UBC Research Data

UBC Research Data Management Survey: Humanities and Social Sciences Barsky, Eugene; Farrar, Paula; Meredith-Lobay, Megan; Mitchell, Marjorie; Naslund, Jo-Anne; Sylka, Christina; Vis-Dunbar, Mathew

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Executive Summary

Background In June 2016, the Tri-Council Agencies released a statement regarding Digital Data Management for grant applications . In preparation to support researchers facing new requirements, UBC librarians on both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses initially surveyed faculty in the Sciences in Fall 2015, to determine both the actual practices of Research Data Management (RDM) employed by these researchers, and areas where the researchers would like help. Acknowledging disciplinary differences, a second survey was administered to all faculty and graduate students in Humanities and Social Sciences in October 2016. The results of these surveys will assist the University in making evidence-based decisions about what expertise will be needed to support and assist faculty in improving their data management practises to meet new requirements from funding bodies.

Findings Researchers are collecting and working with a wide variety of data ranging from numerical and text data to multimedia files, software, instrument specific data, geospatial data, and many other types of data.

Researchers identified four broad areas where they would like additional help and support: 1. Data Storage (including preservation and sharing) 2. Data Management Plans 3. Data Repository access 4. Data Education (workshops, and personalized training) These areas present opportunities for the Library and campus partners to bolster research excellence by supporting strong RDM practices of Faculty, Students and Staff.

Recommendations 1. The Library continues to collaborate with VPR’s Advanced Research Computing (ARC) unit, UBC Ethics, UBC IT Services, and other campus partners to plan and coordinate services for researchers around the management of research data. 2. UBC ensures that a robust infrastructure is available to researchers to store, preserve, and share their research data. 3. UBC implements a campus-wide service to support a Data Management Repository (or suite of repositories) which would include the Abacus Dataverse (currently operated by the Library).

Conclusions A more detailed statistical analysis is underway, but initial results show that the majority of survey respondents indicated that they need assistance with storage and security of research data, with crafting data management plans, with a centralized research data repository, and with workshops about research data best practices for faculty and especially for graduate students. Further, understandings of the particular needs or habits within specific research disciplines will provide insights into how these researchers think about, and work with data and can also identify areas for future research and investigation. Finally, this survey has provided a fuller understanding of the RDM needs and perceived barriers and benefits which can now enable more targeted and nuanced conversations between librarians, researchers, and IT research support personnel. These results will assist the Library and other campus partners with the development of specific programs and infrastructure to bolster a strategic direction for RDM support.

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