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Note the DOE guidance links are “Unpublished.”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.

Active, actionable DMPs

IDCC workshop participants

Roadmap project IDCC debriefing
We had a spectacularly productive IDCC last month thanks to everyone who participated in the various meetings and events focused on the DMPRoadmap project and machine-actionable DMPs. Thank you, thank you! Sarah has since taken the traveling road show onward to a meeting at CERN (slides) and Stephanie discussed institutional infrastructure for DMPs at a meeting of California data librarians. In the midst of travels we’ve been wrangling the mountain of inputs into a draft white paper on machine-actionable DMP use cases. For now, we offer a preview of the report and an invitation to keep the momentum going at the RDA plenary in Barcelona, which is just around the corner (5–7 April).

The white paper represents the outputs of the IDCC workshop: ”A postcard from the future: Tools and services from a perfect DMP world” (slides, etc. here). We convened 47 participants from 16 countries representing funders, educational institutions, data service providers, and the research community. There was so much interest in the topic that we added an overflow session to accommodate everyone who wanted to weigh in. We’re gratified to discover how many folks have been thinking about DMPs as much as we have, and aim to continue synthesizing your stakeholder-balanced, community-driven solutions for improving the data management enterprise.

mind map exercise

Solving DMPs with rainbow stickies

The contributions from IDCC align with previously gathered information and drive the agenda summarized here. Consensus emerged to:

  • Focus on integrating existing systems (Interoperability was top-voted topic for the workshop)
  • Integrate DMPs into active research workflows to emphasize benefits of planning to researchers, but keep in mind that funders still drive demand.
  • Consider the potential of persistent identifiers (ORCID iDs, Crossref Funder Registry, etc.)
  • Explore ways to offer tailored, discipline-specific guidance at appropriate points

Next steps…
All stakeholders expressed a need for common standards and protocols to enable information to flow between plans and systems in a standardized manner. This would support APIs to both read and write to DMPs, as well as creating a framework for the development of new use cases over time. Therefore, it is a top priority to define a minimum data model with a core set of elements for DMPs. The model should incorporate existing standards and avoid inventing something new; it could potentially be based on a template structure and/or use the DMPRoadmap themes. Additional requirements in this area include that it:

  • Must make use of existing vocabularies and ontologies whenever possible
  • Must employ common exchange protocols (e.g., json)
  • Must be open to support new data types, models, and descriptions
  • Should be available in a format that can be rendered for human use
  • Should accommodate versioning to support actively updated DMPs

At the RDA 9th Plenary meeting in Barcelona during the Active DMPs IG session (6 April, 9:30-11:00) we propose establishing a working group to develop standards for DMPs. This isn’t our particular area of expertise so once again we’re relying on all of you to help steer the DMP ship. We hope that additional working groups might spin out from the session and invite your ideas and contributions (e.g., publishing DMPs).

…and beyond
The DCC and UC3 will continue to pursue international collaborations related to DMPRoadmap through pilot projects. As part of an iterative process for developing, implementing, testing, and refining these use cases we’re beginning to model domain-specific and institutional pilot projects to determine what information can realistically move between stakeholders, systems, and research workflows. We have some existing funds to support a subset of this work and are actively seeking additional sources of funding to carry the project forward. In addition to technical solutions, these projects will expand our capacity to connect with key stakeholders, with particular emphasis on addressing the needs and practices of researchers and funders. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks and months.

You can also track our progress and find oodles of documentation on the DMPRoadmap GitHub wiki.

DMPTool and RDM consultants support humanities grant submission

The following is a guest post by Quinn Dombrowski of the UC Berkeley RDM Program. The original is available at http://researchdata.berkeley.edu/stories

sarcophagus photo

When preparing a proposal to a funding agency, researchers focus on the grant narrative, framing their work in the most innovative and compelling way possible. Crafting a narrative that can stand as a surrogate for a scholar’s research for reviewers to evaluate is itself a time-consuming process; for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Digital Humanities grants, it’s only one of nine components of the application. Grant proposals must include a data management plan, a document that Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies Rita Lucarelli had not encountered prior to preparing her grant submission last fall. “I found the instructions to be clear, but I hadn’t thought about those issues before,” Professor Lucarelli said in a recent Research Data Management (RDM) workshop on DMPTool for the humanities.

The short version of the NEH guidelines states:

Prepare a data management plan for your project (not to exceed two pages). The members of your project team should consult this document throughout the life of the project and beyond the grant period. The plan should describe how your project team will manage and disseminate data generated or collected by the project. For example, projects in this category may generate data such as software code, algorithms, digital tools, reports, articles, research notes, or websites.

In addition, proposals of the type Professor Lucarelli was submitting require a sustainability plan. Following the basic prompts provided by the NEH, Professor Lucarelli drafted a brief paragraph for the data management plan and the sustainability plan, and sent the materials to the RDM team for review.

Starting early proved to be key. By having a draft done two months in advance, Lucarelli was able to send her proposal to the NEH for feedback, where she learned that her proposal — to fund a workshop, and development of a portal that would bring together a number of Egyptology projects that are building 3D models — would be eligible for a “level 2” grant, but not a “level 3” grant as Professor Lucarelli originally drafted: “level 3” grants are intended for projects that already had a finished prototype. “It’s important to figure out what level grant you’re applying to early,” Lucarelli reflected. “Deciding on that sooner would have saved me from drafting the sustainability plan that wasn’t applicable to the grant I ended up applying for.”

Involving the RDM team in the process early also allowed Lucarelli to work with an RDM consultant to refine her data management plan. Rick Jaffe, an RDM consultant, met with Lucarelli and talked through the scope and nature of the project she was proposing. After their first meeting, Jaffe logged into DMPTool, the Data Management Planning tool developed and supported by the California Digital Library (CDL), which provides templates and additional guidance for preparing data management plans for most major funding agencies. He pulled up the template for the NEH, and began to organize and expand upon his notes from the meeting, using the headers and prompts suggested by the DMPTool. Jaffe used the DMPTool’s private sharing function to make the draft data management plan visible and editable by Lucarelli and her collaborator at the University of Memphis, Joshua Roberson.

Drafting a data management plan in the DMPTool interface is convenient because it juxtaposes the questions and guidance for each section with a text box where you can write your responses. At a certain point in the process, it may be easier to download your draft data management plan and move it into Microsoft Word for editing. While it may be tempting to answer each of the questions in the prompt at great length, the overall two-page limitation forces grant applicants to be brief and specific. Quinn Dombrowski, another RDM consultant, worked with Lucarelli on winnowing the six-page version drafted in DMPTool into the required two pages.

“Even if I don’t get this grant, it was hugely valuable to prepare a data management plan,” explained Lucarelli. “When you’re working a new project, you never think about things like what will happen if you’re not involved with the project anymore — it’s hard to even imagine that! But a data management plan makes you think through all the details about what data you’ll actually get in your project, how you’ll store it, and how you’ll manage it in the long term. I was lucky to be working with a collaborator who knew some of the technical details about how to store audio files, because I would have been at a loss, myself. And it was very helpful to be able to sit down with RDM consultants who can help you think through all the issues involved in running a project like this. I feel much better prepared now for the next time I put together a grant application, whether or not a data management plan is required.”

Roadmap retrospective: 2016

be kind rewind2016 in review

The past year has been a wild ride, in more ways than one… Despite our respective political climates, UC3 and DCC remain enthusiastic about our partnership and the future of DMPs. Below is a brief retrospective about where we’ve been in 2016 and a roadmap (if you will…we also wish we’d chosen a different name for our joint project) for where we’re going in 2017. Jump to the end if you just want to know how to get involved with DMP events at the International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC 2017, 20–23 Feb in Edinburgh, register here).

In 2016 we consolidated our UC3-DCC project team, our plans for the merged platform (see the roadmap to MVP), and began testing a co-development process that will provide a framework for community contributions down the line. We’re plowing through the list of features and adding documentation to the GitHub repo—all are invited to join us at IDCC 2017 for presentations and demos of our progress to date (papers, slides, etc. will all be posted after the event). For those not attending IDCC, please let us know if you have ideas, questions, anything at all to contribute ahead of the event!

DMPs sans frontières

Now we’d like to take a minute and reflect on events of the past year, particularly in the realm of open data policies, and the implications for DMPs and data management writ large. The open scholarship revolution has progressed to a point where top-level policies mandate open access to the results of government-funded research, including research data, in the US, UK, and EU, with similar principles and policies gaining momentum in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and elsewhere. DMPs are the primary vehicle for complying with these policies, and because research is a global enterprise, awareness of DMPs has spread throughout the research community. Another encouraging development is the ubiquity of the term FAIR data (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable), which suggests that we’re all in agreement about what we’re trying to achieve.

On top of the accumulation of national data policies, 2016 ushered in a series of related developments in openness that contribute to the DMP conversation. To name a few:

  • More publishers articulated clear data policies, e.g., Springer Nature Research Data Policies apply to over 600 journals.
  • PLOS and Wiley now require an ORCID for all corresponding authors at the time of manuscript submission to promote discoverability and credit. Funders—e.g., Wellcome Trust, Swedish Research Council, and US Department of Transportation—are also getting on the ORCID bandwagon.
  • The Gates Foundation reinforced support for open access and open data by preventing funded researchers from publishing in journals that do not comply with its policy, which came into force at the beginning of 2017; this includes non-compliant high-impact journals such as Science, Nature, PNAS, and NEJM.
  • Researchers throughout the world continued to circumvent subscription access to scholarly literature by using Sci-Hub (Bohannon 2016).
  • Library consortia in Germany and Taiwan canceled (or threatened to cancel) subscriptions to Elsevier journals because of open-access related conflicts, and Peru canceled over a lack of government funding for expensive paid access (Schiermeier and Rodríguez Mega 2017).
  • Reproducibility continued to gain prominence, e.g., the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy on Rigor and Reproducibility came into force for most NIH and AHRQ grant proposals received in 2016.
  • The Software Citation Principles (Smith et al. 2016) recognized software as an important product of modern research that needs to be managed alongside data and other outputs.

This flurry of open scholarship activity, both top-down and bottom-up, across all stakeholders continues to drive adoption of our services. DMPonline and the DMPTool were developed in 2011 to support open data policies in the UK and US, respectively, but today our organizations engage with users throughout the world. An upsurge in international users is evident from email addresses for new accounts and web analytics. In addition, local installations of our open source tools, as both national and institutional services, continue to multiply (see a complete list here).

Over the past year, the DMP community has validated our decision to consolidate our efforts by merging our technical platforms and coordinating outreach activities. The DMPRoadmap project feeds into a larger goal of harnessing the work of international DMP projects to benefit the entire community. We’re also engaged with some vibrant international working groups (e.g., Research Data Alliance Active DMPs, FORCE11 FAIR DMPs, Data Documentation Initiative DMP Metadata group) that have provided the opportunity to begin developing use cases for machine-actionable DMPs. So far the use cases encompass a controlled vocabulary for DMPs; integrations with other systems (e.g., Zenodo, Dataverse, Figshare, OSF, PURE, grant management systems, electronic lab notebooks); passing information to/from repositories; leveraging persistent identifiers (PIDs); and building APIs.

2017 things to come

This brings us to outlining plans for 2017 and charting a course for DMPs of the future. DCC will be running the new Roadmap code soon. And once we’ve added everything from the development roadmap, the DMPTool will announce our plans for migration. At IDCC we’ll kick off the conversation about bringing the many local installations of our tools along for the ride to actualize the vision of a core, international DMP infrastructure. A Canadian and a French team are our gracious guinea pigs for testing the draft external contributor guidelines.

IDCC DMP/BoF session

There will be plenty of opportunities to connect with us at IDCC. If you’re going to be at the main conference, we encourage you to attend our practice paper and/or join a DMP session we’ll be running in parallel with the BoFs on Wednesday afternoon, 22 Feb. The session will begin with a demo and update on DMPRoadmap; then we’ll break into two parallel tracks. One track will be for developers to learn more about recent data model changes and developer guidelines if they want to contribute to the code. The other track will be a buffet of DMP discussion groups. Given the overwhelming level of interest in the workshop (details below), one of these groups will cover machine-actionable DMPs. We’ll give a brief report on the workshop and invite others to feed into discussion. The other groups are likely to cover training/supporting DMPs, evaluation cribsheets for reviewing DMPs, or other topics per community requests. If there’s something you’d like to propose please let us know!

IDCC DMP utopia workshop

We’re also hosting a workshop on Monday, 20 Feb entitled “A postcard from the future: Tools and services from a perfect DMP world.” The focus will be on machine-actionable DMPs and how to integrate DMP tools into existing research workflows and services.

The program includes presentations, activities, and discussion to address questions such as:

  • Where and how do DMPs fit in the overall research lifecycle (i.e., beyond grant proposals)?
  • Which data could be fed automatically from other systems into DMPs (or vice versa)?
  • What information can be validated automatically?
  • Which systems/services should connect with DMP tools?
  • What are the priorities for integrations?

We’ve gathered an international cohort of diverse players in the DMP game—repository managers, data librarians, funders, researchers, developers, etc.—to continue developing machine-actionable use cases and craft a vision for a DMP utopia of the future. We apologize again that we weren’t able to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate in the workshop, but rest assured that we plan to share all of the outputs and will likely convene similar events in the future.

Keep a lookout for more detailed information about the workshop program in the coming weeks and feel free to continue providing input before, during, and afterward. This is absolutely a community-driven effort and we look forward to continuing our collaborations into the new year!

DMP themes: And then there were 14…

by Sarah Jones

We issued a call for input on the DMP themes in late September and received feedback from across the UK, Europe and the USA. Many thanks to all who responded. It’s really helped to confirm our thinking. (Note: the full list of Themes is here on GitHub)

We asked a few specific questions:

  • Whether ‘Existing Data’ should be a separate category?

This divided opinion. Some felt it should be a separate category as it comes with its own set of issues, while others commented that it’s not relevant for everybody and in some cases could be artificial to separate from the broader data description. We were persuaded by the arguments for merging because they’re consistent with the overall goals for themes (i.e., streamline guidance, avoid confusion).

  • Whether ‘Data Repository’ should be merged with ‘Preservation’?

There was a majority decision to keep these themes separate, partly as repositories are about more than just preservation, but also to ensure that repositories remain clearly visible in the guidance as this is a common topic for researchers’ questions. We also have a number of machine-actionable use cases tied to repositories so it helps to keep this category distinct.

  • Whether the various data sharing themes should be merged?

Again there was a clear consensus here that the themes should be merged. You felt itwas confusing for researchers to have too many separate options and it could make the guidance unwieldy. We now have one theme that covers how and when data will be shared, including guidance on managing any restrictions.

Other suggestions you made have caused us to merge ‘Data Security’ with ‘Storage and Backup’ and rename ‘Data Quality’ to ‘Data Collection’ so it covers broader concerns around data collection and organisation. There were a few requests to reinstate the ‘Project Description’ theme, but we felt this works better as metadata under the plan details rather than as a theme. As a final step, we significantly revised the guidance so this is more concise and directive too. Please take a look and let us know what you think!

We shared the new revised themes with the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) working group who we’ve been having calls with about standards for DMPs, and will push them out to other discussion lists soon. We will also implement the revised themes in the Roadmap platform in the new year.

Other news

We’ve been working on lots of other topics in the meantime too. The developers have been busy migrating the database to a new schema and doing some refactoring. These changes will improve the performance of the tool so you won’t get the long page loading times we’ve sometimes struggled with, and will also support scalability as we’re getting increasing levels of use from around the globe. We’ll be giving a demonstration of the new DMPRoadmap codebase at IDCC and walking people through recent changes and new features. The demo will be part of a session in the main programme that will provide an opportunity to talk with the developers, hear more about our future plans, and share ideas from your DMP work.

We are also coordinating a workshop on machine-actionable DMPs. There’s already been a lot of interest in this so we are running a waiting list. If you want to join us, please get in touch soon and let us know why you are interested and what inputs you could bring. We are trying to get a diverse audience in the room so we understand use cases from different perspectives and countries.

Roadmap team cheers

Both of our teams will be enjoying a well-earned break over the Christmas holidays. Most of us are away from next week until 9th January so it may take us longer to respond to any queries in the coming weeks. We hope you all have a wonderful break too and enjoy the festivities. We raise a glass to you and more collaboration on DMPs in the future. Cheers!