Research data preservation survey for LSE researchers

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If you are a research-active member of staff or PhD student at the LSE, please respond to our research data preservation survey by Sunday 25 March. Click this link to start your response.

If you are not in the above category but nevertheless want to see the list of questions and responses, you can download a PDF copy here.

As an incentive we are making prizes of Amazon Gift Certificates available to all who take part: 1 prize of £100 (enough for a Kindle plus an eBook or two) and 10 prizes of £50 (which will get you hours of reading, listening or viewing). Prize winners will be selected at random from respondents when the survey closes.

To show that we practice what we preach, the anonymised results will be made publicly available beyond the life of the project!

Posted by MR

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Weekly Gantt chart update

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The project is progressing according to plan. Work has begun designing the questionnaire for the survey of researchers at LSE. It doesn’t look like it is possible to target just the researchers so I’ll have to add to the email “noise” and send a more general message. Here’s the Gantt chart update (PDF): DICE Gantt chart – 2012-03-02

Results of literature review

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Most of February has been spent reviewing the literature on digital preservation and looking for existing training materials. I concentrated on work that would be relevant to the social sciences and humanities since this is where LSE concentrates its research efforts.  Although I am still waiting for some information from the UK Data Archive, I think the Review is sufficiently complete to make a draft of the review publicly available.

The recommendations are in 2 parts: the project specifically; LSE more generally.

Recommendations for the project:

  1. The development of learning resources for digital data preservation should be within a framework of research data management planning although there will also be a need to integrate material within an existing course structure.
  2. Don’t just talk about research data.  Some researchers aren’t comfortable using this term, so we will use “research material and data”.
  3. We will avoid defining this term too tightly but take an approach that lets the researcher decide what is and isn’t relevant to preservation.

Recommendations for LSE:

  1. Recognise that training in preservation of digital research data is only part of a larger need for data management planning.  This will mean the development/adaptation of resources to train researchers in DMP.
  2. As soon as we start raising awareness of the need for the preservation of research material and data, researchers will ask “where can we store our stuff?”  The LSE will need to plan for an institutional repository for research material and data to complement national archives.
  3. Researchers will also ask “what files formats should we store our stuff in?”  This prompts the need for some development of policies or at least interim guidelines in anticipation.

Next: a survey of research students and research-active staff…

[Posted by MR]

Project work plan

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A recent Project Board meeting approved the project work plan (Gantt chart style) with some amendments so that early drafts of the learning material would be ready for testing on the planned Information Literacy course (known as MY592 at LSE) in the summer term. Here is the amended plan (PDF download).

[posted by MR]

into the future…

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Q. Why would researchers want to get involved with digital preservation?

A. So that they can send their research into the future!

It’s easy to get absorbed in the urgency of what’s happening today and think that the future is, well, in the future so it can be dealt with later, but actually, it pays to think about it now. Maybe making a few small changes now will have important repercussions further down the line.

We want to get researchers thinking about the future of their research and what practical actions they could take to preserve their information.

(posted by MR)

DICE: Digital Communication Enhancement

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The project addresses one small but vital aspect of modern academic research:

What can researchers do to improve the preservation of their digital research material?

We will use the London School of Economics and Political Studies (LSE) research-active students and staff as a case study in developing resources to support preservation and access to research information through the life cycle of that research.

This project is funded by JISC.

(posted by MR)