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The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

PaulAyris6 May 2017

LEARN End of Project Conference

5 May saw the final Conference in the 2-year EU-funded LEARN project on research data management (RDM), which has been led by UCL. This attracted 128 registrations in Senate House from 21 countries, with 95 institutions represented.

Deliverables IMG_4286The day opened with a keynote presentation by Professor Kurt Deketelaere (Secretary General of LERU, the League of European Research Universities). Kurt gave a challenging presentation on the need for universities to get serious about RDM. He noted the leadership role that Europe is playing in delivering RDM solutions. Further keynote addresses in the Programme from Spain and Finland amplified the theme from the point of view of research-intensive universities and infrastructure suppliers. Panel sessions with guest members answered questions from the audience on RDM and debated with each other the validity of current approaches and views.

After lunch, the Conference broke into 4 parallel Tutorials, for which UCL led 2. I gave a tutorial on how to use the 200-page LEARN Toolkit of 23 Best Practice Case Studies. June Hedges, Myriam Fellous-Sigrist and Daniel Van Strien also gave a tutorial on engaging early career researchers in RDM issues.

The final keynote was delivered by Dr Claudio Gutierrez of the University of Chile, illustrating with an apple and two books  that research data has become the new currency of the research environment.

The Conference marked the end of the LEARN project, which officially finishes at the close of the month. Twitter postings underline how valuable attenders found the event. CODATA and EUDAT have commended the Toolkit of Best Practice Case Studies. In one of the video podcasts from the day, a North American visitor commented that (as a result of his attendance) he felt Europe was more advanced than the USA in tackling RDM issues. This, and other podcasts, will be available on the LEARN website (along with videos of all the plenary sessions). The podcasts can currently be seen via Twitter and are discoverable under the hashtag #learnldn.

The LEARN partners have enjoyed working together so much over the last 2 years that we are already planning a LEARN II – this time focussed on the whole area of Open Science.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost

The Director’s View: LEARN Workshop no. 2

PaulAyris8 April 2016

LEaders Activating Research Networks

LEARN is an EU-funded project, led by UCL Library Services, which aims to prepare researchers, research organisations and funders for the data deluge. In new emerging research paradigms, the research data which underpins the research publication can be made available alongside the publication itself (e.g. journal article, book).

Stephansdom, Vienna

The 2nd LEARN Workshop was held in the University of Vienna on 7 April (Stephansdom, Vienna, left). There were just under 50 attenders from a number of countries – Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland. The morning session was given over to keynote presentations, setting the scene. I gave one on the importance of research data management and the ambitions of the LEARN project.

The afternoon sessions were devoted to Breakout Groups, where all the attenders were asked to contribute their views on a number of issues. I chaired the session on policy development. Compared to the UK, it was interesting to discover that most research organisations in central and eastern Europe did not have research data management policies. UCL’s is here.

The Workshop was very useful in identifying a number of themes and approaches, which will be reflected in the Toolkit of Good Practice which the project is developing. One obvious area is on policy development, and the routes that institutions have taken in establishing research data management policies. Another lesson learned from the Vienna meeting is that the project outputs, principally the template Research Data Management policy and the Toolkit of Best Practice, need to reflect the actual needs of research organisations and where they are in instituting research data management practices and infrastructures. These will differ institution by institution and the project needs to be aware of this.

The 3rd LEARN Workshop is at the LIBER Conference in Helsinki in the Summer.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services

 

The Director’s View: LEARN Workshop – LEaders Activating Research Networks

PaulAyris5 February 2016

29 January 2016 saw the first LEARN Workshop take place in Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, London.

LEARN London2 Jan16

LEARN is an EU-funded project, led by UCL Library Services, on the topic of research data management. 83 registered delegates attended the day from the UK, the continent of Europe and Santiago in Chile.  Attenders were librarians and IT staff, researchers, research funders, and research organisations. The LEARN project partners are: UCL, Universities of Vienna and Barcelona, LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) and the UN Library (CEPAL) in Santiago, Chile.

LEARN has as its ambition to deliver a model Research Data Management (RDM) policy, a Toolkit highlighting Best Practice and Case Studies in RDM, and an Executive Briefing for decision makers on RDM in 5 languages. The London Workshop was the first in a series of Workshops in the next 18 months being held by all the partners.

LEARN London Jan16

The Workshop was introduced by Professor David Price (Vice-Provost, Research, UCL) and the keynote speakers were Professor Geoffrey Boulton (Edinburgh), Dr Paul Ayris (UCL), Professor Sabina Leonelli (Exeter) and Dr Peter Murray-Rust (Cambridge). The keynotes set the tone for the day and helped to explain what the LEARN project is designed to achieve.

The afternoon session was devoted to 4 Breakout Groups, where the participants were asked to identify issues, interests and Best Practice Case Studies in RDM. These were then reported back to the plenary session and will form the bedrock of the LEARN Toolkit, one of the project deliverables.

The plenary sessions were videoed and will be made available on the LEARN website, along with the powerpoints and Reports from the Breakout Groups.

LEARN will return to the UK in 18 months time, as we will also be holding the end-of-project Conference here in London.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services

The Director’s View: Research Data Management

PaulAyris17 September 2015

On Monday 14 September, I was honoured to be asked to speak at a 1-day Workshop Bern Workshopat the Swiss National Science Foundation in Bern, Switzerland. The theme of the Workshop was Open Data in Science, and the purpose of the meeting was to help the Science Foundation, as a research funder, determine what its policy on Open Data should be.

Data-driven research is a new paradigm in the way that research outputs and outcomes are communicated and shared. In its recent consultation on Open Science (=Open Research), the EU Commission noted that the two most important aspects of this topic are Open Access to publications and Research Data Management.

Here in UCL Library Services, we currently offer a digital curation platform for the outputs of digitisation programmes, digital cultural heritage materials and other research outputs in our Digital Collections Service. We have an Advocacy Officer, Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, who will soon be launching advocacy webpages to support researchers in managing their research data and in meeting the requirements of research funders. And the University of Sheffield has been training library colleagues over the last 12 months in the essentials of research data.

Research Data Management is an important new development in research support for academic libraries and UCL is well placed to make an important offering.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services