The event was focussed on the skills needed to support RDM in University libraries as well as examples of professional development and collaboration with colleagues in library services. The event was held at the University of Birmingham main library and many thanks to Patricia (RDM SIG member) for hosting, organising, and facilitating such an interesting event and in such a wonderful location.
"Rebels with a cause...rebels without applause"Dr Eddy Verbaan, Head of Library Research Support at Sheffield Hallam University was our keynote speaker and he began his talk with a call to all of us to think about what skills were required to enact the data revolution - and to reflect and celebrate on what we have achieved so far, and to have a critical eye on our planning, service priorities and strategy when we think about what we still need to achieve.
We understand our roles in preserving and curating the digital assets and outputs of our institutions, but what are we doing to ensure that they are discoverable and made available to others for re-use? We need to always be aware that different disciplines think differently about research data and the language and terminology we use needs to be adapted to the context/discipline we are working in/within or are supporting.
Eddy also covered the drivers for RDM, force field analysis, cultural change and research culture, and he outlined why he thought that of all the drivers, research integrity is the one that works best with his academic community, and is the one we should base our advocacy activities around.
Eddy asked us to think about organisational and cultural change and what it means for RDM by exploring 'The iceberg that sinks organizational change' and the Kurt Lewin's Change Model of 'unfreeze, change, refreeze' and we reflected on some of the missed opportunities we have experienced, such as fragmented RDM infrastructure, compliance vs enabling advocacy, the open data agenda, and of course lack of academic engagement with data repositories (both deposits and downloads).
The skills and roles we require should allow us to move the RDM agenda along into a more active (not frozen) service state, and we must remember that RDM is not solely a 'library' issue/challenge, but an institutional one. Roles may be intraprofessional and increasingly the successful RDM services are those that have a disciplinary focus rather than a generic one. What would an embedded RDM role look like and are any of us at this stage of RDM service model? The resounding response from attendees was NO - but we acknowledge the value of disciplinary RDM support, as provided by the data stewardship model at TUDelft.
Are we the rebels without applause? Eddy outlined that some of the LIS competencies and skills we already have, such as creativity, resilience, perseverance, patience, and partnering and engaging with our academic colleagues, puts us in a strong position.
Sharing experiences around skills and competencies for RDM from the University of Birmingham (Mike Dainton), Loughborough University (Helen Young/Steph McKeating) and Keele University (Scott McGowan)
- Do RDM support services require disciplinary expert roles?
- Confidence is high in certain areas of RDM support, but not necessarily across the whole research lifecycle
- Libraries as a central service may never be able to support all RDM activities - we need to manage expectations around what we are not doing or what we can't do
- Have we moved from an initial compliance-led RDM service model to a more enabling and encouraging approach?
- Cultural change and the challenges for RDM - more rewards, recognition, and incentives to encourage data deposits and re-use would be helpful
- Single points of failure - many institutions may only have 1fte to support RDM - what happens if they leave, who progresses and takes on the work?
- Skills and competencies and confidence checklists are valuable and welcomed by other colleagues in the library service
- For those new to this area of service delivery we need 'safe' spaces to share experiences and learn how to deal with institutional bottlenecks as we try and navigate institutional challenges, and also let's not forget to share our success stories
- RDM engagement and advocacy - for some it isn't an institutional priority during a REF period - OA administration and workflows are the current priority for many research service teams. Has OA become a distraction?
- Will RDM always be library-led? Is there a possibility that other key stakeholders will take on the service component in the future, as services and tools mature?
- RDM practitioners are not a sideline in the library service portfolio - we need to ensure that we are mainstream!