What is research data management all about?
Oxford researchers generate huge volumes of data every day. Its accuracy and continued availability are key to producing Oxford’s world-class publications, and to demonstrating that our research is done reproducibly and well. Research funders are increasingly requiring that the data underpinning publications should be made available openly; some now even ask that any software written to process the research data should also be shared openly.
While nearly everyone agrees that this kind of open, reproducible research is a good thing, there’s no denying that it does generate more work for researchers and those that support them: data storage systems must be secure and reliable, data must be documented to aid reuse and preservation, plans to achieve these aims need to be written in order to secure funding. At Oxford, in accordance with our devolved model, this work happens as a collaboration between departments, colleges, divisions and the centre, and in the main this approach has worked well so far.
So, can we manage data better in future?
To be sure that we are ready for the challenges of the future – where the quantity of data we generate is certain to ramp up considerably – Oxford’s Research IT Board has sponsored a review of our current research data management arrangements. This review will be carried out by external consultants from Research Consulting and Charles Beagrie. During 2020, they will be examining how we work here at Oxford, talking to support staff and researchers, and ultimately delivering a report on how we should tackle the challenges of the future.
If you would like to feed into the work of the review, have any questions about it, or want advice on managing your research data, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.