Good research data management involves careful handling and organisation of research data throughout the research lifecycle. Data manager Madeleine de Smaele and the Research Data Services team are launching a new tool to help guide TU Delft researchers through the planning process.
“I started at TU Delft about 30 years ago in the Library, so I’ve done a lot of different jobs here. For about eight years now I have been really involved in research data. The Library has established a team, which I’m a part of, that provides tools and services to support researchers with their research data management. We work closely with the Faculty Data Stewards who are providing discipline-specific data management support.
My role on the team is that I manage the 4TU.ResearchData archive which we developed about 10 years ago. When a project has ended researchers are expected to make the data publicly available in a trusted data repository. That’s what funders are requiring nowadays. The idea is that results from publicly funded research, publications and data should be made available for other researchers and for society. That’s the whole idea behind the open science movement and that’s what we try to achieve by providing the data archive.
‘Knowing what to include in a plan can be a challenge for researchers’
We are now introducing a new service called DMPonline. It’s a tool that researchers can use to write data management plans. Knowing what to include in a plan can be a challenge for researchers. To help them save time and to make their lives easier, DMPonline offers a range of templates, including a TU Delft template. Each template has customised guidance to provide TU Delft researchers with information on local support, infrastructure and services available at TU Delft that they can include in their plan. The tool also enables a review of the plan by the Faculty Data Steward.
We started working on this about a year ago and are happy to make the service available now. In setting up the new tool and creating the TU Delft template, we have collaborated with other departments at TU Delft because research data management involves many aspects. Think, for example, of ICT when it comes to data storage solutions during a research project or legal affairs when there are data protection issues. The Ethics Committee is playing an important role as well when data involves human subjects, where there might be ethical or privacy concerns. As I said, there are a lot of departments involved in this collaboration.
What we would like to achieve is a more streamlined process in which experts are alerted in an automated way when researchers, filling out the template, need specific advice. Though not finalised yet, I’m sure DMPonline can help in creating an efficient workflow and minimise the duplication of effort for researchers as well as support staff. I think that’s a big part of the value of the tool.”
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