Since my last blog post about training plans, I’ve been busy surveying the existing data management training material, considering the possibilities for re-use, and then writing an options paper discussing the various ways we could go about meeting Oxford’s needs for data management training material.
Throughout this process, I’ve had three key goals in mind:
- Providing an enhanced set of online information and guidance material
- Providing introductory training materials suitable for use in induction sessions
- Providing teaching materials for a more detailed research data management training course.
The good news is that there’s plenty of promising material already out there. Regarding the first of the three goals, Oxford already has an excellent Research Data Management website (pictured right), and serendipitously, the people behind it are in the process of planning a site update. Over the next few months, we’ll be working with them to expand the content and to provide detailed links to some of the helpful material elsewhere on the Web. Our hope is that this site can become a one-stop-shop for Oxford researchers, providing pointers to all the data management information they need.
Work on the induction materials is well underway. These will take the form of short PowerPoint presentations, plus an accompanying hand-out. The target audience is new postgrads or postdocs, or other researchers wanting to learn about this area, and the aim is to provide a quick, basic introduction: flagging up the key issues and pointing to further information. These resources will be appearing shortly on the DaMaRO website, though we hope that in time these will also be able to move to a more permanent home on the Research Data Management site.
Developing a more detailed research data management training course will be one of this autumn’s major tasks. It will consist of a series of short modules, designed to be flexible, customizable, and easily re-usable. A number of sets of fine course materials have been made available for re-use by previous JISC-funded projects, and we’ll be drawing on these as appropriate.
Most of the existing materials have a strong disciplinary focus. This is great for people within the disciplines that are covered, but can mean that other sectors of the academic community are left out in the cold (there seems to be very little available that’s aimed at the physical sciences, for example). To counter this, we’re exploring the possibility of producing a set of generic training materials which covers the issues relevant to all researchers, which can then be customized by the addition of subject-specific material from a bank of illustrative examples and interactive exercises. Putting together the bank of subject-specific material will be a substantial task, however – so we’d be very interested to hear from anyone who might be interested in contributing to this.