Managing research data has become one the contemporary challenges for research institutions. More and more funders and publishers are asking researchers to share the data they gather, compile or create during the course of their research. However it is not simply an issue of sharing or publishing as the matter goes further than that. Research institutions need to provide support for the complete research cycle, and therefore they also need to analyse what researchers require to manage their data from creation or compilation to archive and preservation.
One of the aims of the LEARN Project is to create a toolkit to help research institutions to develop their strategy on managing research data. However before making a start on the toolkit, it is worth taking a look at the current situation. To perform this initial analysis, the LEARN Project has compiled a survey as a self-assessment tool based on the issues posed to institutions by the LERU Roadmap for Research Data (published at the end of 2013).
The survey has thirteen questions addressing the main elements to be taken into account when developing an institutional strategy for research data management. Each of those thirteen questions has three possible answers in accordance with three possible situations:
- an institution ready to manage research data,
- an institution on the way,
- and, finally, an institution that has not yet started.
This is the reason why the online survey is called “Is your institution ready for managing research data?” The three possible responses to each question can be seen as representing green, yellow or red lights. The more ‘green light’ responses recorded, the readier an institution probably is for managing its research data.
The survey reviews the existence 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 remarks on the need for the creation of new roles and the organization of training sessions in order to build awareness and to steward researchers with their data.
The survey will be available throughout the lifetime of the LEARN Project in order that it can be taken as many times as wished, and thereby it can offer the chance to compare different answers from the same institutions over time. All the data will be processed in order to record the different situations. The survey has three starting questions which are non-mandatory but that can be very useful to contextualise the different responses. Those three questions are the name of the institution, the country of origin and the role within the institution of the person who completes the questionnaire. Those three answers will help the LEARN Project to acquire a better picture of the different situations according to geographical areas and to see changes among different surveys undertaken by the same institution over time. Survey data will be released anonymously on our website under an open content license encouraging anyone to reuse it.
We therefore invite any research institution to take our survey and thank you in advance for your participation.
The survey is available online in English (http://goo.gl/forms/m6PGJ34tGr) and in Spanish (http://goo.gl/forms/82jRuZrOSW), under the title ¿Listos para gestionar datos de investigación? This version is especially addressed to Latin-American countries.