Damaro Progress Report, October 2012

It’s been a busy October as Damaro starts producing the policies and service agreements that will shape the DataBank and DataFinder Services when they launch in 2013. This work has been going on alongside the continued development of the software, a surfeit of conferences and workshops, a survey of training needs in the sciences, and, as if that weren’t enough, the restructuring of the University’s IT Services. When Damaro began it was under the aegis of our Infrastructure Group; now it’s part of our Academic IT Services group. The personnel are the same, just translated. At least the Bodleian Libraries project members are unaffected by such upheavals, or rather they were until it was announced that the Bodleian Digital Library Systems Services group would also be getting a makeover. No risk of stagnation here!

The University of Oxford Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records is now available from our central research data management website, or via a direct link to http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/media/global/wwwadminoxacuk/localsites/researchdatamanagement/documents/Policy_on_the_Management_of_Research_Data_and_Records.pdf. We’ll be adding a gloss to it in due course.

Over the last month project team members have attended the JISC MRD Programme workshop in Nottingham, the training workshop in London, the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) meeting in Dublin, and the Oxford Open Science Group meeting back in Oxford, spreading the Damaro word and learning from our colleagues near and far. The Damaro Project Update presentation is available from the Damaro Project outputs’ page, as is the new project poster. Not resting on our laurels, the Damaro team have also had two papers, a poster, and a software demonstration accepted by the International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC 2013), which will be held in Amsterdam from the 14th to 17th of January, 2013. Reserve your places now!

Our training work this month has involved setting up courses with the Divisions and Departments at Oxford – vital if we are to embed research data management training in the University and ensure it can continue beyond the project itself. We’ve also been running a survey of training needs across our science departments. We have a pretty good understanding already of what our humanities researchers and social scientists would like, but our scientists have thus far been under-represented. We’ll report on our new findings in a future blog post.

We’ve also been working with staff from our IT Services’ Web Design Consultancy team to ensure our user interfaces look good and meet accessibility standards, and we now have a set of ‘wireframes’ for our testing team to explore – ensuring that it’s clear from a users’ perspective how to contribute DataFinder records as well as discovering data deposit by those who came before.

Finally, a plea to any readers interested in establishing research data management infrastructures at other institutions… We have some JISC funding to test our forthcoming Database as a Service (DaaS) software outside of Oxford – to see how we would need to adapt it to meet the needs of other higher education institutions. The DaaS will enable researchers to build, edit, share, and publish relational databases online, in a manner that enables the long-term preservation of and access to the data therein. We’re anticipating conducting this testing between February and May 2013, but it would be great to hear from any interested parties in advance. If you think there would be any call for such a service at your own university, do get in touch by email us at ords@it.ox.ac.uk. Enquiries about the Damaro project should be addressed instead to damaro@oucs.ox.ac.uk.

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