3-month report: September to November 2015


Projects and service development

RDM Oxford postcard

New Research Data Oxford postcard (click for larger image)

The University IT Innovation Challenges funded the Blender 3D project which is progressing well. The Project Manager Rowan Wilson has setup the software needed on the new hardware (dual titan CUDA capable GTX graphic card, 64GB RAM no less!) needed to develop the simulations. He has met with the two researchers identified in the project proposal (engineering and geography), and started discussions with other academics working in neuro-anatomy, humanities, oncology and robotics. A key aspect of the project is making it easy and quick to run short compute-intensive jobs on ARC e.g. rendering a 3D video of a Blender model constructed using a large dataset (e.g. Lidar, CT, fMRI and simulated data created using MatLab). Rowan will use the ITIL Service Design documentation to start describing the project deliverables as a sustainable service, focused on supporting researchers in preparing data by stepping through pre-defined data transformation workflows.

James Wilson and James Cummings are leading on the Participant Data project to write a detailed project plan (‘PID’) that will enhance the scope of the service we can offer academics with respect to managing data about people effectively and safely. There are a number of different options that we can take in terms of project scope and definition and we will discuss these with the project steering group to decide where to focus before taking the project to the Research IT board for funding.

Martin Hadley is leading the Live Data project. He organized a very successful first data visualization network event at OeRC, has started preparing the data science curriculum with Steve Albury in the ITLP team, has several academic case studies under development and hopes to have the showcase website up in January 2016. The main area we need to think carefully about on this project relates to license negotiations with the cloud service providers (Plot.ly, Tableau and Shiny) to ensure their data is safe. We’ll use the new cloud services toolkit (Oxford-only access) to make sure we follow best practice.

James and Meriel worked with library colleagues to enhance the Research Data Oxford site, to create new data management planning guidance customized for Oxford academics using the DMP Online tool, and also created new RDM postcards to advertise the RDM services we offer. We continue to refine the new ORDS services, working closely with colleagues across IT Services. We hope to make use of ORDS APIs soon to create data visualizations, and a browse/search functionality in the standardized Drupal instance being developed by Software Solutions.

Martin Wynne is delivering the final phases of the Clarin Eric and Plus project work. He will organize an event here in Oxford April 2016 and plan several similar events that promote EU corpus linguistic repository services. He will also deliver a number of written case studies that focus on specific repositories.

Ken Kahn continues to work with the oncology department to support their work using Agent-Based modelling to understand the role of gene interactions in cancer development. Ken is producing a new web service that outputs a simulation of the tumor and graphing of the tumor statistics to help with a new project grant application. The web service posts the model experiments to ARC which returns the data set for graphing and visualization. We may even be able to produce a 3d rendering of the data using Rowan’s expertise i.e. java script needed to make a WebGL animation.

James Cummings remains the Oxford Scientist in Charge for the ongoing DiXiT Project, a Marie Curie Initial Training Network, but his Experienced Researcher Magdalena Turska departs the Research Support Team as of the 30 November 2015.  She goes to work with the people from eXist Solutions, who are providing development and support for a number of Oxford projects using the eXist-db Native XML Database. James also continues to work with iSicily and LEAP projects. A recent SSHRC funding bid has been successful for more work with the REED project.

Teaching and events

All the team offered a wide range of taught courses to the ITLP programming: Introduction to ORDS, Research Data Management Planning, Exploring Online Language Resources (previously known as ‘corpus linguistics’), Blender, Copyright in the digital world, XML Editing: Basic XML editing with the oXygen XML Editor, XPath: Using XPath to search in the oXygen XML Editor, TEI Guidelines: An overview of the recommendations of the Text Encoding Initiative, XSLT: Transform your XML documents, and the 7 week ABM course.

Rowan has started a Policy Forum for members of the University to discuss and review current IT Services policies. Rowan will also lead a review of all current IT-related policies and report findings to the deputy CIO.

Martin Wynne and Rowan also worked with ITLP to organize another term of lunchtime courses delivered by academics focused on research data.

James Cummings has worked, as member of the Research Software Developers Network steering board, to help the RSDN have an ongoing programme of events around the university.

James Cummings continues as the founding Director of the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School (DHOxSS), one of the most important international training events in this field. Planning is well underway with the cross-divisional DHOxSS committee for DHOxSS 2016 which will run from the 4-8 July 2016.

Howard Noble, Lucie Burgess and Glenn Swafford have set up the RDM Delivery group. Key members of IT Services, Bodleian and Research Services staff will meet regularly to ensure the delivery of projects, infrastructure and client services, as well as RDM-related training and events. The first meeting focused on information sharing and resulted in the RDM Roadmap (Oxford-only access) which visualizes a project timeline, courses heat map and funding resources comparison chart. The second meeting will focus on RDM communications for 2016. The third will focus on new funded and business-as-usual projects.

Ken also hosted another local student, Patryk Golec as part of the STEM Ambassador programme. Patryk wrote a summary of his work experience.

Progress against plans for last 3 months

Engagement statistics, September to November 2015

Engagement statistics, September to November 2015

  1. The Live data, Participant data and Blender 3d projects are progressing as planned
  2. Our work with the Bodleian Digital Manuscripts Toolkit project team started 30th November 2015
  3. Howard is working with James Wilson, Meriel, Lucie Burgess, John Southall and other colleagues to organize the next RDM delivery group meeting on the 4th December 2015. We will work on a detailed RDM communications plan for 2016 focused on the services we can provide researchers throughout the RDM life-cycle
  4. We have agreed a detailed project plan for all the remaining Clarin work with OeRC and directors at Utrecht University
  5. Martin Hadley is working with Steve Albury and research colleagues to create a data science curriculum and courses that will start early 2016

Plans for next 3 months

  1. Continue to deliver the Live data, Participant Data, DMT, Blender 3D and Clarin projects as defined in the project plans
  2. Continue to offer our taught courses via ITLP
  3. Deliver the new data science courses and show how they fit to the overall RDM programme of work
  4. Continue to work with RDM delivery group colleagues to maintain and improve the RDM Roadmap, implement the RDM Communication Plan, drive forwards the improvement of current portfolio of infrastructure and client services
  5. Increase uptake of the ORDS service, and make use of the new ORDS APIs for visualization and in websites
  6. Work with Research Services and the Bodleian Libraries to deliver the Act on Acceptance campaign, increase uptake of Ora-Data, and roll out the new Oxford version of DMP Online
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