Managing Research Data: a pilot study in Health and Life Sciences

Interim outputs from work package 3: developing a service now available

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The UWE MRD project releases interim outputs from work package three (Test Cycles) which describe the development of a RDM service at UWE.

Two administrative process flowcharts, pre and post approval, and supporting information outline a process workflow for managing UWE research data during the lifecycle of a research project.

A report 'Metadata and EPrints customisation for the UWE data repository' explains the rationale which guided the development of metadata for the UWE data repository.

JISC and DCC workshop presentation and poster

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JISC and DCC IE workshop: Components of Institutional Research Data Services  (Nottingham 24th to 25th October 2012)

UWE session 2B presentation Data Repositories and storage presentation 

and UWE poster

Researcher testing and developing guidance for the UWE data repository

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Data deposit testing is complete and researcher testing of the workflow, usability and metadata requirements will complete next week. Problems with format recognition identified by the data load testing were fixed before the researcher workflow tests began to streamline the testing. This leaves an outstanding problem with display of the progress bar during file uploads; essential when large files take several minutes. We are pursuing a solution.

Meanwhile, I have been developing guidance for UWE data creators and other users of the data repository. I’d like to express my appreciation and grateful thanks to Edinburgh DataShare and UKDA for the extensive guidance available on their sites which I have unashamedly trawled, selected and adapted for UWE.  I’m now developing data repository guidance on:

Benefits of deposit

Are you ready to deposit?

How to deposit your data

Citing data

What we will do



Data Deposit Agreement

What is the UWE data repository?

Finding and Re-using data

Use licence


This guidance will sit with the repository and be maintained by the repository staff. It will be separate from any researcher data management training and guidance, although mutual reference and linking may be appropriate.

Metadata for UWE data repository

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Implementation of the UWE data repository is progressing. The first stage of metadata identification and EPrints customisation is complete and load testing has begun. The next stage will be user driven; testing process workflows, metadata acceptance and usability with our seven pilot researchers.

We identified metadata requirements for the data repository using information from a range of sources. The DataCite workshop at the British Library ( outlined a useful and practical approach to defining mandatory and optional metadata. Blogs on selecting metadata by data.bris (minimal set of mandatory metadata ), Research Data @Essex (Adapting EPrints for research data: metadata and design) and Iridium (CERIF in Practice Workshop) were particularly helpful in formulating our approach.

We will use the DCMI metadata terms and have selected mandatory and optional fields based on the DataCite Metadata schema v2.1. DCMI has been selected for the same reasons discussed by David Boyd in his data.bris post (25/06/2012) and for two additional reasons. Firstly, Dublin Core is standard within our EPrints data repository and, secondly, as a non-research intensive university UWE is unlikely to commit to the British Library DataCite service at this pilot stage in RDM development.

Two levels of metadata are planned; the first is a basic level collected on project record entry and data deposit. An optional detailed level will conform to disciplinary and subject metadata standards. These will be supplied by researchers as additional files deposited with the research data set. Additional information to allow for some basic analytics by research administration will be requested.

At present UWE has a limited number of IT systems supporting research projects and no interoperability requirements for the data repository with those that currently exist. Therefore we expect most of our metadata to be entered manually by researchers on deposition of research data. Whilst this may allow a richer set of metadata than possible with harvested metadata it places the burden for metadata acquisition on the researcher. If the burden was considered too great the metadata capture would fail. Therefore, we have limited mandatory fields to five, those required for citation and location. An additional fourteen are optional. Of these nineteen, six are standard or entered automatically by EPrints. A key element of our researcher testing will be to assess the acceptance and usability of the metadata fields by researchers. If metadata entry is found to inflict a burden we will review these requirements.

UWE Metadata Summary (initial draft version)

Mandatory fields

Author/creator, title of project, publication date, publisher, location (identifier)

Optional fields

Resource type, contributor(s), summary, subject, rights, spatial coverage, temporal coverage, derived publications, related datasets, language, methodology, data description, file format, file size

News on UWE data repository

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We've decided to use a separate EPrints instance for our data repository as we believe

• keeping the two separate helps with managing processes for REF and other similar activities

• it will allow flexibility of upload configurations for research data

• it permits customised and simpler metadata-entry screens which will benefit users

• maintaining accurate statistics for percentage downloads will be easier if data and outputs content are in separate instances.

Our initial build is now ready for customisation ( We’ll be working on this over the next few weeks towards demonstrating and testing with our group of pilot researchers and some test data. Testing will include a variety of projects, data formats and file sizes to stress the limits of EPrints. We are now started on the way to a UWE data repository; more updates will follow.