Scoping Machine-Actionable DMPs

Machine-actionable data management plans (maDMPs) are happening. Over the past several years we’ve contributed to community discussions and various events to suss out what we all mean by this term and why we think maDMPs are important. In the midst of these efforts, we (California Digital Library) also received an NSF EAGER grant to prototype maDMPs and are now in the process of designing that work.

To connect our prototyping with the constantly evolving maDMP landscape, we remain active in the Research Data Alliance, Force11, domain-based efforts (e.g., AGU Enabling FAIR Data), and of course we run the DMPTool service as part of an international policy/support initiative called the DMP Roadmap project. We also recently helped launch a website activedmps.org to identify all of the people and projects across the globe working on maDMPs.

In keeping with this community thread, as well as for our own edification, we’re kicking off an maDMP blog series. The primary goal is to offer some framing documents so other stakeholders, especially those who’ve invested as much time as we have thinking about such an obscure topic (!), can help us ask and answer the many outstanding questions about maDMPs. A secondary motivation is to respond to the frequent queries from our users and other stakeholders about how to envision and plan for an maDMP future, which seems inevitable as more of us begin to prototype in different directions.

For this inaugural scoping piece we want to address the following high-level questions. And just to reiterate, the answers herein are distilled from our own thinking; by no means do we think that these are the correct or only answers. We invite others to challenge our ideas at any/every step along the way.

  1. What are maDMPs?
  2. What are they not? 
  3. Who are they for?
  4. How are they different from “traditional” DMPs?
  5. What does this mean for the future of DMPs and support services?

…What comes next?

 

1. What are maDMPs?
maDMPs are a vehicle for reporting on the intentions and outcomes of a research project that enable information exchange across relevant parties and systems. They contain an inventory of key information about a project and its outputs (not just data), with a change history that stakeholders can query for updated information about the project over its lifetime. The basic framework requires common data models for exchanging information, currently under development in the RDA DMP Common Standards WG, as well as a shared ecosystem of services that send notifications and act on behalf of humans. Other components of the vision include machine-actionable policies, persistent identifiers (PIDs) (e.g., ORCID iDs, funder IDs, forthcoming Org IDs, RRIDs for biomedical resources, protocols.io, IGSNs for geosamples, etc), and the removal of barriers for information sharing.

2. What are they not?
maDMPs are not a collection of best practices for creating a data management plan (those exist already, Michener 2015) nor are they a comprehensive record of every detail about a research project and how it was conducted (i.e., they are not the Open Science Framework). It is out of scope to use maDMPs to connect all the things in the universe and try to solve reproducibility. Instead they are a plan and instructions about how to implement the plan, as well as a report about the completion of the plan; this plan includes an inventory/registry of research outputs and information about what to do with each thing (e.g., length of time to retain a dataset in a repository).

3. Who are they for?
maDMPs are focused primarily on infrastructure providers, systems, and those responsible for creating and enforcing research data policies. maDMPs are not focused primarily on researchers, data librarians, or other research support staff. However, broad adoption by all stakeholders in the research enterprise is required to achieve the the goals of the policies and ideally everyone will reap the benefits. Here is a (roughly) ranked-order list of the target audience for maDMPs:

  • Funder: funding agencies and foundations that specify requirements for DMPs and monitor compliance.
  • Repository Operator: General (e.g., Zenodo, Dryad), disciplinary (e.g., GenBank, ICPSR), and institutional data repositories.
  • Infrastructure Provider: Providers of systems for creating DMPs (DMPTool, DMPonline), grants administration, researcher profiles (RIMS/CRIS), etc. .
  • Institutional Administrator: Office of Research/Sponsored Programs, Chief Information Officers, University Librarians, others.
  • Ethics Review: Institutional Review Boards (IRB)/Research Ethics Boards (REB) that authorize human subjects research.
  • Legal Expert: Technology transfer offices; copyright and patent experts.
  • Publisher: Purveyors of article and data publication services.
  • Researcher: Principal Investigator and collaborators, including postdoctoral researchers, graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Research Support Staff: Data managers/curators, research administrators, and data librarians.
machine-actionable DMP info flows

Examples of stakeholder interactions within the ecosystem of machine-actionable DMPs. Stakeholders communicate with each other by exchanging information through DMPs. For example, a repository operator can select a proper repository, set an embargo period, and assign a correct license to data submitted by researchers. In return, a system acting on behalf of a repository operator provides a list of DOIs assigned to the data and provides information on costs of storage and preservation. This in turn can be accessed by a funder to check how the DMP was implemented.

4. How are they different from “traditional” DMPs?
The vision for maDMPs is to automate certain pieces of the DMP process, especially to alleviate the administrative burden of entering the same information in multiple places (e.g. it would be great if a researcher could recycle part or all of an IRB application for a DMP, or generate a Biosketch/CV automatically from their ORCID profile, or automatically generate a data availability statement when publishing data/articles). There is still a need for a human-readable narrative that describes digital research methods and outputs, but the main difference is that it should be updatable so that DMPs can become useful beyond the grant application stage.

5. What does this mean for the future of DMPs and support services?
We get asked this question often, most recently in the form of a provocative email from Dr. Devan Ray Donaldson as he was designing the curriculum for his digital curation course at Indiana University Bloomington.

Our response: Librarians and other digital curation experts absolutely have a role to play in supporting researchers with DMPs and data management issues more broadly. At CDL we spend a lot of time digging into the weeds of digital curation issues with librarians and researchers at all 10 UC campuses and we noticed that a major barrier to effectively supporting researchers is that they don’t recognize the language/jargon of digital curation. At the risk of self-promotion I’ll direct you to this guide that we created based on our collective experiences as researchers, and now as people who support researchers, called “Support Your Data.” John Borghi was the main driver of the project (more details from him here) and we’re now developing more attractive resources and a website to adapt for your purposes if you find these materials useful. The goal is to educate researchers about good data management practices by relating to their current practices, and demonstrate how small habits (e.g., file naming conventions) can amount to better/more efficient research.

… What comes next?
maDMPs present an opportunity to move DMPs beyond a compliance exercise by providing needed structure, interoperability, and added-value functionality to support open, reusable research data. We’re designing and developing an open framework for maDMPs that builds on existing initiatives and infrastructure. There are numerous efforts focused on connecting people and outputs (e.g., ORCID, Wikidata, Scholix, NCBI accession numbers). We want to link this information with grant numbers to create a dynamic inventory of assertions about a grant-funded research project (note: in the future we’ll also consider DMPs not associated with grants).

Step 1 for us is to get seed data from our partners at BCO-DMO and the UC Berkeley Gump Field Station on Moorea and structure it to define native maDMPs. We’ll discuss subsequent steps in future blog posts. Stay tuned!

Release notes: Translations and more

We’re back to a two-week sprint rhythm and have some exciting new things in the latest release:

  • Translations: Our collaborators at the Portage Network in Canada helped internationalize the new version of the platform and various others contributed translations of DMPonline prior to the launch. We’ve added many new features to the DMP Roadmap codebase since then. It also took some wrangling to establish a process for handling and updating translation files. We’re happy to report that the DMPTool now offers a Brazilian Portuguese translation, with additional languages in the works (Spanish, Catalán, French, German, Japanese…). Users can adjust language selections for a given session in the dropdown menu at the upper right. You can also save a default language selection for your account under Edit profile. Please note that all DMPTool templates for US funders are available in English only at the moment.

language selector dropdown

  • Request feedback emails: We made some adjustments to these based on feedback from admins. Now a participating organization must provide a primary contact email on the Organization details page in order to enable the Request feedback functionality. When a user submits a plan for feedback, the system will deliver an email notification to this primary contact email (not to everyone with admin privileges at that org as it did previously). We plan to continue refining this functionality during future sprints so please let us know what does and doesn’t work for you.
  • Guidance: Admins will notice a slight change here; you are now required to apply exactly one theme to each piece of guidance (using the radio buttons). For organizations that have guidance tagged with multiple themes, the guidance will still work and show for the existing themes. However, when you edit or update the guidance you will only see one of the themes selected and will only be able to select one from this point forward.

guidance page with theme radio buttons

  • Bug fixes and usability improvements: We’re ironing out some kinks with table sorting and searching during this latest sprint and continuing into the next one. Read the full release notes for a complete list of bug fixes and many thanks to our international user community for reporting most of these issues!

In other news

Please join me for a deep dive webinar into Themes, Templates, and Guidance on 18 July, 9-10 am PDT. Register here. The recording will be available afterward.

DMPTool promo materials are in the mail! If you want some new, blue postcards and stickers and didn’t already place your order, follow this link. And thanks to all those who provided suggestions in the order form about how we can help you help researchers create DMPs. We’ll do our best to follow up on them!

dmptool postcard

Release notes: Templates and more

The Roadmap development team just finished a huge chunk of work that we rolled out to DMPTool users this week. Prior to launching the new version of the tool we focused on optimizing the primary user side: creating DMPs. With this new release, we’ve made significant improvements to the administrative side, specifically to overhaul the way admins create and version templates.

In the midst of this major refactoring effort, we did some additional maintenance, upgrades, and accepted the first new feature contribution from our French partners at DMP OPIDoR (many thanks to Benjamin and Quentin!). The full release notes are available on GitHub. Most of the magic takes place behind the scenes, but keep reading for a summary of changes that affect the user interface.

  • Templates: You’ll notice some subtle changes as you create, edit, and update templates and customizations for funder templates. Previously, any changes you made to a template would trigger a new version. Now you can make changes to template details (Title, Description, update broken links) without versioning. Any structural changes, such as adding a new question or example answer or adding customized guidance to a funder template will create a new version. In the main templates table you will see a red editing icon (screenshot below) if you’ve made changes that created a new version. The icon includes a tooltip that alerts you to publish your changes (in the Actions menu) in order to make them available to users. You can always “Unpublish” templates and customizations at any time. You will only see the option to “Remove” (i.e. from the table/from view)  a template that has not been used to create any plans (e.g. test templates) or a customization that has not been previously published. Detailed instructions are available in the Help for Administrators.

publish changes

  • Global notifications: Super Admins (me) now have the ability to create global notifications that will be displayed to all users. These appear at the top of the screen and alert users to important news items such as scheduled maintenance or updates to funder templates. Users can dismiss the notifications by clicking the ‘x’ on the right (if I configure them to be dismissable; there may be cases where you cannot dismiss the notification but I don’t anticipate using this frequently).

global notifications

We appreciate the feedback we’ve received so far and encourage everyone to keep it coming. Specifically, let us know what additional improvements we can make to the templates and guidance areas as you test the newly released code. A note: many have reported issues with searching and sorting tables, which we’re addressing as part of the next sprint. Please report any new feedback via Github Issues or the helpdesk.

Upcoming events

  • With this latest release, the timing is finally right for a templates and guidance webinar. We’re aiming for a date in early July (TBD very soon). The recording will be available afterward.
  • For those who ordered outreach materials, you will receive them in the next 2-3 weeks. Thanks for your patience!

 

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

Our DMPTool and DMPonline services have been humming along with the same underlying code for a couple of months now. Since our MVP release, we’ve shifted gears to more regular sprints. We’re also pleasantly surprised by how eager the wider DMP community has been to join forces in migrating, translating, and even contributing new features already! Here’s a brief retrospective and a glimpse into the future.

Post MVP Backlog
There is a modest backlog of work that didn’t make into the MVP release. We’ve prioritized these issues and are focused on tying up the loose ends over the coming months. Those following the DMPRoadmap Github repository will notice regular releases. The goal is to settle into a steady two-week rhythm, but in the near term we’re working on slightly shorter or longer cycles to address critical bugs and some minor refactoring. Many thanks to our users on both sides of the pond who have reported issues and provided overwhelmingly positive feedback so far!

Evolving processes
We’ve been communicating with our respective user communities about new fixes and features as things pertain to them. Some things to note about our evolving development process:

  • DMPRoadmap GitHub repo: this is where most development work happens since the majority of fixes and features apply to the core codebase. This repository also contains all technical documentation, release notes, and other info for those interested in deploying their own instances or contributing to the project.
  • The DMPRoadmap wiki has a list of potential future enhancements. We’re collating ideas here and will define priorities and requirements in consultation with the community via user groups and listserv discussions. If you have other desired new features please let us know.
  • Any service-specific customizations reside in separate GitHub repos. For example, you can find the custom Single-Sign-On code in the DMPTool GitHub repo. The way that we handle helpdesk functions varies too. DMPTool users can report issues directly in the DMPTool repo or via the helpdesk. If something pertains to the common codebase, Stephanie will tag the issue and transfer it to DMPRoadmap. For DMPonline users we ask you to report issues via the helpdesk.

External contributions
Our core dev team is test driving the external contributor guidelines with the French team from DMP OPIDoR. They developed a new feature for a global notification system (e.g., to display maintenance messages, updates to funder templates) that happens to be in our backlog. The new feature looks great and is exactly the kind of contribution we’d like from others. You’ll see it in the next release. Thanks Benjamin and Quentin!

We’re also keen to commence monthly community dev calls to learn about other new features that folks might be planning and keep track of how we collaborate on DMP support across the globe.

Translations
We’ll be adding new translations for Brazilian Portuguese (thanks to Benilton de Sá Carvalho and colleagues at UNICAMP) and Finnish thanks to DMPTuuli. We’re also reaching out to fill in missing portions of existing translations for other languages since we added so many new features. New translations are always welcome; more information is available on the GitHub wiki and/or contact us.

A machine-actionable future
With the launch milestone behind us, we’re devoting more attention and resources to creating a machine-actionable future for DMPs. Two working groups hosted productive sessions at the recent RDA plenary (DMP Common Standards, Exposing DMPs) that included lightning talk presentations by members of the DMPRoadmap project (slides 1 and slides 2). Both of the groups are on track to provide actionable outputs in the next 12 months that will bolster wider community efforts on this front. We’ll continue participating in both groups as well as begin prototyping things with the NSF EAGER grant awarded to the California Digital Library. Stay tuned for more details via future updates and check out the activedmps.org site to get involved.

Templates and guidance 101

We’ve been running the new DMPTool for about a month now and are gratified by the positive reception from all corners of the globe. Now that we’re settling into a regular development rhythm and tying up some loose ends, I want to circle back to the topic of templates and guidance for organizational administrators.

DMPTool data migration adverse effects

As I mentioned in a recent message to the admin listserv, you may notice some misplaced organizational guidance as a result of migrating data from the old version to the new data model. Some pieces of guidance (e.g. text, links, example answers) that were created by an organizational admin and attached to specific templates (e.g. NIH Genomic Data Sharing) became divorced from the template and now appear in the list of generic themed guidance. This resulted in some cases where users now see e.g., information about NIH genomic data repositories as part of their local/organizational guidance regardless of the template they selected.

UIUC misplaced guidance

Note the DOE guidance links are “Unpublished.” These should be transferred to the DOE templates as customizations.

We’ve evaluated the extent of the problem, which can’t be solved programmatically (alas!)—there are about 30 published (active) organizational templates owned by various universities and about 40 universities who created pieces of guidance for specific funder templates that may no longer be attached to the appropriate template. We’re asking for your assistance to implement the following solution:

  1. Please take a look at your organizational Guidance in the Admin menu (screenshot above) and identify anything that seems out of place.
  2. If you can determine which template a particular piece of guidance should be attached to, you should transfer it to the appropriate question(s) for the appropriate template in the Templates menu by creating a “customization” (instructions in the Help for administrators > Customizing funder templates).
  3. After you create the customization, go back to the Guidance area and remove that piece of guidance. Alternatively, you can just unpublish the pieces of guidance that should not appear as generic guidance on all templates (instructions for Creating guidance).
  4. If you can’t easily determine where any misplaced guidance should go, contact us and we can assist you. Please just be patient with turn around times as *we* are a team of two with many other duties to juggle.
DMPTool Templates menu

Templates menu: this is where admins can create your own institutional templates or customize funder templates.

Create themed guidance

This is also a great time to familiarize yourself with the new concept of themes and apply them to your organizational guidance. Themes represent the most common topics addressed in data management plans and work like tags to associate questions and guidance. Questions within templates can be tagged with one or more themes, and guidance can be written by theme to allow organizations to apply their advice over multiple templates at once.

Here is a partial inventory of funder template themes (full inventory coming soon) to guide your tagging efforts. You will notice that some of your guidance has already been tagged with one or more themes—we applied these programmatically during the data migration using keywords. You should evaluate the themes and make any desired changes, as well as verifying that all of your guidance is accurate and up to date. In the first screenshot above, for instance, the guidance links that have no themes will not be displayed to end users.

Admin webinar for templates and guidance

I will host a webinar focused on organizational templates and guidance topics sometime in May (TBD soon). In the interim please contact us with specific issues, questions, etc. that you would like to see covered in more detail.

And of course continue to report bugs, request enhancements, and/or tell us how much you like the new interface via GitHub Issues or the contact form.

Get your DMPTool stickers and postcards!

One last reminder that new marketing materials are in the works and scheduled to ship in May. Place your orders now!

We have lift off – DMPRoadmap launches!

fireworks

From Flickr by bbtburnham http://bit.ly/2FmYLIE

by Sarah Jones

We’re delighted to announce that the DMPTool and DMPonline sites are both now running from the new joint DMPRoadmap codebase. We pushed the MVP out to test last month and have now migrated our production services. There are lots of exciting new features (v1.0 release notes).

The site will undergo a second round of accessibility testing soon and we’ve done a number of performance and usability improvements as part of bringing together our two codebases. We have also implemented the revised set of DMP themes agreed with community input last year. For UK users this means legacy guidance for removed themes has been merged and will need editing. See more information in this news item.

We gave a demo of the new system at the IDCC conference in Barcelona last month, and also gave a paper on a landscape analysis of “Active DMPs,” charting all the work that is going on in this area internationally. This information is available on a new website http://activedmps.org to serve as a central hub of machine-actionable DMP work. We invite everyone to update the site with links to any requirements you collect, or details of new tools emerging in this area. And don’t forget to join the sessions at the next RDA plenary where the DMP Common Standards WG will be comparing data models for the different DMP tools and the Exposing DMPs WG will be defining which elements of DMPs need to be shared to which actors. We also have a paper forthcoming that touches on work in these areas: the pre-print of 10 Simple Rules for Machine-Actionable DMPs is out now in Zenodo.

There is a huge number of users of the DMPRoadmap codebase. In addition to the core DMPonline and DMPTool services, there are many other instances internationally, some hosted by the DCC, but the majority are run by external groups. We estimate 50k+ users, 400+ participating institutions internationally and a growing list of funder contacts across the globe. We encourage those hosting their own instances to migrate from the former DMPonline v4 code to DMPRoadmap, and to continue to contribute back to the joint development effort like the Portage consortium in Canada and DMP OPIDoR in France have done. Migration guidelines are available to help dev teams make the switch and we have a Slack channel for external contributors. If you aren’t already a member, join here.

As always we welcome your feedback and look forward to continuing to improve the DMP experience for everyone involved in the research enterprise.

New DMPTool launched today!

dmptool logoWe’re delighted to announce a successful launch of DMPTool version 3 today. This milestone represents the convergence of the two most popular data management planning tools—US-based DMPTool and UK-based DMPonline—into a single, internationalized platform. We plan to bring the many other installations of the tool in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and throughout Europe along for the ride as we work together to make DMPs a more useful exercise for everyone!

Currently the DMPTool supports 226 institutions and more than 28,000 users worldwide. The new DMPTool retains all of the existing functionality plus some handy new things, all in a shiny new package:

For everyone

For organizational administrators

  • New administrator help guide
  • Updated resources for promoting the DMPTool coming soon (stickers, postcards, and slide decks). Order new promo materials using the form below.
  • Institutional branding in the main banner (upload a new logo, provide contact information)
  • Create themed guidance that can be applied across all templates
  • A usage dashboard and report of plans created by users at your organization
  • Ability to view guidance and templates created by other organizations

Order form for new stickers and postcards – we’ll ship materials in early May 2018

Please report any issues or enhancement requests via GitHub Issues. Or you can always contact us directly! If you notice anything amiss with your existing plans and/or templates, let us know and we will fix it in short order.

Prepare for launch in 3… 2… 1…

In about two weeks we will launch the new DMPTool on Tues, 27 Feb. The much-anticipated third version of the tool represents an exciting next step in what has always been a community-driven project. We’ve now successfully merged the primary US- and UK-based data management planning tools into a single codebase (DMP Roadmap): the engine under the new DMPTool hood.

Why are we doing this?

A little background for those who haven’t been following along with our codevelopment journey: in 2016 the University of California Curation Center (UC3) decided to join forces with the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) to maintain a single open-source platform for DMPs. We took this action to extend our reach beyond national boundaries and move best practices forward, with a lofty goal to begin making DMPs machine actionable (i.e., useful for managing data). We’ll continue to run our own branded services (DMPTool, DMPonline, DMPTuuli, DMPMelbourne) on the shared codebase, and incorporate partners in Canada, Argentina, South Africa, and throughout Europe who are already running their own instances (full list).

In parallel with our co-development efforts we’ve been making the rounds of Research Data Alliance, Force11, IDCC, and disciplinary meetings to collect use cases for machine-actionable DMPs (details here) and help define common standards (RDA Working Group; just posted pre-print for 10 Simple Rules for Machine-Actionable DMPs). We also got an NSF EAGER grant so we can begin prototyping muy pronto.

The new version of the DMPTool will enable us to implement and test machine-actionable things in a truly global open science ecosystem. Successful approaches to making DMPs a more useful exercise will require input from and adoption by many stakeholders so we look forward to working with our existing DMP Roadmap community (an estimated 50k+ users, 400+ participating institutions, and a growing list of funder contacts across the globe) and welcoming others into the fold!

Preparing for Launch

To help DMPTool administrators prepare themselves and their institutional users for the upcoming launch, we will host a webinar on:

Mon, 26 Feb 2018, 9-10 AM Pacific Time
Zoom link (recording on Vimeo; Q&A and slides)

By that time we’ll have a new user guide for administrators, a new Quick Start Guide for researchers, and refreshed promo materials. Everyone will have seamless access to their existing DMPTool accounts, just through a new user interface that looks and feels more like DMPonline (spoiler alert: we made it blue). And one of the most exciting things about the new tool is that it contains 34 freshly updated funder templates with links to additional funder guidance.

Stay tuned to the DMPTool communication channels in the coming weeks (blog, admin email list, Twitter) for more news and updates. We look forward to seeing you at the webinar and welcome your feedback at any point.

NSF EAGER Grant for Actionable DMPs

We’re delighted to announce that the California Digital Library has been awarded a 2-year NSF EAGER grant to support active, machine-actionable data management plans (DMPs). The vision is to convert DMPs from a compliance exercise based on static text documents into a key component of a networked research data management ecosystem that not only facilitates, but improves the research process for all stakeholders.

Machine-actionable “refers to information that is structured in a consistent way so that machines, or computers, can be programmed against the structure” (DDI definition). Through prototyping and pilot projects we will experiment with making DMPs machine-actionable.

Imagine if the information contained in a DMP could flow across other systems automatically (e.g., to populate faculty profiles, monitor grants, notify repositories of data in the pipeline) and reduce administrative burdens. What if DMPs were part of active research workflows, and served to connect researchers with tailored guidance and resources at appropriate points over the course of a project? The grant will enable us to extend ongoing work with researchers, institutions, data repositories, funders, and international organizations (e.g., Research Data Alliance, Force11) to define a vision of machine-actionable DMPs and explore this enhanced DMP future. Working with a broad coalition of stakeholders, we will implement, test, and refine machine-actionable DMP use cases. The work plan also involves outreach to domain-specific research communities (environmental science, biomedical science) and pilot projects with various partners (full proposal text).

Active DMP community

Building on our existing partnership with the Digital Curation Centre, we look forward to incorporating new collaborators and aligning our work with wider community efforts to create a future world of machine-actionable DMPs. We’re aware that many of you are already experimenting in this arena and are energized to connect the dots, share experiences, and help carry things forward. These next-generation DMPs are a key component in the globally networked research data management ecosystem. We also plan to provide a neutral forum (not tied to any particular tool or project or working group) to ground conversations and community efforts.

Follow the conversation @ActiveDMPs #ActiveDMPs and activedmps.org (forthcoming). You can also join the active, machine-actionable DMP community (live or remote participation) at the RDA plenary in Montreal and Force11 meeting in Berlin to contribute to next steps.

Contact us to get involved!

RDA-DMP movings and shakings

RDA Plenary 9

We had another productive gathering of #ActiveDMPs enthusiasts at the Research Data Alliance (RDA) plenary meeting in Barcelona (5-7 Apr). Just prior to the meeting we finished distilling all of the community’s wonderful ideas for machine-actionable DMP use cases into a white paper that’s now available in RIO Journal. Following on the priorities outlined in the white paper, the RDA Active DMPs Interest Group session focused on establishing working groups to carry things forward. There were 100+ participants packed into the session, both physically and virtually, representing a broad range of stakeholders and national contexts and many volunteered to contribute to five proposed working groups (meeting notes here):

  • DMP common standards: define a standard for expression of machine-readable and -actionable DMPs
  • Exposing DMPs: develop use cases, workflows, and guidelines to support the publication of DMPs via journals, repositories, or other routes to making them open
  • Domain/infrastructure specialization: explore disciplinary tailoring and the collection of specific information needed to support service requests and use of domain infrastructure
  • Funder liaison: engage with funders, support DMP review ideas, and develop specific use cases for their context
  • Software management plans: explore the remit of DMPs and inclusion of different output types e.g. software and workflows too

The first two groups are already busy drafting case statements. And just a note about the term “exposing” DMPs: everyone embraced using this term to describe sharing, publishing, depositing, etc. activities that result in DMPs becoming open, searchable, useful documents (also highlighted in a recent report on DMPs from the University of Michigan by Jake Carlson). If you want to get involved, you can subscribe to the RDA Active DMPs Interest Group mailing list and connect with these distributed, international efforts.

Another way to engage is by commenting on recently submitted Horizon2020 DMPs exposed on the European Commission website (unfortunately, the commenting period is closed here and here — but one remains open until 15 May).

DMPRoadmap update

Back at the DMPRoadmap ranch, we’re busy working toward our MVP (development roadmap and other documentation available on the GitHub wiki). The MVP represents the merging of our two tools with some new enhancements (e.g., internationalization) and UX contributions to improve usability (e.g., redesign of the create plan workflow) and accessibility. We’ve been working through fluctuating developer resources and will update/confirm the estimated timelines for migrating to the new system in the coming weeks; current estimates are end of May for DMPonline and end of July for DMPTool. Some excellent news is that Bhavi Vedula, a seasoned contract developer for UC3, is joining the team to facilitate the DMPTool migration and help get us to the finish line. Welcome Bhavi!

In parallel, we’re beginning to model some active DMP pilot projects to inform our work on the new system and define future enhancements. The pilots are also intertwined with the RDA working group activities, with overlapping emphases on institutional and repository use cases. We will begin implementing use cases derived from these pilots post-MVP to test the potential for making DMPs active and actionable. More details forthcoming…

Upcoming events

The next scheduled stop on our traveling roadshow for active DMPs is the RDA Plenary 10 meeting in Montreal (19–21 Sept 2017), where working groups will provide progress updates. We’re also actively coordinating between the RDA Active DMPs IG and the FORCE11 FAIR DMPs group to avoid duplication of effort. So there will likely be active/FAIR/machine-actionable DMP activities at the next FORCE11 meeting in Berlin (25–27 Oct)—stay tuned for details.

And there are plenty of other opportunities to maintain momentum, with upcoming meetings and burgeoning international efforts galore. We’d love to hear from you if you’re planning your own active DMP things and/or discover anything new so we can continue connecting all the dots. To support this effort, we registered a new Twitter handle @ActiveDMPs and encourage the use of the #ActiveDMPs hashtag.

Until next time.