Charles Beagrie Ltd

What is the Impact of Research Data in the Arts and Humanities?

The AHRC periodically commissions case studies to investigate the impact and value of AHRC-funded research. Across the series as a whole, impact has been defined in its broadest sense to include, economic, social, and cultural elements. The latest AHRC case study, Safeguarding our heritage for the future, focuses on the impact of data sharing and curation through the Archaeology Data Service.

It cites some of the Jisc-funded “The Value and Impact of the Archaeology Data Service: A study and methods for enhancing sustainability” study by ourselves and John Houghton.

There is the headline research efficiency impact message on page 1 and the relevant detail on page 2 of the case study as follows:

“JISC commissioned research carried out in 2012 found that the ADS has a broad user group which goes well beyond academia: whilst 38% of users are conducting academic research, 19% use ADS for private research;17% for general interest enquiries; 11% are Heritage Management users and 8% are commercial users; 6% use it to support teaching and learning activities; and 1% use it for family history research. The ADS is respected as an invaluable resource, saving users time and therefore money, and providing security for those who use the service to deposit their data. A significant increase in research efficiency was reported by users as a result of using the ADS, worth at least £13 million per annum – five times the costs of operation, data deposit and use. A potential increase in return on investment resulting from the additional use facilitated by ADS may be worth between £2.4 million and £9.7 million over thirty years in net present value from one-year’s investment – a 2-fold to 8-fold return on investment.”

The pdf version of the Safeguarding our heritage for the future case study  is available for download on the AHRC website.

AHRC Case Study

 

 

Cloud Storage and Archives

 

I am leading a Charles Beagrie team consisting of myself, Paul Miller (from Cloud of Data), and Andrew Charlesworth (Reader in IT Law, University of Bristol), which is funded by The National Archives to address questions that archivists have raised about digital preservation and the cloud.

We have been preparing guidance and case studies to assist the archives sector understand and share emerging best practice.  There is a guest blog ‘cloud storage and archives: a match made in heaven?’ posted today on the TNA website introducing the work and future plans. Our team member Paul Miller also posted an earlier blog entry during January called ‘Can the cloud do ‘in perpetuity’?‘ that introduced some of the key issues and questions.

The guidance and case studies are being reviewed currently prior to their planned release in the second quarter of this year, when they will be published and announced on The National Archives’ website. To accompany the publication of the guidance and a future update, we are planning two webinars with TNA for archivists on digital preservation and the cloud. The first will be in mid-May 2014 and the second in early 2015.

Measuring the Value and Impact of Research Data Curation and Sharing

My colleague John Houghton gave an excellent 20 minute Presentation at the October 2013 Open Access Research Conference in Brisbane on recent studies conducted by Charles Beagrie Ltd and Victoria University covering the value and impact of sharing research data via three UK research data centres. I highly recommend it as an accessible, concise, overview. The video of the presentation is now available at https://vimeo.com/82043019

It summarises recent studies exploring the impact and value of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), and the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC). The aim of the studies was to both assess the costs, benefits, value and impacts of the data centres, and to test a range of economic methods in order to ascertain which methods might work across three very different fields, with very different data production and use practices, and very different user communities. The presentation focuses on the methods used and lessons learned, as well as the headline findings.

As blogged previously the three reports for the ESDS, ADS, and BADC are all available now as individual open-access publications. A short synthesis of all three reports is being published by Jisc in the New Year.

Digital Preservation Technology Watch Reports pass 50,000 Downloads

Yesterday the new series of Digital Preservation Coalition Technology Watch Reports passed the 50,000 downloads mark for the first time: these are downloads by real users excluding robots etc.

The new series was launched publicly in 2011 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 13,000 downloads (but has been available for longest), followed by Preserving Moving Picture and Sound with over 9,000, and Digital Forensics and Preservation with over 8,000.

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 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

New services page and website updates

Sharp-eyed regular visitors may have noticed we have made a number of changes and some re-design to the website in recent months.

One major addition has been the Services webpage providing examples of some of the broad areas of work  we undertake and providing a different view of selected projects from our Clients  page.

A batch of updates have also been added to most other sections of the website, including in publications several new reports and book chapters released since the summer.

The re-design changes are quite subtle, so you might need to compare it to an old version in a Web Archive to see them  – perhaps compare with the UK Web Archive April 2012 version. More significant (but “under the hood”) was the move over the summer to a new server and to using Django, a high-level Python Web framework for the coding. Hopefully this was so seamless you will not have noticed the transition.

All comments and feedback welcome!

The Value and Impact of The Archaeology Data Service: findings released on research data sharing and curation

Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd and Professor John Houghton of the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) are pleased to announce the release of their final report from the Jisc study which examined the value and impact of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS). The aim of this study is to explore and attempt to measure the value and impact of the ADS. A range of economic approaches were used to analyses data gathered through online surveys, and user and depositor statistics, to supplement and extend other non-economic perceptions of value.

The study reveals the benefits of integrating qualitative approaches exploring user perceptions and non-economic dimensions of value with quantitative economic approaches to measuring the value and impacts of research data services. Such a mix of methods is important in capturing and presenting the full range and dimensions of value. The approaches are complementary and mutually reinforcing, with stakeholder perceptions matching the economic findings. For example, both qualitative and quantitative analysis highlights the important contribution of ADS data and services to research efficiency.

The study has changed stakeholder perceptions, increasing recognition of the value of the ADS and digital archiving and data sharing generally. Most stakeholders already valued ADS highly, but felt the study had extended their understanding of the scope of that value, and the degree of its value to other stakeholders. They were positive about seeing value expressed in economic terms, as this was something they had not previously considered or seen presented,

The report is available for download as a PDF file at: http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/5509/1/ADSReport_final.pdf

This report forms part of a series of independent studies produced by the authors on the value and impact of three UK research data centres. The other data centres already reported upon are the Economic and Social Research Data Service (ESDS), and the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC). To summarise and facilitate dissemination of the key findings from all three data centre studies a separate synthesis is currently being prepared by Jisc.

New study released: the Value and Impact of the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC)

Jisc in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have commissioned work by Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd and Professor John Houghton of Victoria University to examine the value and impact of the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC).  We are pleased to announce publication today of the study report.

The key findings

The study shows the benefits of integrating qualitative approaches exploring user perceptions and non-economic dimensions of value with quantitative economic approaches to measuring the value and impacts of research data services.

The measurable economic benefits of BADC substantially exceed its operational costs. A very significant increase in research efficiency was reported by users as a result of their using BADC data and services, estimated to be worth at least £10 million per annum.

The value of the increase in return on investment in data  resulting from the additional use facilitated by the BADC was estimated to be between £11 million and £34 million over thirty years (net present value) from one-year’s investment – effectively, a 4-fold to 12-fold return on investment in the BADC service.

The qualitative analysis also shows strong support for the BADC, with many users and depositors aware of the value of the services for them personally and for the wider user community.

For example, the user survey showed that 81% of the academic users who responded reported that BADC was very or extremely important for their academic research, and 53% of respondents reported that it would have a major or severe impact on their work if they could not access BADC data and services.

Surveyed depositors cited having the data preserved for the long-term and its dissemination being targeted to the academic community, as the most beneficial aspects of depositing data with the BADC, both rated as a high or very high benefit by around 76% of respondents.

The study report

The study report is available for download as a PDF file at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/di_directions/strategicdirections/badc.aspx

The British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC)
The BADC, based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, is the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) Designated Data Centre for the Atmospheric Sciences. Its role is to assist UK atmospheric researchers to locate, access, and interpret atmospheric data and to ensure the long-term integrity of atmospheric data produced by NERC projects. There is also considerable interest from the international research community in BADC data holdings.

Public Release of New ‘Preservation Metadata (Second Edition)’ DPC Technology Watch Report

Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are delighted to announce the public release of the latest study in the series of topical Technology Watch Reports. The second edition of ‘Preservation Metadata,’ written by Brian Lavoie and Richard Gartner, focuses on new developments in preservation metadata, since the first edition of the report (published Sept 2005), made possible by the emergence of PREMIS as a de facto international standard.

Specialists in the field of electronic information provision for digital preservation at OCLC Research and the Centre for e-Research at Kings College London, Brian and Richard pick up from the first edition of the report, reminding us ‘it is no exaggeration to assert that preservation metadata, and the PREMIS Data Dictionary in particular, have become part of best practice underpinning responsible long-term stewardship of digital materials.’

The report goes on to outline key implementation topics that have emerged since the publication of the PREMIS Data Dictionary, including community outreach, packaging, tools, PREMIS implementations in digital preservation systems and implementation resources.

Neil Beagrie, Director of Charles Beagrie Ltd and Managing Editor of the DPC Technology Watch Reports praises the new edition, noting that it “is a deservedly popular report first published in 2005 …extensively updated to reflect developments over the past eight years in preservation metadata practice.”

Adrian Brown, Director of the Parliamentary Archives concurs, calling it ‘an excellent report, clearly and accessibly written, neutral, thorough, and fulfilling the brief. It is likely to be of interest to the DPC membership, and also to a much wider audience.’

The report will be well received by digital preservation practitioners interested in learning about the key developments in preservation metadata, especially as these developments concern the PREMIS Data Dictionary; and will appeal to anyone seeking to learn more about the general topic of preservation metadata.

The not-for-profit DPC is an advocate and catalyst for digital preservation. The coalition ensures its members can continue to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services through knowledge exchange, capacity building, assurance, advocacy and partnership. Its primary objective is raising awareness of the importance of the preservation of digital material and the attendant strategic, cultural and technological issues. The DPC Technology Watch Reports support this objective through an advanced introduction to topics that have a major bearing on its vision to ‘make our digital memory accessible today.

The second edition of ‘Preservation Metadata’ is the latest in the state of the art Technology Watch Reports that give an advanced introduction to ensuring that high-value and vulnerable digital resources can be managed beyond the limits of technological obsolescence.

Read Brian Lavoie and Richard Gartner’s report ‘Preservation Metadata’ by downloading from the DPC website at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr13-03

New ‘Preservation Metadata (Second Edition)’ 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 the latest in the series of DPC Technology Watch Reports, the Second Edition of ‘Preservation Metadata.’ Written by Brian Lavoie and Richard Gartner, and published in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd., this report focuses on new developments in preservation metadata since the last report, made possible by the emergence of PREMIS as a de facto international standard.

Specialists in the field of electronic information provision for digital preservation at OCLC Research and the Centre for E-Research at Kings College London, Brian and Richard pick up from the first edition of the report, telling us that ‘it is no exaggeration to assert that preservation metadata, and the PREMIS Data Dictionary in particular, have become part of best practice underpinning responsible long-term stewardship of digital materials.’

The report goes on to outline key implementation topics that have emerged since the publication of the PREMIS Data Dictionary, including community outreach, packaging, tools, PREMIS implementations in digital preservation systems and implementation resources.

The report is primarily intended for digital preservation practitioners interested in learning about the key developments in preservation metadata, especially as these developments concern the PREMIS Data Dictionary; and the report will also be of interest to anyone seeking to learn more about the general topic of preservation metadata.

Neil Beagrie, Director of Charles Beagrie Ltd praises the report, noting that “this is the 2nd edition of a deservedly popular DPC Technology Watch report first published in 2005. It has been extensively updated to reflect developments over the past eight years in preservation metadata practice. It is the first Tech Watch report to have a 2nd edition and the Editorial Report is committed to regularly reviewing the DPC reports list: both to commission work in new areas of interest to DPC members and the digital preservation community; and to identify further worthwhile revisions of existing technology watch reports.“

The DPC Technology Watch Reports identify, delineate, monitor and address topics that have a major bearing on ensuring our collected digital memory will be available tomorrow. They provide an advanced introduction in order to support those charged with ensuring a robust digital memory, and they are of general interest to a wide and international audience with interests in computing, information management, collections management and technology.

The reports are commissioned after consultation among DPC members about shared priorities and challenges; they are commissioned from experts; and they are thoroughly scrutinized by peers before being released. The authors are asked to provide reports that are informed, current, concise and balanced; that lower the barriers to participation in digital preservation; and that they are of wide utility. The reports are a distinctive and lasting contribution to the dissemination of good practice in digital preservation.

Preservation Metadata is  is the seventh report in the DPC technology watch series to have been commissioned with Charles Beagrie Ltd as series editors.

public release of guidance document Research Data Management and REF2014

The Research360 project is pleased to announce the public release of its guidance document Research Data Management and REF2014 prepared by staff at the University of Bath and Charles Beagrie Ltd. It is being disseminated and shared with the research community in Bath and other universities.

Many universities are still in the process of enhancing and formalising strategies for research data management at this time, so this paper may contribute to planning for future assessment exercises beyond REF2014, as well as business cases for further development of strategies and procedures for research data in research-intensive universities.

With the results from the REF determining institutional quality-related (QR) funding allocations (just over £1.3 billion in 2012/13), the research element of QR funding is one of the key funding streams for research in UK universities. Support for future assessment exercises is therefore a potential element in any business case for research data management.

The Research Data Management and REF2014 document can be downloaded in Word or PDF formats from: http://opus.bath.ac.uk/35518/.

The REF guidance document follows on from the previous release of the summary stakeholder benefits analysis (based on the KRDS Benefits Framework) from the Research Data Management business case for the University of Bath. The stakeholder benefits analysis is also still available separately to download in PDF format from http://opus.bath.ac.uk/32509.

The Research360 project is funded by Jisc and is developing the technical and human infrastructure for research data management at the University of Bath, as an exemplar research-intensive university.

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