First annual funder template pizza party!

template editors

As we approach our target release date of Feb 2018 for the DMP Roadmap platform, the DMPTool team has embarked on a major housekeeping effort. A top-to-bottom content review is underway, and last week we began an audit of the funder templates and guidance. Ten participants gathered for an all-day, pizza-fueled event that amounted to a huge template success (but an epic pizza fail, see evidence below). We were so productive and gratified by the opportunity to analyze multiple DMP policies in a group setting that we decided to make it an annual event. Read on for more DMPTool funder template news + migration plans, followed by brief updates on the DMP Roadmap project and machine-actionable DMPs.

DMPTool funder templates

The DMPTool is a hugely popular community resource in part because it serves as a central clearinghouse of information about DMP requirements and guidance for researchers applying for grants from U.S. funding agencies. Migrating the DMPTool data to the new platform provides an opportunity to update and normalize things to maintain this value. [Side note: we’re also adding a “Last updated” field to the DMP Requirements table as an enhancement in the new platform per your feedback.]

At present the tool contains 32 templates for 16 different federal and private funders. This top 10 templates list demonstrates that our users are especially keen on getting support with NSF and NIH grant proposals, although the NEH is #7, and DOE and others aren’t far behind. Some global usage statistics to put these numbers in context: 26.8k users have created 20k plans; and we have 216 participating institutions (mostly U.S. colleges and universities).

funder-template-table

Our goals for the pizza party included: 1) ensuring that template language comes directly from the most recent versions of funder policy documents; and 2) applying themes (more on themes here). Staying up to date with DMP requirements remains a crowdsourced effort spearheaded by data librarians using the Twitter hashtag #OSTPResp and a Google spreadsheet. In the past year, two additional resources entered the scene: a list of public access plans from U.S. federal agencies at CENDI.gov and this lovely SPARC tool. Using these reference materials and some additional internet research, we updated 7 links to policy documents in the current DMPTool platform (NIH-GDS, NEH-ODH, NSF-CHE, NOAA, USDA-NIFA, Joint Fire Science Program, Sloan) and made some revisions to templates in the new platform (mostly formatting). We also identified some templates that require deeper investigation and/or consultation with agency contacts to verify the best way to present DMP requirements; between now and the release date we’ll continue to work on these templates. In addition, Jackie Wilson is contracting with us to finalize the clean-up of templates and guidance (checking links and guidance text provided by funders).

#pizzafail

#pizzafail

By January we aim to have a beta DMPTool-branded version of the new platform ready for training and testing purposes. Stay tuned for a rollout plan in the new year that includes webinars for institutional administrators, with an orientation to templates and themes. Also, please note that we will be disabling template editing functionality on 18 Dec in the current version of DMPTool to maintain the integrity of template data in the new platform. For admin users who wish to make changes to templates and guidance after that date, you can contact the helpdesk, but it would be great if you can keep changes to a minimum. All other functionality in the current DMPTool will remain the same up to the final migration date (adding new users, institutions, creating and editing plans, etc.)

A million thanks to the 2017 template fixing team: Amy Neeser, Joan Starr, Alana Miller, Jackie Wilson, Marisa Strong, Daniella Lowenberg, Perry Willett, John Chodacki, and Stephen Abrams.

DMP Roadmap update

The co-development team is busy building and refining the final MVP features. The usage dashboard is the last new feature left to add. In the meantime, parallel data migration efforts are underway at DCC to move from the existing 28 DMPonline themes to the new set of 14. By January both service teams will be working on new user guides, updating other content, testing and branding. If all continues to go smoothly, we’ll be on track for a DMP Roadmap demo at IDCC in Barcelona (19–22 Feb) and an official code release. Stay tuned!

Machine-actionable DMPs

On the machine-actionable DMP front, there are two items to report:

  1. We’ll be emailing the various DMP lists shortly to encourage everyone to participate in working meetings for the RDA WGs (DMP Common Standards & Exposing DMPs) at the next plenary. For now mark your calendars for 21–23 Mar and join us in Berlin!
  2. Following on a productive session at FORCE2017, we’re finishing a draft of the 10 Simple Rules for Machine-Actionable DMPs that we will circulate soon soon.

As always, we encourage you to contact us to get involved!

Roll up, roll up. Get yer DMP update here!

Paper seller and bench From Flickr by henry... CC-BY-NC-ND

From Flickr by henry… CC-BY-NC-ND

by Sarah Jones

Last month saw a busy Active DMPs and Domain Repositories Interest Groups joint session at the RDA Plenary in Montreal. Two new working groups have been launched to advance work in this area: one on developing Common Standards for DMPs and another on Exposing DMPs. In addition, there are multiple active projects in this space including ezDMP, the University of Queensland’s Data Management Records approach, FAIRsharing and our own DMPRoadmap project. All the slides and notes from the RDA session are available from the link above if you want to find out more. The working groups are just starting to get underway too, so please review their plans and contribute if you can.

We’ve been progressing the machine-actionable DMP agenda through the DMPRoadmap team too. With support from an RDA Europe collaboration award, we integrated the disciplinary Metadata Standards Directory (MSD) into the tool. Template administrators can choose the MSD as an answer format for metadata questions so users can browse the directory from within the tool. We’d love your feedback on this – both admins trialling it on templates and end users selecting standards. Can you find relevant standards easily? Is the functionality intuitive? Are there other features or additions you would like to see? Please try it out at https://dmponline-test.dcc.ac.uk and let us know.

RDA metadata standards directory screenshot

Integrating the MSD is just one small step on the path to improving the DMP experience. We also plan to surface other registries, such as FAIRsharing and re3data, to recommend appropriate standards and services. Experimentation in this area will also aim to facilitate the exchange of information between systems and alert services to data in the pipeline. The DMPTool team have just received a 2-year NSF EAGER grant to address these bigger aims! The work plan includes pilot projects with the Biological and Chemical Oceanographic Data Management Office (BCO-DMO) at Woods Hole, MA and understanding the institutional workflow in collaboration with Purdue and others. Find out more on the DMPTool blog; additional details forthcoming as we refine the work plan.

The next stop for us is FORCE2017 in Berlin next week. We’ll be running a session on 10 Simple Rules for Active DMPs on Friday morning (27 Oct) in collaboration with the FAIR DMP group. The session will introduce participants to the concepts of FAIR and machine-actionable DMPs and then build community consensus around common goals and definitions. We’ve been working on a draft that we’ll share and iterate on at the meeting. Join us there if you can!

We’re also looking forward to the International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC) in Barcelona next February. The call for papers is out now and closes later this month. Last year we outlined ideas for Next-Generation DMPs (here) and hosted a workshop that resulted in this white paper with community-generated use cases for machine-actionable DMPs. Thanks again to all those who contributed to defining these preliminary requirements for the work now being addressed by us and the RDA working groups. IDCC is a great opportunity to get international input on your ideas so share what you’ve been working on and join us in Barcelona!

DMPRoadmap summer camp news

Airstream camp

From Flickr by dwstucke https://flic.kr/p/dcmAL3

This summer we’ve made solid progress toward our DMPRoadmap MVP, done oodles of outreach for machine-actionable DMPs, and addressed some DMPTool and DMPonline-specific items. Keep reading for the high-level highlights and what to expect in the coming months:

What we’re working on now…

  • DCC is running all three production services—DMPonline, DMPTuuli, and DMP Melbourne—on the new Roadmap codebase. Check out the Release Notes for v0.3.
  • The DMPRoadmap co-development team continues to add new features (details on the Github wiki). At the moment, we’re focused on upgrading to Bootstrap 3 and making the site compliant with accessibility standards. This turned out to require a wholesale replacement and refactoring of the HTML and Javascript and will ultimately make the transition to future versions of Rails easier. It will push our release date further into fall 2017, but a key benefit is that it will make it easier for our many external partners to maintain local installations of the tool and contribute back to the core project.
  • Preparations for the DMPTool data migration include a comprehensive template audit. We’re reviewing all funder guidelines to make sure resources are accurate and up-to-date (in progress; a shout out to the MIT library for contributing to this effort!). We will also normalize the format and presentation of funder templates in the new platform and apply themes to make it easier for admins to add supporting guidance across templates (more about themes here and here).
  • Please note! The DMPTool brochure page https://dmp.cdlib.org now redirects to the main application https://dmptool.org/. You may want to update your bookmarks. The brochure page was launched with the current version of the tool in 2014, but has become an outdated and unnecessary hurdle to getting to the part about writing a DMP. We’re planning to provide dynamically updated tool usage info in the new version to supersede the brochure page.
  • The DMPonline services will also be migrating to the revised set of themes for the MVP release. Since this removes some of the existing themes, we’ll be contacting admin users with advice on how to merge or remove redundant guidance.
  • New templates have also been added to DMPonline. These include an update for the Wellcome Trust which now asks for Output Management Plans covering data, software, and other research materials, and a new template for the ERC. Further details are available in the DCC news item.

What to expect in the future…

  • More communications via blogs, listserv, Slack with a revised timeline and release date for the MVP. Once estimates are in place, we can schedule usability testing with the DMPTool and DMPonline communities and prepare materials for a rollout (stay tuned).
  • More marketing and outreach about the DMPRoadmap project and machine-actionable DMPs. A huge thanks to our DMPTool street team for helping to spread the word (and stickers) at meetings on this side of the pond (RDAP, ALA, DUG/ESIP, ESA, upcoming DLF)! Extra props to Sophie Hou (NCAR) for presenting our poster at the US Geological Survey Community for Data Integration workshop and Sherry Lake (UVA) for taking a poster turn at the Dataverse community meeting.
  • Stephanie presented in a morning course “Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle” at the FORCE11 Scholarly Communications Institute (event, slides). Thanks to Natasha Simons (ANDS) for coordinating a great course!
  • Meanwhile, Sarah and DCC colleagues have been making the UK/EU rounds. You can see slides from our presentation at the Jisc Research Data Network event. We also ran DMP sessions at the inaugural EUDAT summer school and the CODATA research data science school. These gave participants a grounding in developing DMPs, FAIR data principles, and the tools and services that can help with this.

Where to catch up with us next on machine-actionable DMPs

  • Join us at the next RDA Plenary in Montreal (19-21 Sept) for an Active DMPs and Domain Repositories IGs joint session. There will be lightning talks and discussion of work in this arena including updates from two new RDA working groups—DMP Common Standards and Exposing DMPs—that each have case statements out for comment. Remote participation details to follow.
  • The FORCE2017 meeting in Berlin (25–27 Oct) presents another opportunity to engage on the topic. We just submitted a FAIR DMPs session proposal to refine concepts and define 10 simple rules for machine-actionable / active / dynamic / FAIR DMPs.

    Sophie (left) & Sherry (right) evangelizing about machine-actionable DMPs

    Sophie (left) & Sherry (right) evangelizing about machine-actionable DMPs

On the right track(s) – DCC release draws nigh

blog post by Sarah Jones

Eurostar photo

Eurostar from Flickr by red hand records CC-BY-ND

Preliminary DMPRoadmap out to test

We’ve made a major breakthrough this month, getting a preliminary version of the DMPRoadmap code out to test on DMPonline, DMPTuuli and DMPMelbourne. This has taken longer than expected but there’s a lot to look forward to in the new code. The first major difference users will notice is that the tool is now lightning quick. This is thanks to major refactoring to optimise the code and improve performance and scalability. We have also reworked the plan creation wizard, added multi-lingual support, ORCID authentication for user profiles, on/off switches for guidance, and improved admin controls to allow organisations to upload their own logos and assign admin rights within their institutions. We will run a test period for the next 1-2 weeks and then move this into production for DCC-hosted services.

Work also continues on additional features needed to enable the DMPTool team to migrate to the DMPRoadmap codebase. This includes additional enhancements to existing features, adding a statistics dashboard, email notifications dashboard, enabling a public DMP library, template export, creating plans and templates from existing ones, and flagging “test” plans (see the Roadmap to MVP on the wiki to track our progress). We anticipate this work will be finished in August and the DMPTool will migrate over the summer. When we issue the full release we’ll also provide a migration path and documentation so those running instances of DMPonline can join us in the DMPRoadmap collaboration.

Machine-actionable DMPs

Stephanie and Sarah are also continuing to gather requirements for machine-actionable DMPs. Sarah ran a DMP workshop in Milan last month where we considered what tools and systems need to connect with DMPs in an institutional context, and Stephanie has been working with Purdue University and UCSD to map out the institutional landscape. The goal is to produce maps/diagrams for two specific institutions and extend the exercise to others to capture more details about practices, workflows, and systems. All the slides and exercise from the DMP workshop in Milan are on the Zenodo RDM community collection, and we’ll be sharing a write-up of our institutional mapping in due course. I’m keen to replicate the exercise Stephanie has been doing with some UK unis, so if you want to get involved, drop me a line. We have also been discussing potential pilot projects with the NSF and Wellcome Trust, and have seen the DMP standards and publishing working groups proposed at the last RDA plenary host their initial calls. Case statements will be out for comment soon – stay tuned for more!

We have also been discussing DMP services with the University of Queensland in Australia who are doing some great work in this area, and will be speaking with BioSharing later this month about connecting up so we can start to trial some of our machine-actionable DMP plans.

The travelling roadshow

Our extended network has also been helping us to disseminate DMPRoadmap news. Sophie Hou of NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) took our DMP poster to the USGS Community for Data Integration meeting (Denver, CO 16–19 May) and Sherry Lake will display it next at the Dataverse community meeting (Cambridge, MA 14-16 June). We’re starting an inclusive sisterhood of the travelling maDMPs poster. Display the poster, take a picture, and go into the Hall of Fame! Robin Rice and Josh Finnell have also been part of the street team taking flyers to various conferences on our behalf. If you would like a publicity pack, Stephanie will send out stateside and Sarah will share through the UK and Europe. Just email us your contact details and we’ll send you materials. The next events we’ll be at are the Jisc Research Data Network in York, the EUDAT and CODATA summer schools, the DataONE Users Group and Earth Science Information Partners meetings (Bloomington, IN), the American Library Association Annual Conference (Chicago, IL), and the Ecological Society of America meeting (Portland, OR) . Catch up with us there!

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.

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!

Finding our Roadmap rhythm

Image from page 293 of "The life of the Greeks and Romans" (1875) by Guhl, Koner, and Hueffer. Retrieved from the Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/lifeofgreeksroma00guhl

Image from page 293 of “The life of the Greeks and Romans” (1875) by Guhl, Koner, and Hueffer. Retrieved from the Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/lifeofgreeksroma00guhl

In keeping with our monthly updates about the merged Roadmap platform, here’s the short and the long of what we’ve been up to lately:

Short update

Long(er) update

This month our main focus has been getting into a steady 2-week sprint groove that you can track on our GitHub Projects board. DCC/DMPonline is keen to migrate to the new codebase asap so in preparation we’re revising the database schema and optimizing the code. This clean-up work not only makes things easier for our core development team, but will facilitate community development efforts down the line. It also addresses some scalability issues that we encountered during a week of heavy use on the hosted instance of the Finnish DMPTuuli (thanks for the lessons learned, Finland!). We’ve also been evaluating dependencies and fixing all the bugs introduced by the recent Rails and Bootstrap migrations.

Once things are in good working order, DMPonline will complete their migration and we’ll shift focus to adding new features from the MVP roadmap. DMPTool won’t migrate to the new system until we’ve added everything on the list and conducted testing with our institutional partners from the steering committee. The UX team from the CDL is helping us redesign some things, with particular attention to internationalization and improving accessibility for users with disabilities.

The rest of our activities revolve around gathering requirements and refining some use cases for machine-actionable DMPs. This runs the gamut from big-picture brainstorming to targeted work on features that we’ll implement in the new platform. The first step to achieving the latter involves a collaboration with Substance.io to implement a new text editor (Substance Forms). The new editor offers increased functionality, a framework for future work on machine-actionability, and delivers a better user experience throughout the platform. In addition, we’re refining the DMPonline themes (details here)—we’re still collecting feedback and are grateful to all those who have weighed in so far. Sarah and I will consolidate community input and share the new set of themes during the first meeting of a DDI working group to create a DMP vocabulary. We plan to coordinate our work on the themes with this parallel effort—more details as things get moving on that front in Nov.

Future brainstorming events include PIDapalooza—come to Iceland and share your ideas about persistent identifiers in DMPs!—and the International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC) 2017 for which registration is now open. We’ll be presenting a Roadmap update at IDCC along with a demo of the new system. In addition, we’re hosting an interactive workshop for developers et al. to help us envision (and plan for) a perfect DMP world with tools and services that support FAIR, machine-actionable DMPs (more details forthcoming).

Two final pieces of info: 1) We’re still seeking funding to speed up progress toward building machine-actionable DMP infrastructure; we weren’t successful with our Open Science Prize application but are hoping for better news on an IMLS preliminary proposal (both available here). 2) We’re also continuing to promote greater openness with DMPs; one approach involves expanding the RIO Journal Collection of exemplary plans. Check out the latest plan from Ethan White that also lives on GitHub and send us your thoughts on DMP workflows, publishing and sharing DMPs.

A common set of themes for DMPs: Seeking input

When the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) revised DMPonline in 2013, we introduced the concept of themes to the tool. The themes represent the most common topics addressed in Data Management Plans (DMPs) and work like tags to associate questions and guidance. Questions within DMP templates can be tagged with one or more themes, and guidance can be written by theme to allow organisations to apply their advice over multiple templates at once. This means organisations don’t have to worry about monitoring changes in requirements and updating their guidelines each time a new template is released.

Backup and storage guidance with theme tag

Institutional guidance on ‘Storage and Backup,’ overlaid onto a funder template

Moving forward, we see potential for broader application of the themes. In collaboration with the DMPTool, we plan to use a refined set of themes to support our objectives around machine-actionable DMPs. The themes provide the beginnings of a common vocabulary and structure for DMPs and could help to identify sections of text to mine, e.g., to identify a repository named in a DMP and the volume of data in the pipeline.

Stephanie and I have revised the existing set of Data Management Planning themes and propose a shortened set of 17 themes. We merged several closely related themes, e.g., ‘Metadata’ and ‘Documentation.’ Now we’re keen to collect your feedback about whether the themes still cover all the required elements and if they make sense to users. The goal is to find a suitable balance between the total number of themes (for mining and for usability considerations when creating guidance) and granularity. Specific questions we have are:

  • Whether ‘Existing data’ should be a separate category? We’ve merged it with the general ‘Data description’ on the rationale that reusing data doesn’t apply in all domains.
  • Should the ‘Data repository’ theme be merged with ‘Preservation’ or is it better kept separate since repositories cover preservation and sharing?
  • Several themes address data sharing: one is generic (‘Data sharing’), one addresses the ‘Timeframe for sharing’ and one covers ‘Restricted-use data.’ Is this granularity needed or should some of these themes be merged, e.g., ‘Data sharing’ and ‘Restricted-use data.’

We’re reaching out to various groups on this: the Force 11 FAIR DMP group, the RDA Active DMPs group, CASRAI UK DMP working group, and the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Active DMPs working group. Naturally we’re also consulting the DMPonline and DMPTool user groups and are keen to receive feedback from any other quarters too so please pass this notice on to colleagues! Comments can be left on the blog here or emailed to the DMPONLINE-USER-GROUP.

The original and revised sets of themes are below for reference: