Data Management Plans: Do they crawl under a lab bench to die or are they alive?

Data Management Plans: Dead or Alive?

As many researchers and faculty are aware, the number of funding agencies requiring a mandated (dreaded) Data Management Plan (DPM) is growing. The question then gets asked, is a DMP a living document or can it be created once and then recycled over and over. Or worse, never again revisited and left to die.  A properly created DMP is a living document. The DMP is a roadmap for how data is to be managed for the research group. As such, It is easily accessible and available. And the DMP should be reviewed at least once a year and any updates or changes be incorporated. So what are some of the changes can affect a DMP?

Graduation and New Personnel 

Graduate and undergraduate students eventually do graduate. When they do, their role as assigned as a part of the DMP needs to be filled. The new students are no longer the "newbies" and have the experience to be able to take on more responsibilities. Now is a good time to review your DMP and update roles and responsibilities. Performing this review is important for post-docs.

Infrastructure Changes

As we know, advances in technology are always happening. And periodic refresh due to technology changes are (or should be) a part of the IT landscape. As those infrastructures as maintained by the university, college, or department change, a DMP should be updated to reflect those changes. Even small changes to hardware, software, or an IT service can disrupt workflows as outlined in your DMP. So take the time to review when infrastructure changes are announced. 

Policy Changes 

Policies based on university standards probably will not change all that much, but when they do, you need to be sure that your DMP reflects those changes. Ownership, copyright and access of the data may change the methods and workflows of your DMP and not reflect those changes may cause problems further down the road. 

New Research

Finally, researchers may have a change in focus or may begin collaborative work with other researchers outside their field. When this occurs, a DMP should be reviewed to see that it includes those best practices, procedures and policies that originate with other disciplines. Any differences or conflicting workflows should be addressed and well documented as to which of the practices will be implemented. 


In the end, a good DMP is never a stagnate or complete document. It needs to be regular reviewed and updated. Doing so in an ordered and regular manner will make changes seem less overwhelming and easier to document. Time well spent now pays dividends.  

Scholarly Asset Registry

Starting this year, i have been working with a student developer, Delong Zhao, in the creation of a new tool for the OU Libraries and the VPR Office. The tool has been given the name of Scholarly Asset Register. It is a OU Libraries web portal for OU faculty, researchers and staff to register their digital assets. The main reason for starting this registry is that the OU Libraries is beginning to strategically plan for infrastructure and tools to be able to host these assets. However, before we can begin to fill the repository, we need to know what scholarly digital assets are out there. 

While the library benefits by starting to get a handle of what is out in the OU research community, faculty and students will be able to benefit as well. I have been asked many times if certain data and/or data sets are already available and having the give the "I do not know" answer can be frustrating. Starting this registry will help with further understanding how diverse and interesting are the numerous research projects across all disciplines and what digital assets that they provide for the university. 

The registry is in beta this summer with an anticipate public release this fall. In the meantime, think about what digital assets are in your lab or are associated with your research. Please think about what numerical data, photos, survey results, twitter feeds, purchased data, etc. We would love to know what is out there. 

Welcome!

The OU Libraries would like to welcome you to a new site, Resources for Researchers

As research advances, new policies and methods regarding data, data management and data curation make use of the emerging and advancing technologies. In addition, funding agencies serving as stewards of the tax paying public are beginning to announce policies regarding open access and reproducibility. The requirement of submitting a Data Management Plan (DMP) as a part of the the proposal process now becomes a very important part of the process. Not only is the formation of a DMP important, the implementation and following through the DMP will become an important part of the research workflow.

This site will serve as a site for learning what resources are available to faculty and students to help facilitate their research endeavors.  Websites, software, local resources, and tools will be listed with brief descriptions. However, making lists of resources and websites is only a small part of this website. The OU Libraries wish to make this an active site and will add contact from Twitter feeds, following those Twitter feeds hosted by other research libraries, data initiatives and major figures in the field of digital data, data management and data curation. This site will include a blog that will highlight in more detail, some of the tools and resources listed on the site. 

Finally, OU lLibraries is interested in your feedback. We would love to hear from you regarding the tools and software that you may be using successfully in your research endeavors. What issues are you having? What tools are not listed? We want to make this site a useful resource that you can use and share with others.