Data management examined at conference

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The management and preservation of research data was given a thorough examination at the recent SCONUL conference in Edinburgh, UK The annual gathering of senior librarians heard from a number of speakers about the information needs of the research community and in particular the role of libraries in managing the increasing amounts of research data being created.

JISC’s executive secretary Malcolm Read said: ‘It is important both to libraries and to the research community itself that librarians are responsible for the management of institutional repositories. While subject-based repositories have not come to fruition, institutional repositories have the greater momentum and need to be aggregated to make sense of the bigger picture.’

Jean Sykes, librarian at the London School of Economics said: ‘Research data is potentially a rich resource but often unstructured and inaccessible.’ She suggested that research data was not just about storage, but about ‘the whole life cycle’ – creation, selection, ingest storage retrieval, review, and so on, and claims there is a 360 percent anticipated growth in data volumes over the next three years.

The UK Research Data Service, the result of a collaboration between Research Libraries UK (RLUK), RUGIT (Russell Universities Group of IT Directors) JISC, SCONUL and more than 40 stakeholders, will attempt to help tackle this issue. The project is currently developing an understanding of the UK’s current and future research needs, undertaking case studies and developing a detailed business plan for the continuation of the shared service.

Deborah Shorley, librarian at Imperial College London and head of the UK Research Reserve (UKRR) said: ’The results of a current bid to HEFCE of £9.8m will be known shortly. If successful, this will represent a culture change for the higher education sector.’