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Data Management Planning for Secure Services (DMP-SS)


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Data Management Planning Workshop – Faculty of Population Health Sciences

By F D ( Tito ) Castillo, on 1 May 2012

Date: Wednesday 18th July 2012

Time: 1pm – 4pm

Venue: Leolin Price Lecture Theatre, Institute of Child Health

Public health research data takes time, effort and considerable resources to collect yet the associated data management practices can vary considerably and often datasets are misplaced or difficult to reuse. Management of public health data must also consider potentially complex legislative and ethical dynamics that demand effective information governance at all stages in the data life-cycle.

Recent initiatives in the medical and related sciences and across funding organisations (National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, MRC, BBSRC, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust, and ESRC) have highlighted the need for researchers and support staff to demonstrate both the capability and intention to manage their public health research datasets effectively. As an example, all MRC grant applicants are now expected to submit a Data Management Plan (DMP) as part of their funding proposals. Recently the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) has proposed an adaptable checklist of key questions to be addressed by researchers at different stages in this life-cycle.

The DMP-SS project, based at UCL, seeks to explore the application of this checklist through the application of relevant information standards. The project addresses both the structural and procedural aspects of research data management planning.

The intention of this workshop is to:

  1. present both DMPOnline (a tool developed by the DCC) and the MRC’s latest requirements on data management planning;
  2. describe on-going initiatives within UCL, including the DMP-SS project, and how they relate to population health research;
  3. seek to identify key priorities to develop these UCL initiatives further.





MRC Data management plans Veerle van den Eynden, MRC Data Support Service Project Manager


DCC DMPOnline Martin Donnolly, Digital Curation Centre


DMP-SS Tito Castillo, MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health


Group introduction and discussion


 Coffee break


UCL research data Max Wilkinson, Head of Research Data Services, UCL


Platform Technologies Jacky Pallas, Platform Technologies, UCL


MRC e-Health bid Spiros Denaxas, CALIBER Project, UCL


LSHTM perspective Frieda Midgely & Gareth Knight, LSHTM


Group discussion – priorities and challenges


For registration goto: http://dmpss.eventbrite.com/

Research Data Management Steering Group meeting

By F D ( Tito ) Castillo, on 22 February 2012

Attendees: Graham Hart (Chair), Tito Castillo (DMP-SS Principal Investigator), Stelios Alexandrakis (DMP-SS Project Manager and Lead Developer), Martin Donnelly (Project Manager DMPOnline, Digital Curation Centre), Jacky Pallas (Platform Technologies), Rachel Knowles (UK Birth Cohort Study), Trevor Peacock (AISC), Mike Sievwright (AISC), Peter Dukes (MRC Head Office), Julie Withey (MRC Unit of Lifelong Health and Ageing), Martin Moyle (UCL Library Service, Deputising for Paul Ayris)

On Friday 17th February 2012 we convened the first meeting of the Research Data Management Steering Group. Chaired by Professor Graham Hart, the Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences at UCL, the Steering Group has been constituted to address issues that emerge from the DMP-SS project and our collaboration with the Digital Curation Centre.

The meeting drew from relevant expertise and stakeholders from both within UCL and the wider academic community, with representation from UCL Library Service, Advanced Information Systems Centre, Platform Technologies, UCL Centre for Health Informatics and Multi Professional Education, UCL Research & Innovations, MRC Head Office, UK Birth Cohort Study, MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health and MRC Unit of Lifelong Health and Ageing.

The meeting began with an examination of the proposed Terms of Reference for the Group (see below) which were approved.


To encourage and aid the development of secure research data management, including tools and techniques for planning and execution, within the Faculty of Population Health Sciences at UCL and to share best practice with population health scientists throughout the UK.

Terms of Reference

To identify appropriate deliverables and metrics of success in the following domains:
  1. awareness of the importance of information security and data management planning in the Faculty and beyond;
  2. community involvement via consultation and engagement across appropriate UCL and UK population health constituencies;
  3. sharing of best practice across population health science research community.

There followed a series of short presentations that were designed to set the scene for the group and provide background to the DMP-SS project. I started by giving an overview of the local epiLab service that we have established at the MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health over the past 3 years. I described how the implementation of a secure virtual desktop environment has inevitably required that we develop ways of better describing users data management requirements and is of particular concern when cloud services are being considered.

Martin Donnelly, the project manager of DMPOnline, continued with a description of the service and outlined the ongoing development strategy, including the refinement and validation of mappings to funders requirements, the provision of flexible templates to accommodate funder and institutional requirements and the possible deployment of DMPOnline as a secure, independently hosted JANET service.

Mike Sievwright, the project manager of the UCL Identifiable Data Handling Project at UCL, outlined the approach that his group has taken in developing the strategy for management of identifiable research data at the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences. A clear message from his work has been the need to significant cultural change through education and researcher engagement.

Discussion points:

1) Storage of Data Management Plans outside host institution.

the question was posed of whether there were any practical concerns held by the group in respect of the possibility of DMPs being stored on DMPOnline, at Edinburgh University.

MD expressed the view that no intellectual property should reside within a data management plan, however TC pointed out that institutions may want to capture a more detailed plan, including some local information that is not deemed relevant by the DCC. Furthermore, reduction in the need for multiple entry of information would be crucially important for uptake by researchers. JP said that there was value in having local templates that researchers could complete “off-line” rather than being forced to log into a website. PD confirmed that MRC’s view of data management plans is that they should be kept simple and typically take the form of a short Word document.

MD pointed out that discussions are on-going about the possibility of a JANET hosting service being created to host an instance of DMPOnline.

2) Data Management Planning at UCL

PD expressed his strong support for the engagement of UCL widely in the adoption of formal processes for the development of data management plans. The view of the group is that we need to achieve a firm academic basis for data curation, handling and information security generally. It was proposed that the project team set up a workshop to which interested stakeholders at UCL would be invited to discuss the challenges in DMP development at an institutional level – to include representation from the LSHTM. There may be an opportunity to link with Paul Ayris on the UCL Library Research Data strategy.

MD pointed out that the DCC has resource specifically to assist institutions with the development of DMPs and he would be happy to support this initiative.

3) Training and user engagement

Training and community engagement were identified across the group as critically important requirements for success and adequate resource should be identified to support this activity.

Data Management Planning Workshop at ICH

By F D ( Tito ) Castillo, on 23 November 2011


On Friday 18th November we held a workshop that brought together all interested parties in the JISC Enhancing DMPonline Projects funding stream. The day focused on developing a mutual understanding of the potential challenges and opportunities for extension of the Digital Curation Centre’s DMPOnline tool.


DMP-SS Team: (UCL Institute of Child Health & MRC Unit for Lifelong health & Ageing)

  • Tito Castillo – Principal Investigator, MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health
  • Stelios Alexandrakis – Project manager and Lead Developer, MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health
  • Kevin Garwood – Software Developer
  • Michael Waters, Research & Innovations

Digital Curation Centre (DMPOnline)

  • Martin Donnelly – Project Manager
  • Adrian Richardson – Lead Software Developer

Oxford University (Oxford DMPOnline project)

  • David Shotton – Principal Investigator
  • Richard Jones – Cottage Labs


  • Arofan Gregory – Metadata Technology & Open Data Foundation
  • Veerle Van den Eynden – MRC Data Support Service Project Manager Medical Research Council
  • Jonathan Tedds, Senior Research Liaison Manager, University of Leicester
  • Simon Hodson, JISC Programm Manager


After a thought provoking discussion we were left with a few key messages to consider and act upon:

  1. Is the existing DCC centralised hosting model for Data Management Plans going to be widely acceptable amongst the wider research community? The existing DCC model involves the management of a centralised repository of data management plans. It was suggested in the meeting that this may prove to be unacceptable to many researchers and we will need to examine the possibilities of federated models being used.
  2. Can we express the current DMPOnline data model in a form that is suitable for encorporation into DDI? Arofan Gregory agreed to lead an initiative to develop a more formal modeol of the current DCC checklist that may be used in future to inform the further development of the DDI ‘life-cycle’ standard. Arofan’s clear view was that there are siginificant elements of the existing DDI model that do not explicitly support the DMP concepts although it would be highly desirable to consider their inclusion in a later version of DDI.
  3. What is the possible relationship between the IRAS (Integrated Research Application System) and DMP and would there be oportunities to interoperate? The IRAS system is used for submission of a range of approval applications and appears to make use of some form of common interchange standard. The question was askes as to whether thie DMP process could support the IRAS system in some way and how widespread is the use of IRAS at the moment.
  4. Is it possible for the DMP-SS project team to story board the proposed interaction between a DMP registry and their proposed Information Security management System? The relationship between the proposed ISMS and DMP registry is still unclear and it is important to begin to describe the proposed information flows and use cases in support of the ongoing development. Stelios Alexandrakis agreed that he would begin this work and Tito castillo agreed to share the current mapping that has been carried out between the DMP checklist and ISO-27001 controls.
  5. DDI ‘life-cycle’ training opportunity. Arofan Gregory noted that there is a possibility of DDI training being commissioned by UK Data Archive during 2012 however this has yet to be finalised. There was widespread interest among the group to attend suc a course if and when it takes place.


10.00 Welcome and introductions
10.20 The background to the JISC programme (Simon Hodson)
10.40 DMPOnline history and strategic plan (Martin Donnely)
11.10 Break
11.30 Introduction to the DDI Standard and associated tools (Arofan Gregory)
12:15 Discussion
12:30 Lunch
13:20 DMP-SS Project discussion (led by Tito Castillo)
14:20 Break
14:30 Oxford DMPOnline discussion (led by David Shotton)
15:30 Opportunities for collaboration and enhancement
16:00 Close