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‘We feel it’s important that researchers are actively involved in helping decide on the functional design of the central Research Data Management system. That’s why we’re working together with an implementation working group,’ Matthieu Uittenbogaard explains.

Matthieu Uittenbogaard (photo: Monique Kooijmans)

Uittenbogaard is one of the Project Managers at the UvA/AUAS Library, and has been involved with RDM from the start. He was responsible for the market research and tender procedure for the central RDM system, and since June 2016 has been helping support the development of the system's functional design.

Representatives consult their colleagues

‘We want to know what researchers’ requirements are, and whether the system's functionalities will sufficiently support research. That's why our working group includes representatives from all UvA and AUAS faculties. These representatives are providing valuable input about the system's functional design, from the perspective of their faculty. In order to do this, they have also been consulting closely with staff in their faculty.’

Data files to be checked prior to publication? 

‘The working group members also contribute ideas for the design of the RDM system's interface, and we invite their input when making decisions, such as which fields should be mandatory, and which reporting capabilities and functionalities they consider to be truly necessary. To give an illustration, the system supplier Figshare offers a curation workflow, which allows for data files, prior to their publication, to be first approved by a colleague (e.g. a data steward). The working group members considered this to be useful, but this type of check can be time-consuming (and therefore also expensive), so the question remains whether all faculties will ultimately go on to use this feature. We’re also currently discussing how broad the access to the RDM system will be, and whether that might also include students.’

Researchers will be testing the RDM system

‘We're planning for a group of researchers to begin testing the RDM system in December 2016. To ensure that researchers will go ahead and use the RDM system successfully, it’s crucial that we respond to their needs and requirements. We also want the system to be user-friendly and intuitive. It's important that a researcher can use the system straight away, although of course we will provide support where needed.’

Available to all researchers from March 2017

‘A number of research groups will begin using the RDM system in January 2017 as early adopters. If this goes well, it will be made available to everyone in March 2017. The RDM system will enable researchers to store their data securely, share it with colleagues during research projects, and publish and archive it afterwards.’

Choice of licences when publishing data

‘All data published via the central RDM system will receive a ‘persistent identifier’ – a permanent, unique link in the system – which researchers can use in their publications to refer to their data set. The researcher can choose under which conditions they want to publish the data, according to a range of different licensing options. The licence indicates what other people can and cannot do with your research data.’

Links with SAP and PURE

‘We are currently working on linking the RDM system with SAP, which contains employee data. On this basis, it will be possible to see a researcher's associated faculty, research institute and research group. This is also important for monitoring and reporting. Pure, the new research registration system that will replace Metis, is also linked to SAP. This link allows for data sets published in Figshare to be filed under the correct researcher profile in Pure.’

Webinars and meetings

‘Cooperation with Figshare is going well, as they already have extensive experience with implementing their system at large universities in the UK and Australia. Figshare also considers user feedback to be very important. They regularly organise webinars and meetings for users, enabling them to share knowledge and experience. Figshare's CEO, Mark Hahnel, started out as a researcher. The system was born from responding to Hahnel's own and others' needs as researchers, and he remains highly driven and passionate about what he does.’