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Love Data Week research data case studies: DCAL data archive

By Daniel Van Strien, on 15 February 2018

This week is Love Data Week an international event ‘to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.’ As part of Love Data Week, a number of free events are taking place across Bloomsbury. We will also be publishing short research data case studies as part of Love Data Week. These case studies cover a range of disciplines and types of data generated accross UCL.
This case study looks at the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre data archives which collects 20 years of  data outputs produced by researchers in the centre.

Research Area: Deafness Cognition and Language Research

Dr Kearsy Cormier is a Reader in Sign Language Linguistics at DCAL and affiliated with the UCL Linguistics research department. Dr Cormier is interested in the linguistic structure of sign languages, especially British Sign Language (BSL) and in visual aspects of language more generally.

About the project

 The Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) Research Data Archive is an archive of 10 years’ worth of research data and associated metadata collected and analysed by Kearsy Cormier and around 20 other colleagues at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, covering a range of projects on linguistics, psycholinguistics, neuroscience in the field of deafness and sign language studies.

Project funding

DCAL was funded as an ESRC research centre from 2006 to 2016 and this archive documents all the data collected and analysed by DCAL-funded projects during that time. The aim is to add to it as DCAL continues with core UCL funding.

Research Data

A wide range of data features in the archive including Survey, Behavioural Experiment, Naturalistic Linguistics, Data, Observation, Neuroscience Experiment, Questionnaire. Participants were deaf and hearing sign language users, adults and children. As this population is quite small, opportunity sampling was used. Adults were recruited from the DCAL Participant Database, established during the life of DCAL, which by the end of 2015 contained around 800 potential participants. Children were recruited primarily through schools.

Storage

Data from these projects were stored in a number of local storage facilities including a secure server at DCAL, Experimental Psychology facilities and at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience.

Data sharing

The data are archived with UCL Digital Collections. As part of the process of setting up this archive a Data Archive and Management Policy was developed in consultation with many relevant units within UCL involving data protection, ethics, legal issues, research retention and so on.

Student involvement

Students have been involved in a number of projects included in the archive. The materials in the archive will also contribute to student teaching.

Challenges

The process of archiving multimedia data from projects spanning 20 years raised a number of challenges. An initial challenge was to identify and detail of the data to be included in the archive. This can be difficult for legacy data because researchers may have left the institution, data may be incomplete and in some cases lost. The other main issues related to dealing with the anonymisation of video data, copyright and legal issues, preservation, format, and processing issues as well as challenges relating to cataloguing and processing the collection.

Further information

This archive offers a valuable case study for projects wanting to provide a subject specific collection of research data which includes historical materials. You can read more about some of the challenges and issues faced by this project in a forthcoming paper (accessible from 05/07/2018).

Researchers’ perspectives on Research Data Management – Josep

By Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, on 13 February 2018

In 2017 we conducted a series of short interviews as part of the LEARN project. We asked several UCL researchers about data management and data sharing in their disciplines.

Dr Josep Grau-Bove is a Lecturer in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology; he works at the Institute for Sustainable Heritage (Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources). He is the Assistant Director of one of the Institute’s Programmes for MRes students.

In our interview he reflects on the benefits of Data Management Plans for research students, the technical challenges of managing data and the importance of data sharing within his Institute. He also highlights the need to raise students’ awareness of good practices in data management.

Watch Josep’s 4-minute interview (opens a new window in Youtube).

Josep's interview

Love Data Week research data case studies: human ecology

By Daniel Van Strien, on 13 February 2018

This week is Love Data Week an international event ‘to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.’ As part of Love Data Week, a number of free events are taking place across Bloomsbury. We will also be publishing short research data case studies as part of Love Data Week. These case studies cover a range of disciplines and types of data generated accross UCL.
The second case study looks at research data that was collected as part of the Poverty and Ecosystems Impacts of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas (PIMA) project.

Research Area: Human Ecology

Professor Katherine Homewood’s research explores the interaction between conservation and development, focusing particularly on sub-Saharan African. Katherine’s research looks at the implications of natural resource policies and management for local people’s livelihoods and welfare, and the implications of changing land use for environment and biodiversity

About the project

Poverty and Ecosystems Impacts of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas (PIMA) is a three-year interdisciplinary research project which aims to discover how Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas have changed people’s lives and their effects on wildlife and the environment.

Project funding

The project received funding from Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) a project co-funded by NERC, DfID, and the ESRC.

Research Dat

The interdisciplinary nature of the project led to a broad range of data being collected including data on household income, environmental data and qualitative data.

Storage

Data was captured electronically, anonymised, and stored using cloud storage.

Data sharing

The data will be shared using the UK Data Archive. The data will also be described in a forthcoming data descriptor paper in Scientific Data. This paper will provide an opportunity to provide further context to the project’s data and aid others in reusing this data.

Student involvement

 PhD and MSc Students from the University of Copenhagen were involved in the project. The insights from the project also inform teaching from Katherine Homewood.

Challenges

There were a number of challenges during the project. One challenge was dealing with the volume of the data. Carrying out statistical methods on the data which aimed to be quasi-experimental involved the use of Bayesian hierarchical models. Though there was support from a statistician during the project further support in this area of analysis would have been valuable for the project.

Further information

Further support for the project can be found on the project’s website.

 

Love Data Week – Consumer Data Research Centre

By Daniel Van Strien, on 12 February 2018

This week is Love Data Week an international event ‘to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.’As part of Love Data Week we are publishing case studies that highlight the ways in which people are working with research data across UCL. Today we are highligting case studies from the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC).

Consumer Data Research Centre

‘The CDRC is working with consumer-related organisations to open up their data resources; to our trusted researchers. This enables them to carry out important social and economic research.’ UCL is one of the partners in the CDRC. There will be a drop-in on Wednesday 14 February which will offer an oppertunity to learn more about the CDRC’s data.

The CDRC has a number of case studies involving UCL researchers:

Masters Research Dissertation Programme

The CDRC have just launched their Masters Programme:

‘A host of retailers, businesses and organisations have provided details of projects and are now inviting applications from potential Masters students to carry out research on a range of exciting topics.

The programme offers an excellent opportunity to work directly with an industrial partner and to link students’ research to important retail and ‘open data’ sources. The project titles are devised by retailers and are open to students from a wide range of disciplines. In previous years, we have worked with students from Geography (and GIS), Computer Science, Business Analytics, Economics and Statistics, but projects are by no means limited to these areas.

All students will be in with a chance to present their research at an academic conference (date tbc) with three projects selected to win prizes.’

You can find out more information and apply on the CDRC website.

Love Data Week Research Data Case studies: The British Sign Language (BSL) Corpus

By Daniel Van Strien, on 12 February 2018

This week is Love Data Week an international event ‘to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.’ As part of Love Data Week, a number of free events are taking place across Bloomsbury. We will also be publishing short research data case studies as part of Love Data Week. These case studies cover a range of disciplines and types of data generated accross UCL.

The first case study looks at the British Sign Language (BSL) Corpus.


The British Sign Language (BSL) Corpus

Research Area: Deafness Cognition and Language Research

Dr Kearsy Cormier is a Reader in Sign Language Linguistics at DCAL and affiliated with the UCL Linguistics research department. Dr Cormier is interested in the linguistic structure of sign languages, especially British Sign Language (BSL) and in visual aspects of language more generally

About the project

The British Sign Language (BSL) Corpus is a collection of video clips showing Deaf people using BSL, together with background information about the signers and written descriptions of the signing.

Project funding

The video clips were collected as part of the original BSL Corpus Project, funded between 2008 and 2011 by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Research Data

The data are all video clips (and associated metadata) showing 249 deaf people from all over the UK using British Sign Language.

Storage

During the project the data was stored on a secure server within Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at UCL.

Data sharing

The data are archived with UCL Digital Collections under the British Sign Language Corpus Project (CAVA Repository). There are two points of entry for working with the BSL Corpus data – one for researchers (via UCL CAVA) and the other that’s more user friendly for casual visitors (intended for the Deaf community). This approach offers an example of how data can be shared effectively for different audiences and make the research data more accessible to communities represented in the data.

 Student involvement

The data collected in the CAVA repository has been used extensively for teaching of Masters students.

Challenges

There were a number of challenges to the project. These include challenges related to data collection and the disclosure of names in the interview data by participants. As a result of some of these potential discoloures of names data had to be restricted to registered researchers who sign a user licence before accessing data.

Further information  

You can find further information about the project on the project website and an article on the project.

Love Data Week – free Bloomsbury events: 12-16/02

By Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, on 1 February 2018

To celebrate the 3rd international Love Data Week, several Research Data Management teams from London universities have joined forces. More than 15 free events are taking place across Bloomsbury from Monday 12th to Friday 16th of February.

Most events are open to all UCL research staff and research students; here is an overview:

A full listing of events is available to share.

For any UCL-specific questions, please contact the UCL Research Data Support officers at lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk.

 

Research Programming: next Technical Social event – 24/01, 4.30pm

By Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, on 11 January 2018

UCL Research IT Services (RITS) organise regular informal events where you can learn about useful tools and techniques which will help with your research while meeting other students and staff who use computers for science. Each event features a short talk followed by informal discussion over pizza and drinks.

RITSThe next Research Programming Technical Social event will take place on the 24th of January; it will focus on the Gamma project and its effort to make open data accessible and relevant to wide audience. Find more information and how to register.

The previous presentations of these monthly events are available on the website of the UCL Research Programming Hub.

Digital skills dates for 2018 – courses for staff and students

By Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, on 10 January 2018

Fireworks

Photo by Epic Fireworks / CC BY

Students and staff can now book new courses to develop their skills in a wide range of topics, including bibliographic software, data analysis, databases, graphic applications, SharePoint, UNIX, R, spreadsheets and more.

Digital skills drop-ins are also available during term time, on Wednesdays.

Find more information about dates, locations and how to book the courses.

Booking now open: Introduction to Research Support & Integrity – 07/02 and 21/03

By Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, on 20 December 2017

This regular training course introduces PhD students to research support available during the course of their studies. It is relevant for all PhD students, whatever the stage reached in their project and is applicable to all disciplines.

Each half-day session focuses on Research Integrity, Research Data Management, Data Protection, Research Ethics, Open Access and Research IT. The course highlights good practices in these areas, explains the expectations of researchers and points them to relevant UCL support services.

Two sessions will take place in Term 2: on Wednesdays 07/02 and 21/03 (2-5pm).

Booking information is available on the Doctoral Skills Development Programme website.

Open Research events in London

By Daniel Van Strien, on 8 November 2017

Two upcoming events organised by Open Research London exploring open science/research are open for booking:

The first event is taking place on the 21st of November and is a satellite event of the OpenCon 2017 conference. During the day there will be a ‘hackathon’ focusing on the themes of ‘Open for reproducibility’ and ‘Open for collaborative-coding’. You can find more information and book here. In the evening of the 21st, there will be a number of talks on open access and open science. Further information and booking here.

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