Science Europe Guidance Document Presenting a Framework for Discipline-specific Research Data Management

Science Europe, January 2018

Publié le 30 janvier 2018, par Thérèse Hameau

Introduction

To improve research data management (RDM), Research Funding Organisations and Research Performing Organisations increasingly require researchers to develop a Data Management Plan (DMP) for their project proposals or their evaluation.

While researchers recognise the benefits of better RDM, they often see these new requirements as an additional burden imposed on them by funders or employers. Funders and research organisations, for their part, are unsure about the practical possibilities and the best ways to implement the relevant policies. They would appreciate a system that makes it easier for them to assess, compare, and evaluate DMPs.

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A Framework for Research Data Management

The Science Europe Working Group (WG) on Research Data has made it its mission to develop and advocate a framework for ‘disciplinary research data management protocols’, also called Domain Data Protocols (DDPs) as a pragmatic solution to ensure proper implementation of individual DMPs.

Based on this general Framework, scientific communities are encouraged and enabled to set up protocols according to their specific needs. Individual researchers can then use the protocols as template for their DMPs in any given research field. This will make RDM planning and evaluation easier for all parties involved (funding agencies, research performing organisations, and the research communities), support good research practice, and ensure research integrity.

The approach of the WG has been to give ownership of such a framework to research communities, while taking into account the needs of funders and employers. The Framework presented in this document merges a bottom-up approach that places researchers in the driving seat with a top-down vision on how funders can ensure the efficacy and accountability of publicly funded research. It will simplify the process of DMP creation and evaluation and prevent DMPs from becoming a bureaucratic imposition on researchers, creating a win–win situation for researchers, funders, and the wider society.

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A Framework for Domain Data Protocols

The Framework’s set of minimum requirements (or terms of reference) encompasses matters such as implementation of applicable laws and regulations, references of standard data formats and software principles. It also deals with references to FAIR data 3 and elements that allow for funding agencies and governments to be properly accountable for the funds spent on research. This Framework should be considered as the basis for the development of DDPs by the various scientific communities.

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