Two weeks ago, a meeting of the data management minds took place in Berkeley, California. There were two back-to-back meetings to kick off projects funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (read the blog post about it) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Here we provide a report of each meeting.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Project: “DMPTool2: Responding to the Community”
The primary goal of this project is to improve on the DMPTool (free, easy-to-use application that guides researchers through the process of creating data management plans). To accomplish this, we aim to build on the success of the tool to create DMPTool2, and use this improved version as a centerpiece for encouraging collaboration in data management efforts across all stakeholder groups (researchers, institutions, funders, libraries). In support of the project goals, we convened a meeting of DMPTool partners to synchronize the project kickoff efforts and revisit our planned activities. The meeting aimed to review:
- Current DMPTool status
- Community engagement plans
- Functional development plans
- Metrics for impact and success
Meeting participants were mainly from founding DMPTool institutions. Over the course of the 1.5 day meeting, participants reviewed the course of the DMPTool thus far, the expectations and plans for the project, and then specific activities for the next 12 or so months. Some highlights include:
- Observations that the DMPTool has had significant use, but should to put increased emphasis on gaining repeat users and providing more value to users. Underlying this point, while the team aims to address user needs and demands, it is important to still stress that the goal should be making data management planning EASIER, rather than just EASY. Research data lives in a complex environment and this must not be underestimated.
- Community engagement in coming months will be on many fronts. Some include development of two advisory boards, one focused on administrative users and one on researchers. The team will also implement the planned governance structure to give the user community greater access to and participation in future directions and ownership of the DMPTool; this will be in the very near term.
- Functionality for this project ranges far and wide, but fits into two main broad categories: functions for the researcher (ie. Writing plans, finding resources, getting advice, etc.) and functions for the administrative user (ie. Reporting on institutional use, adding institutional guidance, etc.). The team will offer blog posts on specific technical elements, request feedback, and conduct user testing as the project moves along. Expect first posts in coming weeks.
- The last discussion of the meeting was around metrics for impact and success, what’s possible, what’s easy versus hard, and what matters to our different constituents. We have many ideas in this area, and will have blog posts to outline some of these points and request feedback in coming weeks.
IMLS Grant Project: “Improving Data Stewardship with the DMPTool: Empowering Libraries to Seize Data Management Education”
The meeting funded by the IMLS grant took place over February 21-22. The primary goal of this project is to provide librarians with the tools and resources to claim the data management education space. In an effort to ensure the tools and resources developed meet the needs of librarians, we convened a meeting of DMPTool partners, as well as librarians from five University of California campuses. We had three goals for the meeting:
- Identify the resources most useful for helping librarians use the DMPTool for outreach.
- Prioritize resources based on user profiles and use cases.
- Create timelines and brainstorm dissemination tactics for resources to be developed.
Participants were primarily librarians, along with members of the DMPTool partner institutions. Over the course of the two day meeting, we discussed the barriers and solutions associated with using the DMPTool as a librarian, especially for outreach. Common themes emerged related to a lack of support and education, as well as limited resources including time, money, personnel, and institution-level services. Poor communication among institutional partners and stakeholders was also often mentioned. The solutions proposed to eliminate these barriers became the template for potential products from the IMLS grant. Here we present a list of proposed outcomes and tasks for the project, i.e. things that will help librarians use the DMPTool effectively on their campuses:
- Checklist/talking points documents & brown bag kit for librarians to talk to campus partners and stakeholders, including researchers, VCRs, Special Projects/Grants offices, IT, and other librarians
- Slide deck for presenting to researchers
- Promotional materials (posters, pamphlets, bookmarks, postcards, flyers) that can be customized for the institution
- Startup Kit for undergoing an environmental scan of institutional resources and services
- DMPTool Webinar Series for librarians
- DMPTool Screencasts for users, librarians
- A collection of case studies of institutions using the DMPTool successfully
- A collection data management success and horror stories
- A calendar of funder deadlines
- DMPTool Libguide
A larger outcome of the IMLS grant will be that we plan to set up an online common space that allows for sharing customization of tool, provides a forum for user conversation streams, provides access to materials developed by the grant project, and can be used as a platform for collecting use cases, success and horror stories. The list above is only a subset of the long list of suggestions that emerged from our meeting. Stay tuned into this blog for more updates as the project progresses.