DaMaRO training materials available online, plus final reflections

We’re pleased to announce that the final version of the teaching materials for the DaMaRO Project’s half-day Introduction to Research Data Management course are now available from the newly-created Training Materials page on our website. The course offers an overview of a selection of key data management topics (including day-to-day data management, back-up and security, metadata and documentation, data sharing and preservation, and data management planning). It consists of a mixture of presentation and exercises, including a chance for participants to begin drafting a data management plan for their own research.

DaMaRO 2013 Introduction to Research Data Management course feedback word cloud

Word cloud generated from early course feedback - participants were asked how the course might be improved

We’ve now run this course a total of five times for researchers at the University of Oxford. I blogged about the first two iterations earlier in the year, and we’ve since followed that up with a session for the Humanities Division, plus two for Social Sciences. As we’ve progressed through the series the precise content of the course has evolved: some sections have been shortened or lengthened, or tweaked to reflect the concerns of researchers in different disciplines. We’ve also added more concrete examples, in response to feedback from the early sessions. We’re still waiting to get feedback on the most recent courses, so it’ll be interesting to see how the final groups of participants respond.

On a personal note, I feel I’ve learnt a lot over the year, both about research data management itself and about how best to tell people about it. I’ve enjoyed seeing what got a positive reaction in the face-to-face sessions – the nodding heads and scribbling hands that indicate something is relevant and (hopefully) useful,  or if I’m very lucky, the occasional ripple of appreciation that runs round the room when something really strikes home. Though the course element that has consistently got the best reaction is something I can’t really take any credit for: the wonderful Data Sharing and Management Snafu in Three Short Acts video from NYU Health Sciences Libraries. It’s hard to find something that gets so many points across quite so vividly in just a few short minutes – and does so while making you laugh.

At the same time, I’m keenly aware that thus far we’ve only scratched the surface. I’ve delivered training this year to a few dozen researchers, out of a total of roughly ten thousand at the University of Oxford. Hopefully the electronic resources that are available and other initiatives within the University have reached some portion of the others, but it still feels as though we have a long way to go. Still, we’ve made some good progress this year in developing materials and forging links with the academic divisions, and it’s to be hoped that these will form a firm foundation for the post-DaMaRO research data management training work in Oxford.

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