Science and Industry

Stakeholder Benefits from Research Data Management: new document from Research360 project

We are pleased to announce that the JISC-funded Research360 Project has released the summary stakeholder benefits analysis (based on the KRDS Benefits Framework) from the Research Data Management business case for the University of Bath. The 4 page document is available to download in PDF format from opus.bath.ac.uk/32509

The benefits summary covers the following groups:

University Community

  • Academic Staff and Researchers
  • Students
  • Professional Services
  • Institution

External Partners

  • Industry and Commerce
  • Public and Voluntary Sectors
  • Government
  • Society

Industry and private sector partnerships alongside public sector and voluntary sector partnerships are key elements of many university research programmes. Frequently partners sharing their practice, results data and laboratory methodologies can lead to vital knowledge transfer activities, improved services and products, creation of spin-out companies and further investment in the Higher Education sector.

As part of the Research360 project at the University of Bath, we are examining the data management implications, challenges and benefits associated with Faculty-Industry and Faculty-Not-for-Profit research collaborations. As part of this work, we have developed the summary list of stakeholder benefits that can arise from research data management in these collaborations. This list is now being shared with other universities and their research partners. We hope the generic list can be used as a brain-storming tool and assist in articulating benefits for selected stakeholders from research data management. Users can sharpen these short generic expressions of benefits into more focused value propositions for specific stakeholder audiences as required. Those interested in applying KRDS benefits analysis for stakeholders in research data preservation and curation as well as research data management will also find it of interest.

The Research360 project is funded by JISC and the stakeholder analysis has been developed by Charles Beagrie Ltd and UKOLN at the University of Bath.

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

We are pleased to announce a new study and collaboration between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Charles Beagrie Ltd (Neil Beagrie), and the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies Victoria University (Prof John Houghton) on the value and impact of 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. Since its establishment, the BADC has become the de facto point of contact for UK researchers needing access to the meteorological products of both the Met Office and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF). There is also considerable interest from the international research community in BADC data holdings.

The BADC’s significance has grown considerably in the last decade or so and with the use of access statistics and user feedback it has generally been easy for the BADC to demonstrate that it offers a valuable service to its users. However, it is a much more challenging proposition to find ways of analysing BADC usage that make a clear statement about the very important issue of how much economic impact that the BADC has on the sector. The new BADC study funded by JISC and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is intending to investigate in detail exactly this question and to give a clear indication of what the value is of having a free to use and open access data resource like the BADC.

Engaging the expertise of Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd. and Professor John Houghton of the CSES, the project will analyse and survey indicators and perceptions of the value of digital collections held by the BADC and how those indicators and perceptions of value can be measured. The CSES and Charles Beagrie Ltd have led the field in conducting value perception and economic impact surveys for digital repositories and they have recently completed a similar exercise with the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) in the UK. The report from this work, The Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service, is now available from the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC). Another study on the impact of the Archaeology Data Service is also underway in parallel with that for BADC.

A major element of the BADC study will be two forms of stakeholder survey. The first phase will see a selection of users and depositors from all sectors be invited to participate in in-depth interviews, and secondly an online survey will be launched to gauge the levels of use, impacts, and perceptions of value amongst the broadest possible range of BADC users.

Our economic analysis aims to include a range of approaches, starting with the most immediate and direct measures of value that are likely to represent lower bound estimates of the value of BADC data and services and moving outwards to estimates of the wider economic benefits.

We hope this project will not only have immediate benefits for the BADC, its stakeholders and user communities, but will build on previous work to investigate methodologies and good practice in the area of valuation that will be directly applicable to other repositories, in different domains, allowing them to reap the benefits of this work as they seek to analyse their own economic impact.

For further information on the project see the BADC Value and Impact study project web page.

Other implementations: updates to the Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS) web site

The Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS) web site has been updated today with links and details of other implementations based on the KRDS tools. Implementation added are as follows:

  • The Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service
  • Impact of the Archaeology Data Service
  • The Value and Impact of the British Atmospheric Data Centre
  • Business Models and Cost Estimation: Dryad Repository Case Study
  • Infrastructure for Integration in Structural Sciences (I2S2): Extended Cost Model and Benefits Use Cases
  • JISC DMI Programme: Business Models, Cost and Benefit Analyses Support Web Page
  • Application of the Benefits Analysis Tools for MRC population health studies
  • Research360 University of Bath

For further details see the KRDS project website.

If you have based implementations on KRDS tools we would be happy to add details to the list. Please send further  information to info@beagrie.com.

IT as a Utility information/launch meeting 4th September at The Royal Society

This information event may be of interest to readers of the blog:

Meeting programme

Tuesday 4th September 2012 14:00 – 17:00

Background: The Digital Economy RCUK Theme Introduction to the ITaaU Network ITaaU Events and Opportunities Design for Usable IT (USTWO). The ITaaU Network and EU FP7 and Beyond (Dr. Mike Surridge, IT Innovation) The ITaaU Network and Asia (Prof. Gerard Parr, University of Ulster) Cloud & Pervasive Computing (Rob Fraser, Microsoft UK) Summary of ITaaU events, opportunities and deadlines

More details will be published on the Network web site  shortly. There will be no registration formalities or charge for this meeting but please email info@itutility.ac.uk to let them know that if you are planning to come so they can ensure adequate refreshments. The event is being held at the Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London. Directions can be found online.

IT as a Utility (ITaaU) is one of the 4 sub-themes of the RCUK Digital Economy programme . The ITaaU Network purpose is to promote and enhance the community interested in this aspect of the DE programme and help co-ordinate activities in this area. IT as a Utility is about the provision of information and technology in a transparent and highly usable manner. It is closely related to Grid and Cloud Computing with its emphasis on making IT resources effortlessly and almost invisibly available the end user. Cloud paradigms for access to applications and infrastructure are now well established, and are changing the way users interact with applications, especially where the application is accessible from multiple devices and users.

For further information, see  the website (this is being updated and a new version will appear soon) and also the blog post.

Assessing the Economic Impact of Digital Preservation and Data Curation

We are pleased to announce that the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK has published the report of the Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) to coincide with the launch of the new UK Data Service that succeeds it.

The ESDS has its origins in the UK Data Archive established over 40 years ago and this one of the longest standing research data archives and proponents of digital preservation in the World. The impact evaluation therefore may be of interest to the digital preservation and data curation communities beyond the social sciences and economics, particularly as quantitative as well as qualitative evidence of impact in our fields is still relatively rare.

The Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service report (PDF file) was produced by Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) Victoria University and was authored by Neil Beagrie, John Houghton, Anna Palaiologk and Peter Williams. It combines approaches for qualitative and quantitative assessment of impact drawing on methodologies from Keeping Research Data Safe and more generally from economics and the social sciences.

An extract from the ESRC/ESDS press release of 24 July announcing the UK Data Service is as follows:

Continuing access to the most valuable collection of social and economic data in the UK has been secured with a £17 million investment over five years for the UK Data Service. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the new service is structured to support researchers in academia, business, third sector and all levels of government.

The new service, starting on 1 October 2012, will integrate the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Census Programme, the Secure Data Service and other elements of the data service infrastructure currently provided by the ESRC, including the UK Data Archive.

The integration follows an economic evaluation of ESDS, which reveals that for every pound currently invested in data and infrastructure, the service returns £5.40 in net economic value to users and other stakeholders.

The UK Data Service will provide a unified point of access to the extensive range of high quality economic and social data, including valuable census data. It is designed to provide seamless access and support to meet the current and future research demands of both academic and non-academic users, and to help them maximise the impact of their work.

“The UK Data Service represents a significant step forward in our strategy,” says ESRC’s Chief Executive, Professor Paul Boyle. “As data are the lifeblood of research, our aim is to consolidate resources in a way that expands both the reach and impact of these vital investments. It will become a cornerstone for UK research; the place to go for high quality data and support.”

“Between our services we have an impressive collection of rich research data,” says Dr Matthew Woollard, director of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) and the UK Data Archive. “We are dedicated to the reuse, sharing and archiving of data because we know the effect it can have on the wider society. Together, we look forward to becoming the UK Data Service so we can continue to build on these excellent data and services to generate even more impact.”

The full press release can be accessed here.

The Biomedical Research Infrastructure Software Service (BRISSkit)

We are very pleased to announce that we will be providing consultancy support for the second stage sustainability and take-up phase of the BRISSkit service (www.brisskit.le.ac.uk). It was a pleasure for us working with colleagues at the University of Leicester and the Biomedical Cardiovascular Research Unit (LCBRU) at the NHS University Hospitals Leicester Trust in the first phase of the project. Our focus was on community engagement and the return on investment case for funding.

Further funding from JISC for the next stage of sustainability and take-up will now allow the project to consolidate the work to date and extend to two additional Biomedical Research Units within University Hospitals Leicester Trust (including the Institute for Lung Health Respiratory BRU & Lifestyle BRU) and to test the service with two external partners (UCL Institute of Child Health; and University of Birmingham School of Cancer Studies).

The Biomedical Research Infrastructure Software Service (BRISSkit) is led by the University of Leicester and will provide a suite of open source biomedical research database applications as secure web services in a browser. BRISSkit components may be hosted standalone or as integrated, cloud hosted solutions for researchers and clinicians, accessible via the UK JANET academic or NHS accredited networks. It will facilitate cohort discovery; making it easier for researchers to manage the identification, selection, engagement and recruitment of suitable subjects for research. Using internationally recognised data standards researchers and clinicians may then combine, query, visualise and output datasets. Components include:

•             contact management and patient recruitment

•             electronic clinical data capture

•             tissue sample management

•       research data combination and querying

The project partners are currently piloting these services with groups across the University Hospitals Leicester Trust and nationally, working with a range of technical partners and key stakeholders including JISC, HEFCE, JANET and the NHS National Institute for Health Research. For further information see the BRISSkit community website.

Research Data Management in Times Higher and Royal Society Report

Research Data Management is very much in the news today with a lead article  in the Times Higher Education Supplement Seize the Data devoted to the issue and the release of the Royal Society Report Science as an Open Enterprise.

I was particularly pleased to see citation of our JISC funded research reports on Keeping Research Data Safe (pages 66-7) and the references to other major projects and programmes with which we have been involved such as Dryad and its sustainability and business case or the JISC Research Data Management Programme  in the Royal Society report.

Finally as the THES lead article notes one analysis of UK data equity estimated it to be worth £25.1 billion to British business in 2011. This is predicted to increase to £216 billion or 2.3 per cent of cumulative gross domestic product between 2012 and 2017. Although most of this is forecast to come from greater business efficiency in data use, £24 billion will stem from an increase in commercial data-driven R&D. The economic context alone draws attention to the huge importance of the issue, and in normal times would justify serious further investment in the science base.

Economic Impact of Research Data Infrastructure: new study on ADS

We are very pleased to announce a new study and collaboration between Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies University of Victoria (Prof John Houghton) on the impact of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) based at the University of York in the UK.

For more than fifteen years the ADS has been working to serve its users, both by acting as a long-term repository for valuable archaeological data and by providing open and free access to this data for research purposes. Its users, both those who deposit data and those who access it, come from all possible sectors of the archaeology discipline.

ADS regularly deal with data and data requests from academic archaeologists, local and national government archaeologists, the commercial sector, the community archaeology sector and, being an open archive, the general public. The ADS’s significance in the archaeological landscape has grown considerably in the last decade or so and with the use of access statistics and user feedback it has generally been easy for the ADS to demonstrate that it offers a valuable service to its users. However, it is a much more challenging proposition to find ways of analysing ADS usage that make a clear statement about the very important issue of how much economic impact that the ADS has on the sector. The new ADS Impact Study funded by JISC is intending to investigate in detail exactly this question and to give a clear indication of what the value of having a free to use and open access resource like the ADS is to the whole archaeological sector.

Engaging the expertise of Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd. and Professor John Houghton of the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) , the project will analyse and survey indicators and perceptions of the value of digital collections held by the ADS and how those indicators and perceptions of value can be measured. The CSES and Charles Beagrie Ltd have led the field in conducting value perception and economic impact surveys for digital repositories and they have recently completed a similar exercise with the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) in the UK.

A major element of the study will be two forms of stakeholder survey. The first phase will see a selection of users and depositors from all sectors be invited to participate in in-depth interviews, and secondly an online survey will be launched to gauge the levels of use, impacts, and perceptions of value amongst the broadest possible range of ADS users.

Our economic analysis aims to include a range of approaches, starting with the most immediate and direct measures of value that are likely to represent lower bound estimates of the value of ADS data and services and moving outwards to estimates of the wider economic benefits:

We hope this project will not only have immediate benefits for the ADS, its stakeholders and user communities, but will build on previous work to investigate methodologies and good practice in the area of valuation that will be directly applicable to other repositories, in different domains, allowing them to reap the benefits of this work as they seek to analyse their own economic impact. For further information on the ADS Impact study see the Project web site.

Moving Pictures and Sound DPC Technology Watch Report now available

The Digital Preservation Coalition, Richard Wright and Charles Beagrie Ltd are delighted to announce the public release of the latest DPC Technology Watch Report ‘Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound’, written by Richard Wright, formerly of the BBC.

‘Moving image and sound content is at great risk’, explained Richard Wright. ‘Surveys have shown that 74 per cent of professional collections are small: 5,000 hours or less. Such collections have a huge challenge if their holdings are to be preserved. About 85 per cent of sound and moving image content is still analogue, and in 2005 almost 100 per cent was still on shelves rather than being in files on mass storage. Surveys have also shown that in universities there is a major problem of material that is scattered, unidentified, undocumented and not under any form of preservation plan. These collection surveys are from Europe and North America because there is no survey of the situation in the UK, in itself a cause for concern.’

‘This report is for anyone with responsibility for collections of sound or moving image content and an interest in preservation of that content.’

‘New content is born digital, analogue audio and video need digitization to survive and film requires digitization for access. Consequently, digital preservation will be relevant over time to all these areas. The report concentrates on digitization, encoding, file formats and wrappers, use of compression, obsolescence and what to do about the particular digital preservation problems of sound and moving images.’

The report discusses issues of moving digital content from carriers (such as CD and DVD, digital videotape, DAT and minidisc) into files. This digital to digital ‘ripping’ of content is an area of digital preservation unique to the audio-visual world, and has unsolved problems of control of errors in the ripping and transfer process. It goes on to consider digital preservation of the content within the files that result from digitization or ripping, and the files that are born digital. While much of this preservation has problems and solutions in common with other content, there is a specific problem of preserving the quality of the digitized signal that is again unique to audio-visual content. Managing quality through cycles of ‘lossy’ encoding, decoding and reformatting is one major digital preservation challenge for audio-visual as are issues of managing embedded metadata.

DPC members have already had a preview. Pip Laurenson of Tate commented ‘This is a terrific report. Thank you so much for commissioning it – it is the best thing I have read on the subject.’

The report has also been subject to extensive review prior before publication. Oya Rieger and colleagues at Cornell University who reviewed the final draft welcomed the report: ‘It is a very thorough report. We realize that it was a challenging process to gather and organize all this information and present it in a succinct narrative. Another virtue of the report is that it incorporates both analog and digital media issues. The final section with conclusions and recommendation is very strong and provides an excellent summary.’

Another reviewer explained why the preview for DPC-members was so timely: ‘We are currently working on a grant proposal focusing on new media art and having access to the preserving moving pictures and sound report was very useful. The report provides a thorough characterization of the current practices, shortcomings, and challenges. Having access to the report has saved us from spending expensive time on conducting a literature review. ‘

DPC Technology Watch Reports identify, delineate, monitor and address topics that have 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 with members; they are written by experts; and they are thoroughly scrutinised by peers before being released. The reports are informed, current, concise and balanced and they lower the barriers to participation in digital preservation. The reports are a distinctive and lasting contribution to the dissemination of good practice in digital preservation.

‘Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound’ is the second Technology Watch Report to be published by the DPC in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd. Neil Beagrie, Director of Consultancy at Charles Beagrie Ltd, was commissioned to act as principal investigator and managing editor of the series in 2011. The managing editor has been further supported by an Editorial Board drawn from DPC members and peer reviewers who have commented on the text prior to release. The Editorial Board comprises William Kilbride (Chair), Neil Beagrie (Series Editor), Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth), Sarah Higgins (Archives and records Association), Tim Keefe (Trinity College Dublin), Andrew McHugh (University of Glasgow) and Dave Thompson (Wellcome Library).

The report is online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr12-01  (PDF 915KB)

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Data Storage: Top Five Trends for 2012 from IBM (Data Preservation and Data Curation are up there!)

A very interesting presentation on Data Storage: IBM and Storage: Top Five Trends for 2012 from Steve Wojtowecz, vice president of storage software development at IBM on eWeek. Wojtowecz outlined five storage trends that will emerge in 2012: Data Preservation, Data Curation, Storage Analytics, Mass storage in Entertainment and Healthcare industries and Data Records Management (“Data Hoarders”). All major topics of interest to this blog with data preservation, data curation and even digital lives getting a mention. The article suggests “As storage becomes a key business driver in 2012, IBM officials said the industry will see new breakthroughs in storage research and business models coming from sectors such as entertainment and health care”. Worth a look.

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