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!

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.

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!

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.

Report on DMPTool at ESA 2013

Last week in Minneapolis, about 4,000 ecologists got together to geek out and enjoy the midwest for eight days. The DMPTool had a couple of appearances in the course of this 2013 Ecological Society of America Meeting– a workshop on managing ecological data and a session on data management planning and the DMPTool. It was also mentioned in numerous presentations about the DataONE Investigator Toolkit, of which the DMPTool is a part.

Here I want to briefly mention the special session on the DMPTool, which occurred on the first official day of #ESA2013. The session was 75 minutes long, and Bill Michener of DataONE and I were sharing the podium. He planned to introduce DMPs generally, followed by my explanation and demonstration of the DMPTool, including the new version of the tool due out in Winter 2013-2014.

Fifteen minutes before the presentations were due to start, the room was packed. Attendees were sitting on the floor in the aisles by 5 minutes before, and there was a nonstop trickle of attendees entering throughout the 75 minute session. The catch? We had no power.

That’s right: Bill and I were forced to talk about data management plans, demo the DMPTool, and discuss future plans to a packed room, all without a microphone, a projector, or even a chalk board. We managed to get through the session, and folks seemed to appreciate the impromptu soliloquies on data management by myself and Bill. The power came on about 5 minutes before the close of the session (of course), at which point I scurried behind the podium to show screen shots of the DMPTool. By the time I looked up from my laptop, about 60% of the audience had left. Apparently slides were not the big draw for our session.

My takeaway lessons? When giving a talk, be prepared for anything; people enjoy the element of surprise and improvisation; and researchers are dying to learn about DMPs, regardless of the potential hurdles put before them. This is most likely due to funder requirements for DMPs, but I’d like to think it also relates to my and Bill’s dulcet tones.

The slides I didn’t get to show are available on slideshare.

Screen-Shot-2013-08-12-at-8.37.16-AM

Kickoff Meetings for Newly Funded DMPTool Projects

Berkeley

The meetings were held in Downtown Berkeley, near Durant Ave. This image of the area was taken in 1978. From Calisphere, contributed by Berkeley Public Library and Betty Marvin. Click for more information.

Two weeks ago, a meeting of the data management minds took place in Berkeley, California. There were two back-to-back meetings to kick off projects funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (read the blog post about it) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Here we provide a report of each meeting.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Project: “DMPTool2: Responding to the Community”

The primary goal of this project is to improve on the DMPTool (free, easy-to-use application that guides researchers through the process of creating data management plans). To accomplish this, we aim to build on the success of the tool to create DMPTool2, and use this improved version as a centerpiece for encouraging collaboration in data management efforts across all stakeholder groups (researchers, institutions, funders, libraries).  In support of the project goals, we convened a meeting of DMPTool partners to synchronize the project kickoff efforts and revisit our planned activities.  The meeting aimed to review:

  • Current DMPTool status
  • Community engagement plans
  • Functional development plans
  • Metrics for impact and success

Meeting participants were mainly from founding DMPTool institutions.  Over the course of the 1.5 day meeting, participants reviewed the course of the DMPTool thus far, the expectations and plans for the project, and then specific activities for the next 12 or so months.  Some highlights include:

  • Observations that the DMPTool has had significant use, but should to put increased emphasis on gaining repeat users and providing more value to users.  Underlying this point, while the team aims to address user needs and demands, it is important to still stress that the goal should be making data management planning EASIER, rather than just EASY.  Research data lives in a complex environment and this must not be underestimated.
  • Community engagement in coming months will be on many fronts.  Some include development of two advisory boards, one focused on administrative users and one on researchers.  The team will also implement the planned governance structure to give the user community greater access to and participation in future directions and ownership of the DMPTool; this will be in the very near term.
  • Functionality for this project ranges far and wide, but fits into two main broad categories:  functions for the researcher (ie. Writing plans, finding resources, getting advice, etc.) and functions for the administrative user (ie. Reporting on institutional use, adding institutional guidance, etc.).  The team will offer blog posts on specific technical elements, request feedback, and conduct user testing as the project moves along.  Expect first posts in coming weeks.
  • The last discussion of the meeting was around metrics for impact and success, what’s possible, what’s easy versus hard, and what matters to our different constituents.  We have many ideas in this area, and will have blog posts to outline some of these points and request feedback in coming weeks.

IMLS Grant Project: “Improving Data Stewardship with the DMPTool: Empowering Libraries to Seize Data Management Education”

The meeting funded by the IMLS grant took place over February 21-22. The primary goal of this project is to provide librarians with the tools and resources to claim the data management education space. In an effort to ensure the tools and resources developed meet the needs of librarians, we convened a meeting of DMPTool partners, as well as librarians from five University of California campuses. We had three goals for the meeting:

  1. Identify the resources most useful for helping librarians use the DMPTool for outreach.
  2. Prioritize resources based on user profiles and use cases.
  3. Create timelines and brainstorm dissemination tactics for resources to be developed.

Participants were primarily librarians, along with members of the DMPTool partner institutions. Over the course of the two day meeting, we discussed the barriers and solutions associated with using the DMPTool as a librarian, especially for outreach. Common themes emerged related to a lack of support and education, as well as limited resources including time, money, personnel, and institution-level services.  Poor communication among institutional partners and stakeholders was also often mentioned. The solutions proposed to eliminate these barriers became the template for potential products from the IMLS grant. Here we present a list of proposed outcomes and tasks for the project, i.e. things that will help librarians use the DMPTool effectively on their campuses:

  1. Checklist/talking points documents & brown bag kit for librarians to talk to campus partners and stakeholders, including researchers, VCRs, Special Projects/Grants offices,  IT, and other librarians
  2. Slide deck for presenting to researchers
  3. Promotional materials (posters, pamphlets, bookmarks, postcards, flyers) that can be customized for the institution
  4. Startup Kit for undergoing an environmental scan of institutional resources and services
  5. DMPTool Webinar Series for librarians
  6. DMPTool Screencasts for users, librarians
  7. A collection of case studies of institutions using the DMPTool successfully
  8. A collection data management success and horror stories
  9. A calendar of funder deadlines
  10. DMPTool Libguide

A larger outcome of the IMLS grant will be that we plan to set up an online common space that allows for sharing customization of tool, provides a forum for user conversation streams, provides access to materials developed by the grant project, and can be used as a platform for collecting use cases, success and horror stories. The list above is only a subset of the long list of suggestions that emerged from our meeting. Stay tuned into this blog for more updates as the project progresses.

Download the full IMLS meeting report