Engaging with researchers and challenges for data services

Publié le 4 décembre 2017, par Thérèse Hameau

On 23 November 2017 I [Marta Teperek] participated in the launch of the Austrian chapter of Research Data Alliance (RDA Austria). It was an all day long event organised and hosted jointly by colleagues from the University of Vienna, TU Wien and RDA. Fourteen national and international presenters spoke about various aspects of research data management : from infrastructure support, through data publication and citation, and all the way through to data management and data stewardship. In my opinion, the event was highly successful, and I highlighted two interesting discussions which took part during the conference :

...The argument of time investment is an important one. Research data support services are quite new and most of the time they are not yet fully embedded within institutions and the exact scope and priorities are often not well-defined. Therefore, pressures on data service providers tend to be high and the choices on where to invest precious time can be quite hard.

However, the following ‘why’ questions can be asked : “Why do you provide data support services ? Why do you want to help researchers manage their data better ?”. After some discussion, everyone usually agrees that the core mission of data support services is to help researchers do better research and to improve research integrity. So everyone agrees that the primary users (customers) of the data support services at research institutions are researchers (data creators) themselves...

...An important discussion at the meeting was about the common challenges and how to best tackle them. A few speakers represented academic data service providers and shared their frustrations about the scarce funding for research data services. Limited funding created substantial challenges not only for attracting and retaining qualified staff but also for strategic thinking about service development and delivery. In addition, providers complained that while many funding bodies required that researchers shared research data and allowed researchers to budget for the costs of research data management in their grant proposals, costs of long-term data curation were rarely accepted by the funders because long-term data curation happened only after the end of the project...