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Conference Presentations 2016

  • IASSIST 2016-Embracing the 'Data Revolution': Opportunities and challenges for research, Bergen
    Host Institution: NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data

2E: Data management planning in action (Fri, 2016-06-03)
Chair:E. Michelle Edwards

  • Formal Data Management Planning: Useful Guidance Or Administrative Burden?
    Marieke Heers (FORS, Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences)
    Brian Kleiner (FORS, Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences)


    Recent years have seen increasing initiatives aiming to promote data sharing, driven in part by the Open Access movement, with increasing awareness among stakeholders and researchers of the importance of making data publicly available. A number of research funding agencies have made data management plans a formal requirement of the research proposal; others are contemplating doing so. This is the case of Switzerland's main science funder, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). As a representative of the Swiss research community in the social sciences, but also as the main national data archive in the field, it is important for the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS) to assist in this possible policy development from the SNSF. Reviewing data management plans (DMP's) from several countries, we asked the following questions: a) is there such thing as a DMP, or is there rather a variety of DMPs serving different goals? b) How useful/relevant are DMP's for researchers? c) How could DMP's be improved? Results of our analyses show that data management plans are often heavily focused on post-project data sharing with less concern for data management during the projects themselves. We argue that redressing the boundary between future usefulness (for sharing) and current usefulness (for project planning) would help researchers' better see the value and utility of data management planning, and thus consider DMPs less as an annoying administrative burden.

3E: Data management archiving/curation platforms (Fri, 2016-06-03)
Chair:Elizabeth Wickes

  • Data repository platform evaluations
    Jennifer Doty (Emery University)


    In 2015, Emory University embarked on a process to identify an appropriate long-term data repository solution for locally-generated research data for which there are not suitable disciplinary repositories. To do so, we formed an internal task force drawing from across the libraries and IT services and representing a wide range of roles and perspectives in our organization. The group identified several possible implementations for long-term data archiving from available platforms. We then worked together to identify and refine our criteria for evaluating the different platforms and to conduct comprehensive evaluations of each system. This presentation will outline the process of how we collaboratively developed our institutional criteria and how we established common evaluation tasks from depositor, administrator, and end-user perspectives. The presentation will also review the evaluators’ experiences conducting assessments in the dynamically developing world of data repository platforms. Finally, I will cover some lessons learned from the experience, including both the advantages and disadvantages to our approach.

  • More Data, Less Process? The Applicability of MPLP to Research Data
    Sohia Lafferty-Hess (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
    Tu-Mai Christian (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)


    In their seminal piece, "More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing," Greene and Meissner (2005) ask archivists to reconsider the amount of processing devoted to collections and instead commit to the More Product, Less Process (MPLP) "golden minimum." However, the article does not specifically consider the application of the MPLP approach to digital data. Data repositories often apply standardized workflows and procedures when ingesting data to ensure that the data are discoverable, accessible, and usable over the long-term; however, such pipeline processes can be time consuming and costly. In this paper, we will apply the principles and concepts outlined in MPLP to the archiving of digital research data. MPLP provides a useful lens to discuss questions related to data quality, usability, preservation, and access: What is the "golden minimum" for archiving digital data? What unique properties of data affect the ideal level of processing? What level of processing is necessary to serve our patrons most effectively? These queries will contribute to the discussion surrounding how data repositories can develop sustainable service models that support the increasing data management needs of the research community while also ensuring data remain discoverable and useable for the long-term.

  • NORD-i - a novel, DDI4-powered Data Curation Platform for NSD
    Ornulf Risnes (Norwegian Centre for Research Data(NSD))
    Vigdis Kvalheim (Norwegian Centre for Research Data(NSD))


    NORD-i is a new infrastructure project for NSD, funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The goal of the project is to increase volume and quality of Norwegian research on socio-economic data and other data under NSD's archival mandate, through a strengthening of NSD's data curation platform and its interfaces to actors and stakeholders in the research community. Through RAIRD - another Norwegian infrastructure project - and interaction with CESSDA-related projects and the DDI community, NSD has accumulated sufficient domain experience and technological knowledge to plan and design a more holistic, automated and extensible data curation platform than previously conceivable. The new data curation platform will integrate tools and functionality for documentation, data management and anonymization with machine-readable resources (e.g. classifications, thesauri, question banks, institution registers, etc) within and outside of NSD. The data curation platform is also inspired by workflows and practices known from software development and source code management, and includes: * Fine grained revision control of data and metadata * Solutions for collaborative workflows * Automated testing and quality assessment * Automated solutions for packaging, distribution, dissemination and publishing of data * Inventory control * Activity reports * Online data management and analysis solutions This presentation will give an overview of the NORD-i project, NSD's context in the Norwegian and international research infrastructure landscape - and take a closer look at the foundational and functional components of the platform.

Pecha Kuchas (Fri, 2016-06-03)
Chair:Jennifer Doty

  • Datafication: Is That Really a Word?
    Susan Noble (UK Data Service)


    According to the OECD Data Driven Innovation report, Oct 2015, socio-economic activities are increasingly migrating to the Internet in what is termed the "datafication"of society. Thanks to the mushrooming evidence that open data are beneficial, much publically funded data are now freely accessible. In line with the open access, open education and open data movements, the UK Data Service offers more and more of its data openly and is keen to help UK Data Service users seize the benefits of this datafication of society!
    During this presentation, we will describe the features we have implemented on the Service's international data delivery platform - UKDS.Stat, which help to make it an invaluable resource for anyone interested in international socio-economic data. This includes the opening up of more datasets, the implementation of API access, the integration of research publications via Digital Object Identifier citations to demonstrate impact, and the reaching out to new discipline areas with a specific section on the Sustainable Development Goals.
    We will also present the plans we have for the future, for example investigating linked data and integrating social media.

  • Gently Introducing R To Your Research Community
    Zachary Painter (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth)


    The programming language R is one of the most popular statistical software tools, yet many people can feel intimidated by the idiosyncrasies and supposed complexity of the language. Other tools for statistical computation typically either require expensive licenses (such as SPSS or Mathematica) or are not as well developed as R (such as Python or Julia). Overcoming the mental hurdle of learning a new, unfamiliar tool that looks frightening compared to some alternatives can be challenging for many, yet with a little help from someone who knows some basic concepts those new to R can feel confident that they can learn how to use it. Drawn from experts in a variety of fields in the natural/physical sciences and social sciences, this presentation will demonstrate a framework to provide an instructor, who does not have to be an expert in statistical computation or the R language itself the tools to teach a gentle and logical explanation to someone completely unfamiliar with the R language within a 90 minute workshop. Basic functions, simple data wrangling, and introductory visual analysis will be covered to give learners a wide introduction to the capabilities of the language without giving them too much to absorb at one time. In addition, learners will be given a few brief resources to use pre- and post- workshop so that they can take full advantage of the time in class to practice hands-on and experiment without giving up hope that they will get lost or slow the rest of the group down.

  • Stories Are Just Data with a Soul
    Chris Coates (University of Essex)


    How does a communications specialist look at data science? (Or, what does a car in a fountain have to do with "big" data?) This case study of a TEDx talk at the University of Essex looks at two different kinds of storytelling: journalistic work producing "human interest" stories for a university alumni magazine; and the stories administrative data can tell us.
    The TEDx talk ( used irreverent stories about Essex students to draw in a general audience, and then compared these to (for example): the Index of Multiple Deprivation, which pinpoints the most deprived parts of England; and the Scottish National Health Service using data to target diabetes treatment.
    This presentation will examine how I researched and presented these examples, and wove different stories together into a narrative to engage the audience. It will also touch on how important it is for the Administrative Data Research Network to communicate in unexpected ways, to be open and transparent, and to encourage the public to see data science in a new light and understand its importance for society - all in order to pre-empt possible objections to the use of these data.

  • Energy Embed
    Lisa Neidert (University of Michigan)


    I worked for two years on a project as a liaison between the Institute for Social Research and the Energy Institute, an organization populated by engineers of one stripe or other. The University of Michigan Energy Survey is a rider on the monthly Survey of Consumers. The survey is taken quarterly in January, April, July, and October, although October 2013 was the first survey month. Thus, year 1 is October 2013 - July 2014 and year 2 is October 2014 - July 2015. Exciting for the project is the movement in the price of gas from 3.70 a gallon down to 2.10. This allows us to see how the consumer unaffordability threshold responds to price changes. This presentation will describe the survey and some findings; the tasks I did; what I had to learn; and all the details about going to the dark side.

  • A Match Made in Data? - Developing a UK Research Data Discovery Service
    Veerle Van den Eynden (UK Data Service, University of Essex)


    Research data are everywhere. Created by researchers, then lodged in disciplinary data centres, university repositories, journal supplements, international repositories. How do we keep track of which interesting data are out there to use and where they can be found? A partnership of Jisc, seven UK data centres and nine university repositories that are representative of the current UK research data landscape are busy developing a UK-wide research data discovery service, by harvesting metadata into a central discovery service. In theory this sounds easy; in practice quite a challenge. For starters, how to define the scope of which "UK research data" to bring into this portal? Data resulting from publicly funding research? Data created by UK researchers? Data of use to UK researchers? And what do we understand with research data anyway and how they are represented in a dataset? Can we organise and describe visual arts data with the same metadata profile as collections of interviews, crystal structures or data produced by neutron beamer experiments? How does DDI map to the Gemini metadata standard or to the Core Scientific Metadata Model) metadata standard ? Long-established data centres have typically developed optimal ways to represent datasets for their discipline. Newly established university repositories have much flexibility in implementing generic data solutions. The advisory groups formed of specialists from across the partnership's data repositories steer us professionally through this maze of weird and wonderful data facts and tales towards a harmonious discovery service.

  • Feeling Like Indiana Jones: Discovering the Unknown Holy Grail of Administrative Data
    Kakia Chatsiou (UK Data Archive, University of Essex)


    The Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) helps researchers access de-identified administrative data to carry out research that can benefit society. Researchers can apply to the Network with a research idea to access administrative data in secure environments.
    ADRN User Services are tasked to advise on data sometimes not used before, not well understood or even unclear if they exist. This is often due to:

    •  the nature of administrative data (operational; undocumented; volume; dynamic; mostly unconsented; quality; frequency of release; retention periods, legislation)
    •  the nature of information about administrative data (inconsistent metadata and schema; not interoperable; incomplete; quality; validation; reproducibility)
    •  the diversity of needs of stakeholders engaged
    •  limited resources of government departments

    Valuable research can happen by unlocking the potential of administrative data but at the moment the research community has little motivation to use these sources and a very limited understanding of what is available.
    The presentation provides an overview of recent work in that area and how we have recently dealt with challenges, worked alongside administrative departments to encourage the use of and implemented standardised approaches to metadata collection. And why we feel like Indy in search of the Holy Grail. Most of the times.

  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect


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