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Up and Coming Events

By Ruth Wainman, on 8 November 2018

We are pleased to announce the following workshops and events taking place in the up and coming weeks.

Knowledge Quarter Codes Technical Social – 21 November 2018

The popular UCL Research Programming Technical Socials are now expanding under the name ‘Knowledge Quarter Codes’ in order to welcome participation from academic and industrial organisations across the Knowledge Quarter – the area within a 1-mile radius of King’s Cross station. This is an informal event aimed at anyone with an interest in the computational methods and technology behind research and innovation. The next event will be hosted by Prof. Luca Vigano from King’s College London on Explainable Security – a new paradigm in security research.

This event will take place in UCL’s Chandler House premises on the 21 of November from 5pm to 6:30pm. You can register for the event here.

Dive into Data Challenge 2019

UCL researchers from across all disciplines are cordially invited to take part in the Dive into Data Challenge 2019. Researchers are encouraged to develop novel and innovative ways to analyse and/or data from the Consumer Data Research Centre to gain insights into UCL’s Grand Challenges priority themes through data re-use. Participants will also have the chance to win a £500 prize and present their work at the UCL Conference in June 2019. 

  • Deadline for expression of interest and brief summary submission is 18 January 2019.
  • Any questions you have about the challenge can be answered at the next RITS drop-in sessions on 15 November and 12 December 10am-12pm.

More information on the challenge is available here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/research/domains/eresearch/diveintodata

Digital Skills Development Opportunities

There are new dates available for Digital Skills Development courses and workshops for both staff and students. These workshops will cover sessions on Excel, Word, STATA, R, Unix, Photoshop plus many more. A weekly drop is also provided for individual guidance. A full schedule can be found here.

How to Share your FAIR Data – 25th October 2018

By Ruth Wainman, on 29 October 2018

The Research Data Management team recently hosted a session on data sharing as part of Open Access week (22nd-28th of October). For further details about the event, see the Open Access webpages.

JISC Workshop on Research Notebook Management – 19th of November

By Ruth Wainman, on 11 October 2018

JISC will be running a workshop on research notebook management in London on the 19th of November. The event will cover the requirements of research notebooks, the tools needed to manage them and how this relates to researchers’ own subject specialisms.

Researchers with an interest in exploring the use and management of lab notebooks are strongly encouraged to attend.

An Eventbrite is available for any researchers who are interested in attending the session.

Open Access Week 2018

By Daniel Van Strien, on 5 October 2018

As part of open access week 2018 (22nd-28th October 2018), UCL Library services have organised a series of events covering open access, REF, RPS, data sharing and Open Science. These events include training sessions, film screenings and drop-ins.

The Research Data Support team will be running a lunchtime session on the most effective ways to share your research data.

The first half of the session will give researchers an introduction to the principles and practicalities involved in data sharing. It will also seek to outline the principles of FAIR data and how this relates to the production and use of data over the research lifecycle.

During the second half of the session, UCL’s Research Data Management team and Open Access team will host a drop-in to help answer any questions about sharing research data, Open Access Publishing, RPS or Open Science.

This session will take place on the 25th of October between 13.00-14.00 in the Common Ground, Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing, UCL Main Building (www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/south-wing).

An Eventbrite listing is available but you don’t need to register to attend.

Full listings and further details of all the events organised as part of open access week at UCL can be found on the open access blog.

What is FOI and how does it apply to researchers?

By Ruth Wainman, on 7 September 2018

The Freedom of Information Act was created in 2000 to increase the transparency of the public sector and their activities. Under the Act, research data can be requested although copyright and IP rights to the data remain with the original researcher. When a request for information is made, there are normally 20 working days to respond. In the UK, most universities are defined as public authorities and are thus legally obliged to respond to FOI requests. There are, however, some key exemptions to the Act in the UK including:

  1. Personal data about living individuals cannot be requested, unless it is about you.
  2. Information that is accessible by other means.
  3. Information intended for future publication.
  4. Information that is subject to a confidentiality agreement.
  5. Information whose release would prejudice legitimate commercial interests.
  6. In Scotland, information that is part of a finite research programme for which there is a publication schedule and clear intent to publish.
  7. If the public interest in withholding the information is greater than the public interest disclosing.

Source: Corti et al 2014

There have been a number of high profile cases in which FOI requests have been made against research data being collected by the universities. Data cannot be withheld indefinitely so you should always work under the presumption that if any information is not released the first time round, it can always be requested again. Researchers are therefore advised to detail the ways in which they plan to release their data in a data management plan in order to avoid any unanticipated FOI requests. It is therefore paramount that you plan for FOI and the implications of the Act when creating a data management plan. Writing a plan will also enable you to think more carefully through issues surrounding consent, sharing and ethics. Yet researchers should always remember that the FOI Act can often act as a useful means of data collection in its own right.

At UCL, further guidance on FOI can be found on the Research Integrity pages. If in doubt, researchers are also advised to get in contact with UCL’s specialist Legal Services team.

Further Information

What is a Format?

By Ruth Wainman, on 7 September 2018

A format is essentially the form your data will take once you collect and archive it. Researchers are strongly advised to think very carefully about the final format their data will take so that it can be preserved for future use.

There are two main two main categories of files – proprietary and non-proprietary formats. Proprietary formats are more limited as they only work with the software provided by the creator of that data. On the other hand, non-proprietary formats can be used by anyone, are usually free of charge and therefore have more utility for future researchers. Plus open formats provide instant and easy access to data. In most cases, you should aim for your data to take the following formats:

  1. Non-proprietary
  2. Unencrypted
  3. Uncompressed
  4. Open, documented standard
  5. Commonly used by your research community
  6. Use common character encodings – ASCII, Unicode, UTF-8

There will always be cases where you will inevitably need to change the format of your data during the course of your research. This is why it is important that you provide further details about the format your data will take in your DMP and any features that may be lost once you convert it for archiving. Open formats may not support all of the original functionality of proprietary formats so you must take steps to hold on to both your raw and converted data sets. Some funders may also have specific requirements surrounding the final form your data should take so be sure to check their policies before committing to any set format.

Further links

Open Data as OER

By C. Yogeswaran, on 13 August 2018

Join us for this month’s UCL open education special interest group meeting. Dr. Javiera Atenas from the Open Knowledge Foundation will talk about a pedagogical element to foster open education through the use of Open Data, which MIT is currently working on. Javiera will showcase a data-research impact tool developed by the MIT which can be used as good practice to showcase open data as OER.

Wednesday 15 August 2018, 3-4pm, in Room 712, Maple House, W1T 7NF [map]

Introducing UCL’s open education initiative

By C. Yogeswaran, on 7 August 2018

Website: www.ucl.ac.uk/oer | Email: oer@ucl.ac.uk | Twitter: @OpenUCL | Repository: URL subject to change

What is open education?

Open education, like open access and open data, centres on a commitment to provide access to high quality education and educational resources to a global audience.

As the Open Education Consortium declares, “sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built”.

Open education typically involves the creation and sharing of openly-licensed learning materials – open educational resources (OER) – that can be re-used and enhanced by the community. OER can include lesson and course plans, exercises, diagrams, animations, video or audio lecture recordings, presentations, handouts, mock papers/tests, reading lists, and so on.

How is research data relevant to open education?

Open Educational Data (OED) is open research data which can be reused for educational (teaching and learning) purposes and improving the quality of education. The UK Data Service states that “real data bring learning to life” and that using data for teaching “is an invaluable way for learners to confront complex […] research questions.”

UCL’s open data repository, which is currently in development, will allow users to access and use data for educational purposes. Datasets which include raw and summary data can be curated and used as research-based educational content, and can include additional descriptive and support documents such as workbooks and educational guidelines.

Research methods and data analysis can be taught using embedded discipline-specific or inter-disciplinary data; this gives students real-world and practical resources to learn with, and increases the use and impact of research data.

Why should I share research data as educational content?

Publishing research data as educational resources will have wider global reach and impact, and attributing the UCL brand to your output should provide quality assurance for other users.

Your published OED can be cited and referenced by others and can be included in your publications (tying into the Academic Promotions Framework, which rewards open behaviours, for example), adding value to your teaching and research, and raising your professional reputation.

How will this benefit my students and me?

While the initial creation of educational materials from published data can require some consideration, sharing these will allow the creators to promote good practice, collaborate with other educators and learners, and respond to UCL promotional criteria that require publication of educational materials.

There is some evidence that re-using high-quality OER is a time- and cost-saving activity, as you can edit existing educational materials to make content specific to your programme or class. OER-use can also provide the chance to learn in different ways, i.e. a flipped classroom, and insight into the research-based teaching approaches of fellow practitioners in your field might lead to collaboration, inspire your own teaching and research, or contribute to original output.

Getting involved and learning more

If you have any content (such as data-specific OER) you would like to upload to the repository or if you require further information, please contact the OER team at oer@ucl.ac.uk who will be happy to support you.

To find out more about open education or to contribute to this practice at UCL, ask to join the mailing list by emailing oer@ucl.ac.uk, or attend the next meeting of the open education special interest group (SIG). This will be held on Wednesday 15 August 2018 3-4pm in room 712, Maple House.

We will also be present at RDM/RITS drop-in sessions if you’d like to talk to us or learn more about creating OER from your research data. Information about upcoming SIG meetings and RDM/RITS drop-in sessions can be found here.

More information about the project is available on the OER website, or you can follow us on Twitter @OpenUCL.

Further reading/viewing

UDIT: using (open) data in teaching (collaboration with Toronto, Amsterdam, and Radboud (Netherlands)) is a pool of resources for teachers to help them use open data in their teaching. These are being put into OER Commons and accompanied with the UDIT module. For those interested in contributing data, the project is seeking materials to incorporate into modules and OER Commons.

Open data in education (Marieke Guy, NetworkED)

You can also learn more by reading the Open data as open educational resources: case studies of emerging practice book, which includes case studies edited by Javiera Atenas and Leo Havemann.

Event at QMUL – SES Open: Harnessing FAIR Data Symposium, 3 September 2018

By Daniel Van Strien, on 25 July 2018

SES Open:  Harnessing FAIR Data Symposium

Harnessing FAIR Data (3 September 2018, 13:00 – 17:00) focuses on researchers who employ or are seeking to use data in their work. FAIR is a set of guiding principles to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. In this thematic context we aim to better understand the cross-disciplinary practice of sourcing, using and managing data and its associated implications, such as ownership, standards and metadata, and access and licensing. Experienced speakers from around the UK will come together to explore FAIR data and services, and a panel session will help to identify key questions that researchers face when considering using data in research.

Register online

Programme highlights:

Realising the Potential: Final Report of the Open Data Task Force. 
Prof. Pam Thomas, University of Warwick
The Re-use of Consumer Data for the Social Good
Prof. Paul Longley, Department of Geography, UCL
Using socio-ecological simulation models to make the most of hard-won paleoecological data 
Andrew Lane, Department of Geography, King’s College London
The CLOSER consortium of longitudinal studies: Opportunities and obstacles in harmonising data from diverse sources
Dr. Dara O’Neill, CLOSER, UCL Institute of Education
Publishing FAIR Data in Chemistry
Dr. Charles Romain, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London

Panel members: Prof. Pam Thomas, Dr. Paul Ayris (UCL), Prof. Henry Rzepa (Imperial College London)

This event is hosted by QMUL, UCL eResearch Domain and the SES Consortium.

New course in 2018/19! Writing Effective Data Management Plans

By Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, on 17 July 2018

Write

Photo by Mike Laurence / CCBY

Research Data Management (RDM) is an increasingly important skill for researchers across all disciplines and career stages. Most research funders are introducing new requirements around Data Management as part of the application process. Often researchers will be asked to produce a Data Management Plan or be required to share data at the end of a project.

This workshop will provide a practical overview of the major issues in RDM including how to meet funder requirements, how to effectively store data during your project, and making decisions about whether to share research data. As part of the workshop participants will begin to develop their Data Management Plan.

This new regular course will start in September 2018. Booking is already open for the following dates, 14:00-15:30: 26/09, 24/10 and 21/11.

This new course is part of the support services already provided by the Library RDM team to write Data Management Plans. Online resources will remain available to understand funders’ requirements, see examples of Plans and ask for review.