Furthering Open Science through Research Data Management Services

As I begin my second year at CDL, I am excited to outline the objectives and key activities for my work: furthering research data management (RDM) practices that support open science at the University of California and beyond. 

I conceptualize our work in the larger context of what an ideal RDM ecosystem might be: wherein open science practices are universally understood and implemented by data creators and stewards and built upon the bedrock of simple, interoperable RDM infrastructure and optimal open data policy. Below are four key ways in  which RDM services at CDL contribute to this overall effort in 2021.

  1. Facilitating Communication Between Data Librarians and Researchers

For almost ten years now, the DMPTool web application has provided accessible, jargon-free, practical guidance for researchers to create and implement effective data management plans for 30+ funding agencies. Thanks to our dedicated Editorial Board we are able to keep the tool up in sync with current funder requirements and best practices. 

In 2021, we will be expanding our outreach to the library community by offering quarterly community calls with DMPTool users in order to discuss new features, highlight community use, and facilitate feedback. Additionally, the DMPTool Editorial Board will analyze existing guidance within the tool to identify aspects that need to be updated or new topics that should be included. The DMPTool has long been a community-supported application and we will continue to expand our engagement with the community as we grow the application. 

  1. Serving as an Interoperable Partner in Essential RDM Services

Our work developing the next generation of machine-actionable, networked DMPs builds upon community developed standards and is rooted in collaboration. In order to create the new networked DMP, these partnerships will continue to be essential to our success. Last year’s release of the RDA DMP Common Standard for machine-actionable Data Management Plans and the recent report Implementing Effective Data Practices: Stakeholder Recommendations for Collaborative Research Support (written by CDL, ARL, AAU & APLU) are testament to the power of these partnerships. We simply get more done when we work together. Additionally our continued collaboration with DMPonline allows us to share resources as we co-develop via the DMPRoadmap codebase, share best practices, and advance new features jointly. 

Looking ahead, in 2021, we will expand on our collaborations including:

  • Partnering with DataCite to encourage adoption of the new DMP ID, a resource made possible by the forthcoming metadata scheme update. Expect more updates on this soon!
  • A new integration between the DMPTool and electronic lab notebook platforms, starting with RSpace.
  • Partnering with the UC Natural Reserve System and the Tetiaroa Society to advance data policies supporting open science at working field stations.
  1. Supporting a Transparent Research Process 

Much of our work last year was focused on developing the backend infrastructure necessary to confidently be able to say DMPTool DMPs are machine-actionable. 

With the infrastructure in place and development completed, in 2021 we will be releasing several new features to expand the possibilities of the new networked DMP and help ensure transparency in the research process. Many of these new features are currently being pilot tested as part of the FAIR Island Project. We will also be conducting webinars in the coming weeks to gather feedback from the community to further inform our iterative feature development and release cycles.

  1. Developing Optimal Open Data Policies 

The FAIR Island project is a real-world use case evaluating the impact of implementing optimal research data management policies and requirements; the project will help demonstrate and publicize the outcomes of strong data policies in practice at a working field station. 

With the recent addition of Erin Robinson to the team, the FAIR Island project is making swift progress towards implementing a data policy that will govern data collected on the Tetiaroa atoll. This data policy is still open to community feedback so if you are interested in contributing, now is your chance! Please share your thoughts via this survey

In 2021, the FAIR Island project team will continue to advance and iterate on the data policy, working with additional field stations to advance data policies supporting open science. In partnership with the UC Natural Reserve System and 4Site network, we aim to move toward a common, optimal data policy that can be shared amongst UC field stations and other partner sites. To keep abreast of our progress please check out our project website where we are tracking project work in our blog. 

How to contribute
Building on a solid foundation of community developed standards for DMPs and FAIR data, this year we will be moving much of this work from theory into real world implementation. 

It’s an exciting time for these developments and we welcome all questions, comments, and advice.  Please reach out with your thoughts!

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