

  • an institution ready to manage research data (green)
  • an institution on the way (yellow)
  • and, finally, an institution that had not yet started (red).

Now, some 18 months after the survey was launched, the LEARN project has reached its end. So far we have received 373 valid answers. Two thirds of the respondents voluntarily provided their country or name of the research institution, and this shows that answers came from at least 42 countries from all over the world. Most answers came from Mexico, the United Kingdom, the USA, Spain and Colombia but there were also answers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and even one from India.

Although our main aim was to give research institutions a self-assessment tool to analyse their RDM readiness, the data also reveals some geographical patterns.

If we look at the answers coming from the UK, we see that institutions are quite far along the path to managing research data. This is likely due to the years of work on these issues, and the existence of institutional policies and funder requirements for the preservation and sharing of research data. In other European countries we see that institutions are working on developing policies, establishing new services and new roles, developing infrastructures or supporting existing ones, and arranging training sessions (mainly on demand).

The questions about costing models and selection of data stood out for the most ‘red’ answers, meaning that the institution was not yet ready to tackle that particular issue. We hope the case studies included in the LEARN Toolkit will help institutions to change this situation, and to analyse the costs of doing good research data management (as well as the costs of not doing it).

The survey data are available in Zenodo as a CSV file. The two previous sets, from June and December 2016, can also be downloaded.

LEARN aims to keep the survey available beyond the lifetime of the Project so that institutions can continue to use it, or even take the survey repeatedly. This offers the chance to compare different answers from the same institutions over time.

Finally we would like to invite any research institution that has been in touch with the LEARN project to take our final survey to measure the project’s impact.

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