Session 4

Session 4: Hands-on Practices for Research Data Management

Date: Wednesday 5th July – 14.30-16.00

Location: CEU 106

Chair: Liisi Lembinen, University of Tartu, Estonia

4.1: Teaching Data Stewardship: Insights from the Certificate Course “Data Steward” of the University of Vienna

Tereza Kalová,  Vienna University Library, Austria 

Data-driven research is growing exponentially. In order to support researchers with the sustainable management of their data, research institutions – libraries in particular – increasingly hire staff for an array of data-related roles. The position of data stewards has become prevalent in recent years – especially in Europe. Data stewards need specialized training in addition to their degree(s) in a scientific discipline. According to Barend Mons, 500,000 data stewards will need to be trained in the EU alone (1). Such options are increasingly being offered internationally and range from short training courses to whole master’s degrees. The first professional data stewards in Austria (such as at the Graz University of Technology) had to acquire their skills and knowledge on the job (2). In 2021, the Vienna University Library developed the first certificate course for data stewards in Austria, to support national and international efforts regarding open science education and training.

With regard to the tasks of data stewards – such as the support of researchers, knowledge transfer, research data management (RDM) training and requirements engineering (3) – as well as recommendations for data stewardship competences, the course includes various aspects of RDM and open science, as well as the basics of data science and programming. The course builds upon the most successful parts of the certificate course “Data Librarian” which was offered by the Vienna University Library together with three other Austrian libraries in the years 2018-2021 as well as similar programs from other countries. The course is practice-oriented and allows the participants to learn not only from national and international experts on data stewardship and RDM, but also benefit from transdisciplinary exchange amongst themselves. The part-time program is offered in a hybrid format as a way for RPOs to upskill current research support staff as well as offer an alternative career path for researchers. The first round started in October 2022 with 25 participants from ten countries and will finish in June 2023.

Research institutions worldwide are developing training courses to meet the growing demand to professionalize data stewardship education. As the first formalized further education program in Austria, this presentation on the certificate course “Data Steward” from the Vienna University Library is sure to spark discussion on the topic of data stewardship training and contribute to the global efforts regarding Open Science education. The lessons learned throughout the development and the first round of the course should serve as an example of possible collaborative efforts to implement high-quality certified data stewardship training on the national level.

4.2: Revisiting the roles and responsibilities of Research Data Management supporting units at Leiden University

Femmy Admiraal,  Leiden University Library, The Netherlands

Since its establishment, the Centre for Digital Scholarship (CDS) at Leiden University Library has been pioneering Open Science practices, focusing particularly on data management and open access publishing. Initially, the activities of the CDS were aimed at supporting researchers directly. However, Leiden University has recently attracted a considerable number of faculty-embedded data stewards. This paper reflects on the changes in stakeholders that this expansion of the RDM supporting units entails.

In 2015, an institution-wide program was launched at Leiden University to foster effective data management practices (Verhaar et al., 2017). One of the aims of the program was the implementation of the research data policy. To do so most effectively, active collaboration was sought with scholars in all the faculties, who were leading several pilots in their function as data management pioneers. Since then, the CDS has continued to support researchers and PhD candidates directly, through domain-specific trainings, helpdesk support, quick guides, et cetera. Nowadays, the activities of the CDS are integrated with a matrix of support services offered by the university. This matrix brings together existing support services throughout the research cycle, such as grant support and privacy and information security support, organized in thematic and disciplinary networks (Yeomans, 2019).

In the course of 2022, the composition of the network of stakeholders involved in RDM support changed significantly. On a national level, impulse funding was made available for universities to strengthen their research data management support activities. One of the outcomes of this was the arrival of embedded data stewards in each faculty. Although the dimension of their appointment, as well as the expected tasks, vary per faculty, all data stewards operate in close contact with the researchers and are considered the first line support for the faculty’s research community.

With this shift in stakeholders of the RDM support that the Centre for Digital Scholarship offers, a need for reorientation of the activities of the center arises. While the faculty-embedded data stewards take on some of the support activities by engaging directly with the researchers, the CDS as a central hub within the university library, is uniquely placed to take an analytic approach towards data management practices at the faculties and leverage that knowledge to improve the services on a university level.

In this paper, the authors reflect on this transition from first line support for researchers, to a 2nd line structure. We will present the ambitions that the CDS has, as well as the challenges that come with this process of change. The speakers will particularly highlight the community management activities that are currently being build, and argue how that corresponds with a broader take on changes in engagement with the library’s communities.

4.3: “Ateliers de la donnée”: How France is implementing its national network of labelled Research data management, support and training Clusters

Cécile Swiatek Cassafieres, University Library of Paris Nanterre, France

Since 2021, France has been implementing a proactive national policy to support research units and researchers in the formation and deposit of research datasets as part of its second national plan for open science and its ministerial roadmaps for algorithms, data and source codes. A presentation at LIBER 2022 of the national “Recherche data gouv” ecosystem of the French national repository and its related training and upskilling programme dedicated to researchers was successfully presented.

For LIBER 2023, we propose to focus on the “Ateliers de la donnée” / “Data Management Clusters” programme These DM Clusters, organised as a territorial network, contextualise and give substance to this concrete support for researchers. They aim first and foremost to acculturate researchers and research support staff to research data management and to integrate the issues of open dissemination of these data and the generalisation of these good practices in laboratories, in order to ensure the best opening and management of research data produced with public funding.

Libraries, a central and essential player in this support for the opening up and sharing of research data, are demonstrating the key role played by library services both in terms of the trust and reliability of the infrastructures used and as active trainers in the proper management and open dissemination of research results. As the “Ateliers de la donnée” / “Data Management Clusters” are a multi-level labelled scheme, the methodology used and the criteria put in place, as well as the design of national support and the creation of a collaborative dynamic at the level of the institutions labelled “Ateliers de la donnée” / “Data Management Clusters” or in the process of becoming so, are exemplary and deserve to be widely presented and shared.

This presentation firstly presents the eligibility criteria used, the method employed, the creation of a national network to promote practitioners and best practices in data management and training for researchers and librarians.

The presentation will then focus on the results obtained: firstly, the generalisation of the practice of depositing datasets and their public and open dissemination in trusted, secure and reliable repositories; secondly, the implementation of local training and support programmes for researchers; and thirdly, the generalisation of a culture of responding to calls for research projects, including the proper preparation, curation and publication of research datasets.

The objective of this paper is to propose to the participants of this LIBER 2023 session the keys to the trust established with research libraries on the subject of research data, to show how France has positioned libraries as a fundamental actor in this subject and to discover the French national and local methods and organisations in terms of training and support for laboratories and researchers in the good practices of managing their research data. We also aim at the possible reproducibility of these methods for and by participants who will be interested in building similar Data Management Clusters in the framework of a national policy.

53rd LIBER Annual Conference