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Science and Innovation: ESDS Impact study is 1 of 3 Stand-Out Studies Internationally

Our ESDS Impact Study was selected in a recent BIS report as one of just three studies internationally considered to “stand out as being particularly good examples of good practice in the measurement of economic impacts”.

In case readers haven’t seen it (or like us have a large “to read pile”), we are flagging up the “Big Science and Innovation” report undertaken for the UK Government Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) that was published in October last year (Technopolis 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/big-science-and-innovation–2 ).

The report presents the findings of a study to explore the impact of large research facilities on innovation and the economy. It is a reference document, providing advice about approaches to the evaluation of innovation outcomes alongside a review and bibliography of around 100 past evaluations internationally.

The report mentions our impact study of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) for the ESRC on pages 31-32, 36, 37 and appendix E on p87. They discuss our strengths and weaknesses on p91 (note our Archaeology Data Service and British Atmospheric Data Centre impact studies were underway but had not reported when this report was being written). They noted the element of the counter factual in our approaches (the only study they found to do so), but do not really mention that we did address the issue of representativeness through weighting the results, and had innovation impacts (highly and implicitly) in the return on investment model.

They identified 18 published reports that had measured the economic benefits made possible by specific research infrastructures, and which they considered to be of sufficient quality to be instructive to BIS and colleagues. John and I were very pleased to be selected and highlighted to BIS as one of just three studies which they considered to stand out as being particularly good examples of good practice in the measurement of economic impacts from all the international studies they reviewed. The three good practice studies were:

  • The economic impact study for the Berkeley Lab (by CBRE Consulting, 2010)
  • The study of the economic impact of the Human Genome Project (by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, 2011)
  • The economic impact evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service (carried out by Charles Beagrie Ltd and The Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) University of Victoria, 2012)

On completion of the ESDS, ADS and BADC impact studies, we authored a synthesis to summarise and reflect on the combined findings. This was published by Jisc earlier this year see The Value and Impact of Data Sharing and Curation: A synthesis of three recent studies of UK research data centres. If you are interested in our ESDS impact study and the methods, issues, and findings, we would recommend the synthesis for a short overview and summary of our work. Alternatively, the full report of the ESDS study is available from the ESRC website.

Neil Beagrie and John Houghton

Digital Preservation Technology Watch Reports pass 72,000 Downloads

Last month the new series of Digital Preservation Coalition Technology Watch Reports passed the 72,000 downloads mark: these are downloads by real users excluding robots etc.

The new series was launched publicly in February 2012 with Preserving Email by Chris Prom and there are now 8 titles published since that date. All have proved very popular: Preserving Email still heads the group with over 20,000 downloads (but has been available for longest), followed by Preserving Moving Picture and Sound with over 12,000, and Digital Forensics and Preservation with over 11,000.

The new series was chosen by the Library of Congress as one of its Top 10 Digital Preservation Developments of 2012.

The reports are published by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd as editors and Neil Beagrie as Principal Investigator and managing editor of the series. The series is intended as an advanced introduction to specific issues for those charged with establishing or running services for long term access.  They identify and track developments in IT, standards and tools which are critical to digital preservation activities. All are released as peer-reviewed open-access publications after a preview period of exclusive access to DPC members.

The DPC Technology Watch Report Series publications are freely available online from the DPC website at: http://www.dpconline.org/advice/technology-watch-reports

Trending: The Value and Impact of Data Sharing and Curation

A colleague has pointed out that our synthesis report for Jisc on the Value and Impact of Data Sharing and Curation has had over 3,900 downloads since April 2014. You can see the stats and access the report here on the Jisc Repository.

It is great to see that there is a very high level of interest in the topic and report. I’m not sure how that figure compares, but if you have done work for Jisc you should now be able to search or browse the Jisc repository and see the download stats for your own work. Potentially, access to the Jisc repository stats is going to be very useful for those involved in REF or needing to demonstrate their  impact to their institutions and other stakeholders.

Public release of new ‘Preserving eBooks’ Technology Watch Report

We are pleased to announce the publication of Preserving eBooks, the latest in the series of Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) Technology Watch Reports. Written by Portico’s Amy Kirchhoff and Sheila Morrissey, and published in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd as managing editors, the report discusses the current developments and issues with which public, national and higher education libraries, publishers, aggregators and preservation institutions must contend to ensure long-term access to eBook content.

Archive Services Product Manager for Portico in the USA, Amy explains that “an increasingly ‘digital native’ population with new expectations such as efficient automated search, retrieval and re-use of information, as well as cost pressures on the production and storage of new publications, have made the eBook as a mode of publication a fact on the ground for the foreseeable future.”

With this in mind, the report examines legal questions about the use, re-use, sharing and preservation of eBook objects; format issues, including the sometimes tight coupling of eBook content with particular hardware platforms; the embedding of digital rights management artefacts in eBook files to restrict access to them; and the diverse business ecosystem of eBook publication, with its associated complexities of communities of use and, ultimately, expectations for preservation.

Sheila adds that “while large-scale digitization of print books has created valuable and widely used digital surrogates for those books that are being put to uses impossible with print books, it has also introduced certain quality assurances issues, and has also embroiled institutions in legal entanglements arising from both the eBook’s similarity to, and difference from, its print source.”

Collections Management Officer at the University of North Carolina, Luke Swindler, admires the way the report “sketches the salient issues at levels and in terms that its varied audiences can understand,” and goes on to observe that “a major strength of the report is the recognition of and close attention to the coupling of e-book content with its corresponding software (including intellectual property and digital rights management restrictions) and the hardware/platform envelope.”

While Preserving eBooks will be well received by libraries, scholars and publishers, the report also includes generic lessons in this field of interest for the wider digital preservation community, covering relevant legal, economic and service issues.

You can read Amy Kirchhoff and Sheila Morrissey’s report Preserving eBooks by downloading it from the DPC website here.

Invitation to comment: New Edition of Digital Preservation Handbook

We are scoping and planning for a new edition of the online Digital Preservation Handbook and would be very grateful if you could contribute your needs and views to this work.

The Digital Preservation Handbook, written by Neil Beagrie and Maggie Jones, is hosted by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), which makes the Handbook freely available as an online resource. The Handbook provides an internationally authoritative and practical online guide that is heavily used for continuous professional development, for university students, and for training in digital preservation.

The National Archives is working together with other stakeholders including Jisc and the British Library, to support the Digital Preservation Coalition in updating and revamping the Handbook. It is anticipated that its revision will be modular and undertaken over a two year period. We request your input via a short online survey.

There are a maximum of 13 questions in total and the survey should take around 10 minutes of your time to complete.

The online questionnaire is accessible at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DPHandbook and the survey will close on Wednesday 16th June.

Thank you in advance for your participation. Your input will make a significant contribution to the scoping of this important online resource and the scheduling of modules for publication.

William Kilbride (Executive Director, Digital Preservation Coalition)

Neil Beagrie (lead author and editor)

New Publications: TNA Guidance and Case Studies on Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation

We are pleased to announce that The National Archives (TNA) has published our new guidance on Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation, with five accompanying case studies.

The Guidance and case studies have been created for TNA to address questions archivists have raised about digital preservation and cloud storage. The guidance is written by a Charles Beagrie team comprising of Neil Beagrie, Paul Miller, and Andrew Charlesworth.

The Guidance is now available to download here.

Of particular interest to many archivists will be the experience of our case studies, which are available as separate PDFs from the url above. These are as follows: Dorset History Centre, Parliamentary Archives, Tate Gallery, University of Oxford, and the Archives and Records Council Wales Digital Preservation Consortium.

To accompany the publication of the Guidance, we held a webinar for archivists on digital preservation and the cloud on 13May 2014, the recording of which will be accessible soon on TNA’s website. A further announcement will be made when that is available.

New ‘Preserving eBooks’ Technology Watch Report released to DPC members

Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are delighted to announce the release of a preview version to DPC members of “Preserving eBooks”, the latest in the series of DPC Technology Watch Reports.

Written by Amy Kirchhoff and Sheila Morrissey of Portico and published by the DPC in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd, this report discusses current developments and issues with which libraries, publishers, aggregators, and preservation institutions must contend to ensure long-term access to eBook content. These issues include legal questions about the use, reuse, sharing and preservation of eBook objects; format issues, including the sometimes tight coupling of eBook content with particular hardware platforms; the embedding of digital rights management artefacts in eBook files to restrict access to them; and the diverse business ecosystem of eBook publication, with its associated complexities of communities of use and, ultimately, expectations for preservation.

‘There are some serious preservation risks associated with the formats in which eBooks are created, explained the authors.  ‘This is particularly true for proprietary formats, and those tied to a commercial vendor’s hardware platform or distribution system.’

Although the report stands up on its own, it has strong connections to other reports in the series especially Preserving eJournals and Web Archiving, which were published last year.  In that sense it’s the third volume of an informal ‘Preserving e-Publications’ trilogy.

The report is available to DPC members now on the DPC website (login required) and will be released to the wider public in late June.

Work starting on a New Edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook

We are delighted to announce that The National Archives is working with the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), Charles Beagrie Ltd, Jisc and the British Library to update and revamp a key online resource for managing digital resources over time, the online edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook.

The Handbook authored by Neil Beagrie and Maggie Jones, was first published in 2001 in a print edition by the British Library with support from Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries (whose functions have subsequently transferred to The National Archives and the Arts Council)and Jisc. The online edition was launched in 2002 on the Digital Preservation Coalition website. It remains heavily used by archivists and other information professionals.

The National Archives and the Digital Preservation Coalition and ourselves will work with expert partners over the next two years to develop the new look Handbook as an interactive online resource.

‘I’m delighted to be working with The National Archives on this important project’, said William Kilbride of the DPC.  The original handbook remains very popular so we have been loathed to take it down, but we’ve been aware for a while that it was becoming increasingly out of date.  Our experience shows that there is a real demand for concise and practical advice on preservation so I am confident that this new edition will be immediately popular’.

The project to deliver the resource is a joint venture between The National Archives, the DPC and Neil Beagrie (Charles Beagrie Ltd), one of the original authors of the report, with further contributions from Jisc which was one of the initial co-funders and the British Library who published the original handbook.

‘I’m looking forward to starting this important revision’, said Neil Beagrie.  ‘It’s not just a few updates to the text: we will be basing the new handbook on an extensive process of consultation to make sure that the new edition measures up to people’s real and emerging need and, to make sure that it highlights good practice.  We aim to make sure it binds together other sources of advice (including the many excellent reports in the DPC Technology Watch series) and that it provides authoritative and concise advice for topics that are not supported by other resources.’

The online element will ensure the Handbook can be easily updated over time, incorporating case studies and a view from current practitioners to ensure it is relevant to a wide audience, from beginners to those with more specialist needs. We hope the Handbook will help individuals from a wide range of organisations adopt a step-by-step approach to addressing their digital resource management needs.

Coming soon: May publication and webinar dates for TNA Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation Guidance

 

We are pleased to announce that our recent work on the TNA Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation Guidance and five accompanying case studies will be published and released on the TNA website next week.

To accompany the release of the Guidance, TNA will be hosting a free webinar with the authors (Neil Beagrie, Andrew Charlesworth, and Paul Miller) and Emma Markiewicz from TNA between 12.30-13.30pm on Tuesday 13th May.

The webinar will have a short presentation on the Guidance and will also provide an opportunity for you to put any questions or burning issues you may have to us and TNA.

Registration for the webinar is now open at

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6768962274937737985

To avoid disappointment, please register well in advance as numbers will be limited. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

You are welcome to submit questions in advance for the webinar via the comments field below or via email to neil@beagrie.com

New Research: The value and impact of data curation and sharing

Substantial resources are being invested in the development and provision of services for the curation and long-term preservation of research data. It is a high priority area for many stakeholders, and there is strong interest in establishing the value and sustainability of these investments.

A 24 page synthesis report published today aims to summarise and reflect on the findings from a series of recent studies, conducted by Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd. and Prof. John Houghton of Victoria University, into the value and impact of three well established research data centres – the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), and the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC). It provides a summary of the key findings from new research and reflects on: the methods that can be used to collect data for such studies; the analytical methods that can be used to explore value, impacts, costs and benefits; and the lessons learnt and recommendations arising from the series of studies as a whole.

The data centre studies combined quantitative and qualitative approaches in order to quantify value in economic terms and present other, non-economic, impacts and benefits. Uniquely, the studies cover both users and depositors of data, and we believe the surveys of depositors undertaken are the first of their kind. All three studies show a similar pattern of findings, with data sharing via the data centres having a large measurable impact on research efficiency and on return on investment in the data and services. These findings are important for funders, both for making the economic case for investment in data curation and sharing and research data infrastructure, and for ensuring the sustainability of such research data centres.

The quantitative economic analysis indicates that:

  • The value to users exceeds the investment made in data sharing and curation via the centres in all three cases – with the benefits from 2.2 to 2.7 times the costs;
  • Very significant increases in work efficiency are realised by users as a result of their use of the data centres – with efficiency gains from 2 to 20 times the costs; and
  • By facilitating additional use, the data centres significantly increase the returns on investment in the creation/collection of the data hosted – with increases in returns from 2 to 12 times the costs.

The qualitative analysis indicates that:

  • Academic users report that the centres are very or extremely important for their research, with between 53% and 61% of respondents across the three surveys reporting that it would have a major or severe impact on their work if they could not access the data and services; and
  • For depositors, having the data preserved for the long-term and its dissemination being targeted to the academic community are seen as the most beneficial aspects of depositing data with the centres.

An important aim of the studies was to contribute to the further development of impact evaluation methods that can provide estimates of the value and benefits of research data sharing and curation infrastructure investments. This synthesis reflects on lessons learnt and provides a set of recommendations that could help develop future studies of this type.

The synthesis report

Beagrie, N. and Houghton J.W. (2014) The Value and Impact of Data Sharing and Curation: A synthesis of three recent studies of UK research data centres, Jisc. PDF (24 pages)

 

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