Session 10

Session 10: Promoting RDM

Thursday 27th June 2019 – 9:45-11:15

Chair: Birgit Schmidt, Göttingen State and University Library, Göttingen, Germany

10.1 Closing the Skills Gap: Basics of Research Data Management Course – Case University of Turku

Jukka Tapio Rantasaari and Heli Kristiina Kokkinen, University of Turku, Finland


Current challenge for researchers at the University of Turku is that there is a substantial gap between the level of targeted and present research data management (RDM) skills. We examined the perceived RDM skills importance vs. competence of researchers through interviews. Based on the results we developed a three-credit RDM course for doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers.

We conducted thirty (30) two hour long interviews with doctoral students, supervisors and biostatisticians on the following topics:

  • Collected data and its life cycle in the project
  • Agreements and licences
  • Version management, backup and storing of data
  • Processing, analysing and visualising
  • Organizing, documenting, describing, quality management
  • Discovering and using external data
  • IPR rights management and data protection
  • Discipline specific cultures and practices
  • Preservation, reuse and sharing.

The interviewees’ average estimate of the importance of different stages of research data life cycle was 4.1 (very important) on Likert scale 1 to 5. An average estimate of the skills of doctoral students was 2.6 (have somewhat skills). So there is a substantial gap (4.1 vs. 2.6) between the level of targeted and present RDM skills. Targets for competencies have been set – besides by the interviewees themselves – by the Data Policy of the University of Turku, Finnish and EU level Open Science principles and research literature: many studies show that graduate students are not data fluent. That is contradictory, because high quality research requires high quality data. With good RDM skills you make less errors, use time more efficiently, produce well organized and documented data and thus make it possible to reuse, share and open data.

Based on the results of the interviews we created a module-based training, the Basics of RDM (BRDM), for doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers. The course was built by a working group consisting of university teachers, lawyers, library’s open science specialists, data protection officer, IT Services, biostatisticians, etc.

The three study programmes of BRDM are Health Sciences, Natural Sciences and Survey and Interview Studies. During the course, students will build a research plan and a data management plan for a research project. They will learn e.g.:

  • where and how to collect, store, protect, process, document, preserve and share data,
  • how to create a database for the data,
  • how to take account IPR issues, permits and licences,
  • how to create privacy notice and a risk analysis.

Each study programme has seven modules, of which three are mutual for all the three study programmes.

BRDM Course will be launched in March 2019 and it will include preliminary assignments and contact sessions.

In this presentation, we will discuss the conducted interviews and their key results. We will e.g. give a graphic that shows the main skills gaps. We will also tell the BRDM course planning and implementation, the student feedback, especially how have we managed to fill the skills gaps so far.

My name is Jukka Rantasaari. I work as a head of library services for researchers for University of Turku, Finland.  Services consist of metrics and evaluation services, open data and publication services and CRIS services. Before I came to Turku I worked as a chief information specialist in Lahti University of Applied Sciences. My key task were lead information specialists team serving students and teachers. I’m Master of Social Sciences and vocational teacher by training.

My name is Heli Kokkinen. I work as head of library services for learning in Turku University Library. My responsibility area covers information literacy, information services and customer services. Before joining University of Turku I worked in private sector, in a global company,  in various positions in information services, quality management and e-archiving.

10.2 Joint European Project to Enhance Collaboration: Promoting Research Data management and Open Science within technical fields

Katja Fält and Susanna Nykyri, Tampere University Library, Finland, Robert Strötgent, Technische Universität Braunschweig, University Library, Germany


Research data management and open science are among the most rapidly developing topics in science and research support services. Cross-country cooperation in these fields promise development of new research-supporting services and promote progress in the open science movement. In addition to more general services, field-specific services need equally to be customised. Researchers often operate in international cooperation, and therefore also the support services should not take place in organisational or national siloes.

In this paper we represent a shared project, which aims at finding concrete solutions for shared research support services in technical fields. The libraries of Tampere University (TaU) and Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUBS) started a seed-funded project in 2018 in order to develop services in the field of research data management and open science.

Objectives and Working Methods

Both libraries offer and develop research support services in the expanding field of research data and open science. Both are integrated in existing national and international cooperation. Also the European Open Science Cloud gives a strong European dimension to the field.

TaU and TUBS will evaluate the possibility to build joint nodes in the European field of research data management and open science. Close cooperation in the technical and organisational implementation of services and infrastructures shall result in improved and precisely-fitting services for researchers at both universities.

Furthermore, both libraries aim at:

  • encouraging mutual learning between specialists working within support services
  • providing research data management support together for the researchers working in shared TaU-TUB-projects

Working methods include workshops in Braunschweig and Tampere, exchange ideas and information, and develop e.g. training materials, via mail, video conferences, cloud storage, and contacting researchers of the shared research projects for providing services.

Expected impact on institutional cooperation and contribution to the institutional strategies

The cooperation will foster the development of services and infrastructures of both universities in the field of research data management and open science. The cooperation will extend the existing national and international networks and services of both universities and strengthen the operational environment of technical fields. The model and results can be adapted also to other fields.

First results

A first workshop in 2018 in Braunschweig opened the cooperation with a strong focus on mutual learning. Despite of the shared European dimension, there are also significant differences in the context for research data management in both countries. The reflection of the similarities and differences gives good ground for improving services.

Research projects funded by the seed fund give a good starting point for shared and collaborative services. A project in the field of public transportation is the first one for service development and evaluation. Other fields of concrete cooperation include, for example, the content of a self service portal for researchers.

The close integration of shared research projects allows a user centred service design. A second workshop in Tampere in spring 2019 will open the scene to a broader research data community in Finland.

Katja Fält currently works as an information specialist and a team leader of the Research Support Services team in Tampere University Library. She has a background in research and she completed her PhD in 2012 from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Fält has then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä and as a humanities research specialist at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. She started working at the library of the Tampere Technical University in 2018 (currently: Tampere University Library).

Fält’s field of expertise is in research data and research data management. She has a strong history in developing research support services in the context of open science. Fält is actively promoting interdisciplinary research and creating support services especially for research data management.

10.3 Towards a Community-Endorsed Data Steward Profession for Supporting Research

Mijke Jetten and Inge Slouwerhof, Radboud University Library, The Netherlands, Salome Scholtens and Marije van der Geest, UMCG, The Netherlands, Cecilia van Gelder, DTL, The Netherlands, Nelly Anbeek, Radboud UMC, The Netherlands, Mirjam Brullemans, UMCU, The Netherlands


Sufficient, high quality data steward expertise and capacity in projects and institutes is one of the necessities for FAIR data management (in for instance Life Sciences and personalised medicine research). In a Dutch ZonMw funded project of UMCG, UMCU, Radboudumc, Radboud University and DTL, supported by the relevant national stakeholders, we aim to make the data steward function practical, creating consensus on the function and required competences, and develop suited education. This function and competences definition will be based on an analysis of existing competency frameworks for data management and stewardship and recently published reports such as the EOSC pilot, EDISON, HANDS handbook, and the Purdue and DAMA competences; complemented with a review of over 40 published vacancies texts and experiences of persons working in the field of data stewardship.

The project that runs from August 2018 to August 2019 has already delivered a common function description based on the FAIR data principles and on knowledge, skills and competencies of a data steward that is broadly supported within the Dutch Life Sciences community, including research libraries. Coming months, the defined knowledge, skills and competences will be translated into concrete learning objectives, which in turn will be used to develop an education line and training materials for data stewards in for instance research libraries (including a design for an eLearning module). Sustainable implementation and alignment with existing education is ensured by close collaboration with Dutch initiatives such as the LCRDM, Data4lifesciences, the HANDS handbook, DTL and with universities (for applied sciences).

With this project we contribute to a professionalization of the data steward function within the Life Sciences domain so future Life Sciences research can be optimally supported. In our presentation we will show the first results of the project, most importantly the competency profiles and knowledge base for two levels of data stewards, that will form the basis for the next activities in the project. We expect it to be relevant for research libraries as well, since many research data management (RDM) support services include similar data stewardship functions.

Mijke Jetten (; is project manager Research Data Management Support and Open Science Support coordinator at Radboud University Library, the Netherlands.

Mijke (1978) has a leading role in organizing a service desk for research data management support at Radboud University, the Netherlands. As a result, the University Library guides researchers through all phases of the data life cycle. She also contributes to transforming the local CRIS into a one-stop-shop for researchers to archive research data and drafting data management plans as well.

Additionally, Mijke is data steward at one of Radboud University’s research institutes, the Institute of Management Research.

As a researcher, Mijke has completed her PhD on interreligious adult education between Christians and Muslims (2018).

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