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

Publication of final report and outputs

Posted by Liz Holliday | 0 Comments
The UWE MRD project is very pleased to publish our final outputs from the project (

The final outputs include the draft institutional policy principles, the online guidance, the final report and the executive summary.

Over the next few months, the project will continue to build on the pilot and to take the project recommendations forward for progress across the university.

Jisc Managing Research Data Programme Workshop: Achievements, Challenges and Recommendations presentation and poster

Posted by Liz Holliday | 0 Comments
The UWE poster and presentation from session 4B: RDM Policies, Strategies and Roadmap are now available on the project website at

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.

Administrative processes, Development of guidance and training begun

Posted by Liz Holliday | 1 comment
We have been working on finalising our propsals and recommendations for the administrative processes strand of our project. Our objective was  to develop suitable processes, infrastructure and guidance in keeping with the culture and administrative processes of the university and which fulfill the needs of UWE researchers.

The process proposals and recommendations were presented to and favourably received by the project steering group meeting on 24th October. We will now move on to gaining full UWE acceptance which requires piloting the proposals through the meetings of several research committees.

We have begun to develop our online guidance for researchers basing this on our evaluation of the Incremental, DATUM for health and MANTRA guidance and training outputs.

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

Posted by Liz Holliday | 0 Comments

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

Posted by Liz Holliday | 1 comment

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.

UWE Maturity modelling: the next steps

Posted by Stella Fowler | 0 Comments

I just wanted to post an update on UWE's maturity modelling work, which we have now benchmarked and summarised on the outputs section of the project website. Specifically, commentary supporting the work is available at Digital Curation Centre (DCC) tools and at Maturity Benchmark and Target Operating Model. The full UWE case-study can be downloaded as a PDF.

We have also produced a Position Statement (not publically available) which has been adopted by the project Steering Group as a way to secure high-level, strategic commitment to a long term RDM strategy here at UWE. The position statement will lead into a more aspirational set of measures to form the basis of an HEI policy / statement of commitment. We are currently planning on applying a layered approach along the lines of the Assessment Reform Group’s 2002 model. In a similar vein to how we’ve approached the DCC work, this incorporates and builds on the Principles approach successfully applied elsewhere in the MRD community in a way which I am confident will work for UWE.

Outputs from Work Packages One and Two now available

Posted by Liz Holliday | 1 comment
A key element of the UWE project is to share our experience and deliverables with the wider JISC and HE communities. Following the end of phase one of our project the outputs from work packages one and two are now available on the project website; presented as a narrative case study and a seven stage roadmap with links to all available outputs ( 

The case study summarises our experiences so far, and outlines the key stages in the process that might be adopted or adapted by similar institutions. We're  pleased with our achievements in the time available and would welcome feedback on the presentation and outputs.

Applying the DCC CARDIO quiz: rudimentary benchmarking at UWE

Posted by Stella Fowler | 1 comment
I thought I would follow up on discussions at last week’s policy workshop, where I outlined how we have adapted the mini version of DCC’s CARDIO here at UWE.  

In essence, we have derived a maturity model by extending the mini DCC cardio tool and applying it to the “UWE way”. The result is simply an A3, 2-sided set of statements on a scale against eight key Research Data Management challenges (covering areas such as awareness of risks, funder policy awareness, policies, training, infrastructure, storage, funding, and so on).

By asking people to identify their perception of our current position, and our aspirational position as a university, we have established some tangible as-is and target operating model measures, by stakeholder group where appropriate.   This has currently only been used a little for some early baselining, but we will continue to gather data throughout the life of the project and to refine the direction of travel. As part of the process, we also carefully selected phrases from the project brief so that we have a project trajectory too if we want.   The statements are emotive to engage and, hopefully, virally infiltrate wider discussion. In addition, the statements are re-useable.

This model will form the basis of a Position Statement (a softly-softly entry into policy discussions) and an aspirational, high level Strategy including a vision and principles of commitment.   The model  is not scientific (no weighting even though some middle ground is much further developed than others in statement terms) but does offer a rudimentary benchmarking measure for use with an unlimited range of stakeholders here at UWE.  

Finally, while we have looked at collating the data electronically, we are finding that there is mileage in having a paper version as some stakeholders tend to find this more accessible. We will, none-the-less, be trialling it with PowerPoint Turning Point (voting buttons) over the coming months with some of our senior managers.   In the meantime, we will be updating our website over the coming weeks to include this maturity model, and other outputs to date, which will be encased in something of a narrative UWE case study.   For those of you who haven’t yet looked at the CARDIO quiz, it can be found at Aside from its uses in the above context, I found this an incredibly useful opener on my third day in post at the DCC Roadshow in Loughborough!