New system for managing research data on its way
Hi there, Johan Dixelius, research adviser at UU Research Support where we are working to create a university-wide system for managing research data: What does this new system mean for the University’s researchers?
"The hope is that the system will make things easier for University researchers to understand how to manage their research data in accordance with current requirements. At the moment, we lack a comprehensive system of policies, guidelines, specific technical solutions, training and staff to support research. There are some local technical solutions around the University, however the volume of digital research data is increasing dramatically and requirements for long-term and economic solutions are becoming clearer."
"GDPR involves changing the way sensitive data is managed. In addition, there are possibilities and requirements for various forms of data sharing, including open access where possible. This means that data management has a different value for researchers with new career-development opportunities, better transparency and the possibility of quality control, as well as increased chances for collaboration and benefits. Research data is also considered a matter of public record, meaning that government agencies such as universities must follow the Swedish Archives Act."
"So the aim is a new system that makes more efficient use of the researchers work, both in the university world and society in general. Up until now, our solutions have met few of these requirements and have not had university guidelines for support. The University remains without a policy for how to do this, but one will be created as part of the project that will begin soon. The project is not an IT project, rather a project that involves creating comprehensive conditions for researchers to be able to manage their data easily whilst simultaneously meeting requirements. The Council for Research Infrastructure will be the project’s steering group."
"Discussions regarding storage solutions for various needs are also taking place at local and national levels. UU will soon present the Allvis system for our researchers’ basic needs and the project will also provide information about additional storage facilities."
How will the University’s researchers be able to find information and support for their work with research data?
"Researchers who may be slightly unfamiliar with this procedure will be able to visit a UU-wide portal containing information, guidelines and access to existing internal and external data management systems. As several different systems exist for different research areas, you will receive help to find your way towards niched data management systems. In turn, these systems contain their own solutions for storing and processing data both nationally and internationally."
"So “the system” is more of an umbrella-term for a collation of several components. And this umbrella is not limited to technical systems at Uppsala University, it depends entirely upon the type of research. I believe that the majority of researchers produce their data locally at the University. Nevertheless, large volumes of research data are created elsewhere, such as CERN and MAX IV and researchers from other areas are already using national and international systems."
Will training in management of research data be given?
"There will be a general need for training efforts for researchers and the people who work to support research of course, such as research secretaries. We must also bear in mind that many researchers have extensive knowledge of the area, whilst others are not quite there yet. For financiers at EU level and those such as Formas, Forte, a data management plan is a requirement for submitting an application. The Swedish Research Council has stated that a data management plan will be requested for all projects granted from 2019 onwards. And for some research data that includes links to CERN, for example, the researcher must also abide by their rules. Therefore, the University will offer a comprehensive function for support, education and more."
How does this comprehensive system relate to Allvis, an IT solution for basic data approved and financed by the Vice-Chancellor?
"Allvis is an IT system that will be a technical component in the overall system. The main intention for the Allvis system is for it to work for data produced locally at the University, data that neither is very comprehensive, nor does require advanced processing. So far, only a handful of users have been invited to the system, all of whom previously participated in a pilot project. In the future, the majority of the University’s researchers should be able to solve their basic data storage needs via Allvis. Nevertheless, there will still be a need to other internal and external IT systems as a supplement to Allvis."
What is the schedule for the University-wide system?
"The project starting now will last for three years, but it may take a few more years until we reach the level were we need to be. We will start by creating an online portal in a limited version that we will gradually fill with content."
As of spring 2019, all who receive grants from the Swedish Research Council must have a data management plan. The plan need not be submitted with the application, but the plan must be in place when the project is started and be maintained throughout the project.