The following article was recently published by PLOS One.
University of Sheffield
Published December 8, 2014
The management of research data is now a major challenge for research organisations. Vast quantities of born-digital data are being produced in a wide variety of forms at a rapid rate in universities. This paper analyses the contribution of academic libraries to research data management (RDM) in the wider institutional context. In particular it: examines the roles and relationships involved in RDM, identifies the main components of an RDM programme, evaluates the major drivers for RDM activities, and analyses the key factors influencing the shape of RDM developments.
The study is written from the perspective of library professionals, analysing data from 26 semi-structured interviews of library staff from different UK institutions. This is an early qualitative contribution to the topic complementing existing quantitative and case study approaches. Results show that although libraries are playing a significant role in RDM, there is uncertainty and variation in the relationship with other stakeholders such as IT services and research support offices. Current emphases in RDM programmes are on developments of policies and guidelines, with some early work on technology infrastructures and support services. Drivers for developments include storage, security, quality, compliance, preservation, and sharing with libraries associated most closely with the last three. The paper also highlights a ‘jurisdictional’ driver in which libraries are claiming a role in this space. A wide range of factors, including governance, resourcing and skills, are identified as influencing ongoing developments. From the analysis, a model is constructed designed to capture the main aspects of an institutional RDM programme.
This model helps to clarify the different issues involved in RDM, identifying layers of activity, multiple stakeholders and drivers, and a large number of factors influencing the implementation of any initiative. Institutions may usefully benchmark their activities against the data and model in order to inform ongoing RDM activity.