Welcome to the first posting to kick off our blog on this collaborative project investigating drivers and collaborative, consortia-based solutions for research data management!

This project actually started as a series of separate proposals under the ‘Research at Risk’ call that had made it through initial voting stage, and were encouraged to pitch to the JISC expert team at the workshop in Aston University in Birmingham on 26-7 February 2015. We were encouraged to discuss potential collaborations, and – seeing a number of commonalities in our approach to the problems and opportunities posed by RDMS – this project was born.Very happily Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training (CREST) received funding as part of the JISC Research Data Spring initiative to develop A consortial approach to building an integrated RDM system – “small and specialist”. Working in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, the University for the Creative Arts, Arkivum and the University of London Computing Centre (ULCC)  we’re going to be investigating the possibility of building a research data system that could, ultimately, be built and used by CREST Members, and simultaneously provides as a model for other small and / or specialist institutions with increasingly complex research data management requirements and limited resources.

You can take a look at the presentation we constructed for JISC – on the fly! – below. This provides a bit more detail on the different sections and approaches.

SAS_A consortial approach to RDM presentation_final

Stage 1 (April to July 2015) of the project will examine existing systems with the aim of drawing up a baseline of what institutions might need in order to capture, curated, store and protect research data, now and in the future. Case studies from partners will test the flexibility of the core system while also considering commercial and open source options and the potential to accommodate more complex data sets (e.g. for art and design outputs) within a federated system. The aim is to identify the components of, and ultimately design a core system that would allow institutions and their researchers to:

›          compete effectively for research funding;

›          comply with funders’ requirements;

›          develop effective RDM skills and best practice in partnership with researchers;

›          enhance discoverability of research data and ensure its longevity.

The initial stage of the project will result in a series of workshops, a toolkit comprised of three case studies, and a report reviewing policy drivers, institutional strategies, researcher awareness and best practice and a selection of responsive design options for a pilot shared service.

We’ll use these pages to keep you all up to date on the progress of the project, as we all test out various ideas, engage with Heads of Research, research administrators, repository managers, technical support staff and developers, people collating information on research impact, start-up initiatives looking at using data to connect researchers….etc. It’s going to be a busy few months; we hope you find this blog both useful and interesting as we progress with the project.

If you would like further information about the project, or to feed in ideas, you can contact me – Dr Alisa Miller (alisa.miller@guildhe.ac.uk) representing CREST and GuildHE – who will be working as project coordinator and drafting the overall report. Also working on the project, and contributing to the blog, are:

Carlos Silva and Leigh Garrett from University for the Creative Arts
Mark Joyce and Dr Helen Morris from Leeds Trinity University
Dr Matthew Addis from Arkivum
Rory McNicholl and Timothy Miles-Board from ULCC

Click here to read the original CREST news story about the project, which also was circulated to GuildHE and CREST Member VCs and Research Leads via the GuildHE and CREST newsletters and papers.