Scoping study and implementation plan released

We are pleased to announce that the Incremental project Scoping study and implementation plan is now available. This report describes our findings from interviews and informal conversations with dozens of researchers and technical support staff across the Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow and outlines our implementation plan for the coming months of the project.

Some highlights from the report:

Simple issues cause serious risks and irritation

Many researchers, across disciplines, are unaware of the best formats and storage media to preserve or share files, and many have no clear naming or file structure conventions. These kinds of relatively simple issues pose the risk of serious data losses in the short and long term, and frequently cost researchers’ time and frustration searching for data or trying to revive old files.

Resources must be simple, engaging and easy to access

Researchers were interested in guidance, simple tools, and support for data management, but this came with several caveats. Information needs to be clear, quick to understand, engaging, and relevant to their circumstances. They are often unaware of existing resources and training and don’t know where to look for support. Many complained that training is often inconveniently timed and not well-tailored to their needs, suggesting online resources, ‘a really smart little leaflet’ or someone to talk to face-to-face would be more helpful.

Language matters

Our study underscored the need to provide jargon-free guidance – most researchers don’t know what ‘digital curation’ is and humanities researchers don’t think of their manuscripts as ‘data’. Researchers and support staff tended to be suspicious of ‘policies,’ which sound like hollow mandates, but were sometimes receptive to ‘procedures’ or ‘advice’ which may be essentially the same thing, but convey a sense of purpose and assistance rather than requirement.

And so, here are our plans:

1. Produce simple, accessible, visual guidance on creating, storing, and managing data

This will include producing easy-to-navigate centralised webpages at each institution, pointing researchers to existing support and new resources created by the project. We’ll consider the format of guidance and move towards more engaging formats such as illustrated fact sheets, flow diagrams, checklists, and FAQs.

2. Offer practical data training with discipline-specific examples and local champions

We will work with enthusiasts within departments to embed slides and resources within existing training and inductions (i.e. train the trainer). We will also create brief online tutorials and/or screen-casts, and include case-studies from within disciplines wherever possible.

3. Connect researchers with support staff who offer one-to-one advice, guidance, and partnering

We will work with departments and the research office within each institution to make sure that researchers are referred to existing support staff for one-to-one advice during the proposal-writing stage of projects and beyond.

4. Work towards the development of a comprehensive data management infrastructure

This project is part of an overall effort to support data management and preservation activities at both institutions, and will be continued through the broader research data infrastructure and policy development at Cambridge and Glasgow.

Very exciting! For more information, have a look at the report.  As ever, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions.


12 Responses to Scoping study and implementation plan released

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Trevor Munoz. Trevor Munoz said: RT @simonhodson99: Incremental Project study into researcher data mgmnt needs @ UCambridge Blog […]

  2. Martie van Deventer says:

    This is spot-on what I have found to be true in my own research. I would love to be able to do so but am not able to access your full report – the indication is that the file is damaged. Please could you check?

    • @Martie van Deventer – (Sorry, your comment go trapped in the spam filter for few days!) Thanks very much for your feedback. I apologise that you’re not able to access the full report through the link. When I click on it, it comes up just fine, so I’m not sure what the problem is. Send an e-mail to Lesley at lf310[at] and we’ll send you a copy directly.

  3. […] Posted on July 15, 2010 by mecatproj The University of Cambridge and University of Glasgow have a joint project on data management named “Incremental”.  See their blog entry Scoping study and implementation plan released. […]

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  8. This project is part of an overall effort to support data management and preservation activities at both institutions, and will be continued through the broader research data infrastructure and policy development at Cambridge and Glasgow

  9. Projekt domu powinien być dostosowany do naszych potrzeb. Nie jest to stwierdzenie, które jest nowe, ale niestety podczas dokonywania wyborów często popełniane są przez nas błędy, które potem rzutują na komfort życia całej rodziny. Jakie błędy popełniane są najczęściej. Problem pojawia się już na początku.

  10. Współczesny człowiek coraz częściej zwraca uwagę ma wygląd domu, w którym mieszka. Nie chcemy przecież mieszkać w byle jakim domu. Chcemy, aby był on

  11. Jeśli jednak mamy nieco bardziej wygórowane wymagania i zwyczajnie nie potrafimy znaleźć nigdzie takiego domu, jaki nam się marzy, to lepiej jest zdecydować się na indywidualny projekt. Dzięki temu wszystko będzie w pełni dostosowane do naszego gustu. Warto jednak pamiętać o tym, iż nie każde nasze życzenie musi zostać spełnione przez architekta – z reguły domy muszą być dostosowane do pozostałej zabudowy w okolicy oraz być zgodne z prawem budowlanym.

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