May 2010

Economic Impact of Research Data Sharing

Zoe Locke, Lead Technologist at the UK Technology Strategy Board has made an interesting post Impact of Data to their blog requesting any information on the economic impact of research data sharing. Extract as follows:

“I am currently in Manchester attending a JISC workshop on Managing Research Data…

Yesterday, there was an interesting keynote speech from the Director of the Digital Curation Centre (DCC).  However, I noted that ‘Impact’ was the 3rd reason for why researchers should care about data curation.  I asked about the meaning of impact.  In the context of the talk, impact was about whether or not the research for which the data was used got published (and had an effect on the researcher’s career).  The DCC focuses on transferring knowledge on curation into and around the higher education sector so this seems like an appropriate definition of impact.  However, given the potential socio-economic impact of research and resultant data, not to mention the business opportunities it could create (though we don’t really know where or what these are, let alone how big they might be), I can’t help feeling that we need to widen the definition to stimulate greater sharing and exploitation of data.  If businesses could generate wealth or increase the quality of life with this data then surely it would be easier for anyone to justify footing the bill for curation…

Does anyone out there have any specific case studies of money being made or saved through the exploitation of research data (specifically that data generated in a different organisation to the one exploiting it)?”

You will need to register with the Connect Network to post a reply to Zoe direct but I am happy to forward any examples readers may add as comments to this posting on the Charles Beagrie blog.

Keeping Research Data Safe 2: Final Report Published

I am pleased to announce that the final report for Keeping Research Data Safe 2 (KRDS2) is now available from the JISC website. This KRDS2 study report presents the results of a survey of available cost information, validation and further development of the KRDS activity cost model, and a new taxonomy to help assess benefits alongside costs.

KRDS2 has delivered the following:

• A survey of cost information for digital preservation, collating and making available 13 survey responses for different cost datasets;

• The KRDS activity model has been reviewed and its presentation and usability enhanced;

• Cost information for four organisations (the Archaeology Data Service; National Digital Archive of Datasets; UK Data Archive; and University of Oxford) has been analysed in depth and presented in case studies;

• A benefits framework has been produced and illustrated with two benefit case studies from the National Crystallography Service at Southampton University and the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex.

One of the key findings on the long-term costs of digital preservation for research data was that the cost of archiving activities (archival storage and preservation planning and actions) is consistently a very small proportion of the overall costs and significantly lower than the costs of acquisition/ingest or access activities for all the case studies in KRDS2. As an example the respective activity staff costs for the Archaeology Data Service are Access (c.31%), Outreach/Acquisition/Ingest (c.55%), Archiving (c.15%).This confirms and supports a preliminary finding in KRDS1.

A range of supplementary materials in support of this report have also been made available on the KRDS project website. This includes the ULCC Excel Cost Spreadsheet for the NDAD service together with a Guide to Interpreting and Using the NDAD Cost Spreadsheet. The NDAD Cost Spreadsheet has previously been used as an exercise in digital preservation training events and may be particularly useful in training covering digital preservation costs. The accompanying Guide provides guidance to those wishing to understand and experiment with the spreadsheet.

US National Science Foundation to mandate research data management plans

During the May  meeting of the National Science Board, National Science Foundation (NSF) officials announced a change in the implementation of the existing policy on sharing research data. In particular, on or around October, 2010, NSF is planning to require that all proposals include a data management plan in the form of a two-page supplementary document. The research community will be informed of the specifics of the anticipated changes and the agency’s expectations.

The changes are designed to address trends and needs in the modern era of data-driven science. Ed Seidel, acting assistant director for NSF’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences directorate acknowledged that each discipline has its own culture about data-sharing, and said that NSF wants to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to the issue. But for all disciplines, the data management plans will be subject to peer review, and the new approach will allow flexibility at the directorate and division levels to tailor implementation as appropriate.

Full details can be found in the NSF press release.

Data Management Plans are also required by a growing number of research funders in the UK. The Digital Curation Centre provides a useful overview of current UK funder requirements for data management and sharing plans and a Data Management Plan Content Checklist.

A practical guide to e-journal archiving solutions

Readers of the blog may be interested in an excellent short (15 pages) guide to e-journal archiving produced by JISC Collections.

Ensuring that ‘e’ doesn’t mean ephemeral: A practical guide to e-journal archiving solutions (version 1.1  February 2010) is available on the JISC Collections website either to view online or download as a pdf file.

The guide uses and updates work Charles Beagrie Ltd completed with Tee- eM Consulting  for JISC in 2008 in the Comparative Study of e-journal Archiving Solutions.