Research Data Management Services

I have had an interest in Research Data Management since library school. I have several colleagues who shared this interest, but it was not until we learned of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region opportunity from New York University to join a cohort of institutions for their pilot program, “Facilitating the Development of Research Data Management Services at Health Sciences Libraries.” Along with the STEM Librarian and Social Sciences Librarian, we pursued this opportunity and–following a phone conversation with the organizers which turned out to be more of an interview–we were welcomed into the cohort.

This cohort had four stages, of which we were meant to complete at least three: completing educational modules, teaching an introductory data management workshop, interviewing researchers about their practices, and teaching a series of more advanced data workshops. We completed the modules and then moved on to the other tasks. We needed to go through our university IRB in order to receive approval for the interview project, so we composed our protocol. We planned our workshop based on the Teaching Toolkit provided by the NYU organizers, and began to promote it to faculty.

Our IRB protocol was approved, and we conducted several interviews in order to gauge the status of data management on campus, as well as the receptiveness to data services. Although we have not yet conducted enough interviews to have any kind of statistically significant results, we have already noted general trends which we can use to inform our service offerings and workshops.

Our workshop was well-attended, as was our follow-up webinar. We were also contacted for a consultation about data management strategies as a follow-up to our workshop. Our Social Sciences Librarian taught additional data-related workshops during Love Data Week 2018, leading to the completion of all four modules by our team. We look forward to seeing our results documented in aggregate in the publication being prepared by the NYU team.

Our next step for data management is to more robustly investigate the attitudes and needs of graduate students, who are more than likely learning data management practices (explicitly or in practice) as they complete their research in labs and with faculty. We hope to be able to address any gaps they may be experiencing in their training, or otherwise help to promote the development of best practices at the earliest stage in order to increase research transparency and access to open data, and to cut down on researcher frustration about under-documented or lost data.