Paper Digital Humanities Australasia 2018

Proactive support for managing Research Data at UniSA (128)

Karl Sellman 1 , Ann Morgan 1
  1. University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia

UniSA identified the requirement to assist Researchers with Data Management Planning in 2015. This was in part initiated by Seeding the Commons funding from the Australian National Data Service but also an understanding of the importance of data management planning during the research lifecycle. Furthermore a review of the global funding landscape highlighted a trend for including data management plans in grant applications and an increase in publishers and funding bodies requesting access to data.

UniSA Library, Information Strategy and Technology Services (ISTS) and Research and Innovation Services (RIS) partnered to review the requirements and develop this capability for researchers.

A number of software tools were reviewed but did not meet the key differentiating requirement – to have one system that interacted with existing software already in place minimising the administration work required by researchers. An in-house online tool was designed, developed and implemented, called the Data Management Planning System (DMPS). This was the first of its kind in Australia interacting with and ingesting data from other systems including Research Management Software, Library Management System, Publications Reporting System, Finance and HR modules. 

Further development resulted in a public interface to metadata captured in the DMPS called the UniSA’s Research Data Access Portal (DAP) which allows the promotion of research data internationally through Research Data Australia (RDA).

This presentation provides an insight into the development and implementation phases of the software, outlines the lessons learnt and identifies key tips for others embarking on similar initiatives.

In 2017, Library and Information Strategy and Technology Services (ISTS) staff were approached for assistance in managing Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate’s data. There was a lack of understanding in research data management procedures, inconsistent practices, retention of research data, and storage availability which internal and external supervisors could access.

This was seen as a further opportunity where the DMPS and DAP could be utilised. A pilot program was conducted including 30 candidates and their supervisors (including industry partners). Library and ISTS staff assisted the school to develop a Data Management Policy for the HDR candidates, the candidates in creating Data Management Plans and providing an allocation of storage that could also be accessed by their supervisors. Metadata describing the projects is then published in the UniSA DAP and where possible data will be openly accessible and linked to associated publications in the UniSA Research Outputs Repository.

The Data Management Plan initiated conversations between candidates and supervisors about how research data should be managed during their candidature while providing access to their data for maximum benefit to the School and University. In 2018, interest has grown and similar policies have since been developed for approximately 150 additional candidates across different disciplines. Data Management Plans are now part of the Confirmation of Candidature process for HDR candidates in most Faculties within the Institution and researchers are using and updating these plans throughout candidature. This presentation provides an overview of this pilot program and articulates the planning, implementation and review phases that are underway.