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Engaging Researchers with Data Management

Connie Clare
Maria Cruz
Elli Papadopoulou
et al.

I. Introduction

Texte intégral

1Good Research Data Management (RDM) is a key component of research integrity and reproducible research, and its value is increasingly emphasised by funding bodies, governments, and research institutions. However, discussions about data management and sharing are often limited to librarians, data professionals, and researchers who are already passionate about data stewardship and open science. In order to implement good RDM practice throughout research communities a cultural shift is necessary, and effective engagement with researchers, who are the main data producers and re-users, is essential for this shift to happen.

What Is this Book About?

2This book contains 24 RDM case studies, each describing an innovative activity used by a research institution to engage with its researchers about research data. These case studies, collected from research institutions worldwide, illustrate the diversity of feasible initiatives that could be implemented in other institutional settings.

3The aim of this book is to inspire and inform those responsible for RDM using activities that have already been implemented and reflected upon elsewhere, and to help drive overall cultural change towards better data management. Our focus is not on what constitutes good research data management, but rather how it can be effectively communicated to the research community.

Who Is this Book For?

4This book has been written for anyone interested in RDM, or good research practice more generally. It will be particularly useful to those interested in how to effectively engage with researchers about research data management. This might include librarians, data managers, data stewards, archivists, members of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) departments, colleagues from legal and financial support, faculty management, senior executives at institutions, funders, policymakers, publishers, members of the commercial sector, and researchers at any career stage who want to change practices among their peers. In short, if you have read this far, then this book is for you.

Why Read this Book?

5We hope that reading this book will:

  • inspire you to implement new activities to engage with researchers about research data;

  • help you find the activities most suitable for your institutional setting (according to size, research profile, resources available for data management, target audience, etc.);

  • inform you about the ease of implementing each case, identifying the specific challenges associated with them and possible tips to overcome these;

  • give you a general overview of what other institutions around the world do to engage their researchers with research data;

  • provide you with tangible suggestions for actions that you could present to senior management at your institution;

  • stimulate collaboration. We hope that reading our case studies and learning about the initiatives adopted by contributing institutions will lead to new connections and cooperation.

How Should I Read the Book?

6However you want! We designed this book with a diverse audience in mind, and while some might be keen to read everything from beginning to end, others may decide to focus on a selection of the most relevant chapters or case studies. All of our case studies have been carefully selected for your interest, however, you might find our ‘How to Use This Cookbook’ infographic helpful to navigate the cases of most interest to you. This book is analogous to a cookbook in the sense that it presents each individual case study in a similar format to that of a recipe. Each case study contains a list of ‘key ingredients’, that is, the institutional context and key elements required to successfully implement the initiative, as judged by the people directly involved. For example, information on the number of researchers involved, the target audience, the cost and ease of its implementation are presented in comprehensible, visual manner so that the reader can easily understand and compare case studies.

How Did this Book Come About?

7There are many interesting initiatives utilised by research institutions all over the world to effectively engage with their research communities about research data. Typically, those interested in RDM support and engagement learn about these diverse activities at conferences, by going to a talk from someone who implemented such an initiative and/or discussing it in person. In addition, some RDM units and institutional libraries may have blogs that report their ongoing activities, and well-connected individuals may pick up useful information directly through their networks. . But is this really the most effective way to share good practice? What about those who cannot attend conferences, or those who are just starting with RDM and don’t yet have established connections or know where to look online for more information? How do they get started?

8With these concerns in mind, the authors, together with members of Research Data Alliance1 (and the Libraries for Research Data Interest Group2 in particular) decided to collect information from various institutions worldwide on how they engage researchers about managing their research data. The goal was to make this body of knowledge about good practice more readily available by collecting it into a book that would be more discoverable and accessible to the wider community of research data supporters. Our goal was to make it as easy as possible for others to get started supporting good practice in RDM, and rather than reinventing the wheel, facilitate the adoption and adaptation of existing methods from similar institutional settings. We hope you find this book as interesting to read, as we found collecting the information and putting it all together.3


1 Research Data Alliance,

2 Libraries for Research Data Interest Group,

3 A blog post about the book sprint during which we wrote the Cookbook is available online: Connie Clare, ‘Book Sprint Success: A Team Writing Exercise for the Win’, 23 July 2019,

Table des illustrations

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