Managing and Sharing Data in 2021

Authors: Esther Plomp

NWO/Horizon Europe projects have the following requirements:

Data management should follow the FAIR principles to maximise the effectiveness and reproducibility of the research undertaken. 

  • The FAIR principles recommend that scientific data are: 
    • Findable’ thanks to their persistent identifier that is assigned to your dataset when it is shared using a data repository (see below).
    • Accessible’ so that the data and metadata can be examined; FAIR data is not necessarily open data, but the metadata could still be shared to ensure that the data is still FAIR.
    • Interoperable’ so that comparable data can be analysed and integrated through the use of common vocabulary and formats.
    • Reusable’ as a result of appropriate documentation and provision of a license that tells others what they can do with the data. 
Illustration by The Turing Way/Scriberia

Proposals

Data Management Plans

Data Management Plans (DMP) are required for projects funded by NWO (within four months after the awarding of the grant) and Horizon Europe (within 6 months of the project’s start). 

  • DMP templates are available on the websites of NWO and Horizon Europe, as well as on the platform DMPonline that you can use with your netID. 
    • DMPonline has TU Delft specific guidance that will help you to set up your DMP more efficiently. 
    • You can also use the TU Delft template available through DMPonline (although this will need some additions for Horizon Europe as this template is more extensive). It is especially efficient to use the TU Delft template if your project needs HREC approval (for example, working with personal data).
  • A DMP should be a living document, which is updated as the project evolves. Horizon Europe expects you to update the template throughout the project.

Data sharing

Data should be shared through a trusted repository, for example: 4TU.ResearchData.

  • Data underpinning a scientific publication should be deposited at the latest at the time of publication.
  • Data is in principle open, unless restricted access is needed for legitimate reasons
    • Access can be restricted when it concerns aspects such as privacy, public security, ethical limitations, property rights and commercial interest.
  • For Horizon Europe, the data should be licensed using CC-BY or CC0 (or an equivalent license), and metadata of the datasets should be CC0 licensed. 
    • For CC-BY it means that others should cite the work when they reuse the data. 
    • CC0 waives any rights, with citation still being expected as this follows best scientific practises. 
    • Note that some Horizon Europe calls may require additional obligations for the validations of scientific publications. 
  • These requirements are in line with the TU Delft Research Data Framework Policy, stating that “research data, code and any other materials needed to reproduce research findings are appropriately documented and shared in a research data repository in accordance with the FAIR principles for at least 10 years from the end of the research project, unless there are valid reasons not to do so.” (NWO also expects data preservation for at least ten years, unless legal provisions or discipline-specific guidelines dictate otherwise). 
Illustration by The Turing Way/Scriberia

Software

Software is seen as a separate research output from data:

  • Horizon Europe recommends sharing software (under an Open Source license).
  • NWO expects that software that is needed to access and interpret the data is made available, following the Five Recommendations for FAIR Software.
  • See the TU Delft Research Software Policy for more information on how to share your research software. 
    • TU Delft encourages you to share your code/software through 4TU.ResearchData choosing one of the TU Delft approved licenses (Apache, MIT, BSD, EUPL, AGPL, LGPL, GPL, CC0). You can also choose another data repository, such as Zenodo, but then you have to ensure that the output is correctly registered in PURE yourself. See the TU Delft Guidelines on Research Software or this recording for more information on sharing your software/code.

Need any help? 

Resources

Horizon Europe Programme Guide (pages 41 – 46)
Annotated Horizon Europe Grant Agreement (Annex 5, pages 152-153)
NWO: Research Data Management
TU Delft: Research Data Management
TU Delft & Faculty policies (data/software)

Quality is key

Authors: Esther Plomp & Antonio Schettino & Emmy Tsang

The quality of research is important to advance our knowledge in any field. To evaluate this quality is a complicated task, since there is no agreement in the research community on what high-quality research is, and no objective set of criteria to really quantify the quality of science

Where some try to argue that quantitative metrics, such as the ‘journal impact factor’ and the ‘h-index’ are objective measurements of research quality, there is plenty of scientific literature that provides evidence for the exact opposite. This blog delves into some of that literature and questions the objectivity of these metrics.

Journal Impact factor

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) was originally established to help librarians identify the most influential journals based on the number of citations the journal’s publications have received over the two preceding years. If this was the intended purpose, why is the JIF currently embraced as an indicator of the importance of a single publication within that journal? Or even further removed, used to assess the quality of the work by individual scientists

Multiple studies demonstrated concerns regarding the use of the Journal Impact Factor for research assessment as the numbers, to put it bluntly, do not add up:

  • By focusing on the mean, rather than the median, the JIF is also arbitrarily increased by 30-50%. Journals with high ratings appear to depend on a minority of very highly cited papers, overestimating the real citation rate.

As if that isn’t enough, the journal impact factor is also heavily affected by gatekeeping and human biases. Citation metrics reflect biases and exclusionary networks that systemically disadvantage women2 and the global majority (see for example racial disparities in grant funding from the NIH). Citations themselves are also biased towards positive outcomes. Reviewers and editors have also tried to increase their citations by requesting references to their work in the peer review process. Authors themselves can also decide to needlessly cite their own papers, or set up agreements with others to cite each other’s papers and thus artificially increase citations.  

Commercial interests

Next to the inaccuracies and biases in using the JIF for quality assessment, it should be noted that the JIF is a commercial product managed by a private company: Clarivate Analytics. This raises further points of concern as the missions of commercial companies do not necessarily align with those of universities.  

h-index

The h-index is another metric that tracks citations. A researcher has an h-index of x when they published x papers which were cited at least x times each. While this metric was developed to assess productivity and research impact at the individual level, it is routinely used for research assessment. This is problematic, as it is based on the same underlying issues of other citation-based metrics (as described above). Furthermore:

  • The number of papers that researchers produce is field-dependent (which makes this metric unsuitable to compare researchers from different disciplines). For example, some disciplines cite more extensively than others, which artificially increases this metric.
  • The h-index also does not take into account the individual’s placement in the author list, which may not be important in some disciplines but it makes the difference in others where the first and last authors have more weight.
  • The h-index will never be higher than the total number of papers published, focusing on quantity over quality.
  • Moreover, the h-index is an accumulating metric which typically favours senior male researchers as these tend to have published more.
  • The h-index has spawned several alternatives (37, as of 2011) in an attempt to counteract these shortcomings. Unfortunately, most of these alternatives are highly correlated with each other, which makes them redundant. 

Warnings against the use of these metrics

Many individuals and institutions have warned against the use of these metrics for research assessment, as this has a profound impact on the way research is conducted. Even Nature has signed DORA (which means Springer Nature is against the use of the impact factor for research assessment). The creator of the JIF, Eugene Garfield, also stated that the JIF was not appropriate for research assessment. Even Clarivate Analytics, the company that generates the JIF, stated that “What the Journal Impact Factor is not is a measure of a specific paper, or any kind of proxy or substitute metric that automatically confers standing on an individual or institution that may have published in a given journal.” The creator of the h-index, Jorge Hirsch, warned that the use of h-index as a measurement of scientific achievement could have severe negative consequences.

Tweet by Michael Merrifield on the use of citations as a proxy for quality in research. The image in the tweet shows an increase of his citations after he joined a large consortium project.

Consequences

The focus on citations has severe consequences on scientific research, as it creates a research culture that values the quantity of what is achieved rather than the quality. For example, the use of the JIF and h-index results in the tendency for individuals that experienced success in the past will more likely experience success in the future, an effect known as the Matthew effect. High-risk research that is likely to fail or research that only provides interesting results over the long term is discouraged by focusing on the quantity of outputs. The focus on short term successes therefore reduces the likelihood of unexpected discoveries that could be of immense value to scientific research and society.

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. – Goodhart’s Law

So what now?

Rather than using metrics to evaluate scientific outputs or researchers, it may be impossible to objectively assess the quality of research, or reach a universal agreement on how to assess research quality. Instead, we could start judging the content of research by reading the scientific article or the research proposal rather than looking at citation metrics. This means that in an increasingly interdisciplinary world researchers will have to communicate their findings or proposals in different ways that are, to a certain extent, understandable to peers in other fields. If that sounds too simplistic, there are also some other great initiatives listed below that serve as alternatives to citation-based metrics in assessing research quality:

Alternative methods and examples of research assessment

See also:
1) Brito and Rodríguez-Navarro 2019, Seglen 1997, Brembs et al. 2013, Callaham et al. 2002, Glänzel and Moed 2002, Rostami-Hodiegan and Tucker 2001, Seglen 1997, and Lozano et al. 2012
2) Caplar et al. 2017, Chakravartty et al. 2018, King et al. 2017, and Macaluso et al. 2016

Attending FSCI2021

Author: Esther Plomp 

This year I attended FSCI2021, a two-week course/workshop on the latest developments in Scholarly Communication (July 26 – August 5). This was the second time this event was held online, as well as my second time attending. Last year I did not attend any of the courses this programme provides due to budget limitations. This year, however, I was fortunate enough that my scholarship application was granted, allowing me to attend two courses. This blogpost describes my main takeaways from the event. 

Lightning talks

During the first day FSCI2021 there was an opportunity to give a short talk during the lightning talk session. These sessions are ideal to learn about the latest developments as typically a lot of different topics are covered (with each presenter only having minutes to highlight their work). I presented on the Open Research Calendar, a Google Calendar that allows anyone to keep track of events on Open Research/Science. You can add your own event, after which it is added to the Calendar, promoted automatically through a tweet and finally also listed in the monthly newsletter of the Calendar. During the lightning talks there was a lively discussion going on about data citation issues, making for a great start of the event! 

Screenshot from a tweet by nina exner, who was live-tweeting the Lightning Talks session. 

Course 1: Reproducibility for everyone: a train-the-trainer course for teaching reproducibility tools and methods 

This course was set up to enable participants to deliver reproducibility workshops using the materials from Reproducibility for Everyone. Reproducibility for Everyone (R4E) is a community-led education initiative to increase adoption of open research practices. R4E have made all their resources on reproducibility freely available and they provide support to R4E workshop organisers. During the course several of the modules that R4E provides were discussed by April Clyburne-Sherin. Additional video material by Robyn Price, Ruchika Bajaj, Batool Almarzouq, and Hao Ye was made available. These videos were really helpful to obtain a better idea of the workshops and how they are run. As the workshops are primarily aimed to be given during research conferences I’m currently still struggling how I can directly apply this knowledge in my own work. Conferences in my research field generally do not provide space to host workshops and are instead more seminar/poster based. 

Course 2: Advancing the open science agenda: an introduction to responsible research intelligence reporting

This course on research assessment provided a lot of food for thought. Antiono Schettino provided an overview of the latest recognition and rewards developments. Despite the wide recognition that open science practices are important to increase the impact of research, open science practices are not yet included in research assessment. Antonio highlighted that the metrics that are currently used for research assessment are inadequate to assess open science practices, as they are primarily based on a very narrow aspect of research: citations of publications. Some alternative evaluation frameworks were introduced, but it remains difficult to find a metric that would cover the complexity of Open Science practices. For example, it is difficult to measure the amount of data or software that is made openly available due to a lack of standardisation in these research practices compared to the traditional publication process (as also highlighted during the lightning talks). As Tung Tung Chan and Armel Lefebvre demonstrated, numbers on open access publications are easier to obtain. Other efforts that are crucial in progressing scientific research, such as mentorship, are very difficult to quantify. It appears that we still have a long way to go in developing new evaluation criteria. While this may seem like a grim conclusion, there are also plenty of recent developments that are trying to address this gap. It is important that researchers are recognised for their efforts when they make research outputs openly available, as this otherwise will remain an endeavour that only the very enthusiastic open scientists will participate in. 

Main sessions

The midpoint plenary panels on the needs and future goals of the scholarly communication community were also very interesting to listen to, especially Panel C which was moderated by Nina Exner. The discussion with Barbara Bordalejo, Helen Clare, Gimena Del Rio Riande, and Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou highlighted the need for a more equitable and diverse global scholarly communication ecosystem. Discussing the role of language in this is important to reach cognitive justice for the individuals that do not speak English or where English is not their native language. Helen Clare also highlighted the need to formalise the recognition of contributions of support staff in the research process. In the upcoming years the battle against misinformation also becomes more important as information is more easily spread and fabricated. For a more extensive discussion on the trustworthiness of scientific information I can recommend reading ‘Why trust science?’ by Naomi Oreskes.

I really enjoyed participating in FSCI2021 thanks to the efforts of the FSCI2021 team and all the course instructors, as well as fellow participants that shared their experiences. I hope to be able to attend the event in the upcoming years and I hope to see you there!

Communicating open science at TU Delft

In June, the TUD Open Science Programme (OSP) critically looked at our communication and community engagement efforts in a thematic session.

Key takeaways:

  • 📶 Use strategic communication to deliver stronger, more targeted messages to our academics, instead of overfeeding them
  • 🛣 Carefully, iteratively designed pathways allow our community to more meaningfully engage in open science
  • 👀 We hope to launch our new website in September!

Strategic communication to reduce overfeeding

The OSP’s Communication Advisor Marieke Roggeveen started the session by providing an overview of the challenges and opportunities in raising community awareness of open science initiatives.

Academics nowadays typically have a lot on their minds. Amidst applying for grants, managing their teams and research, mentoring students, teaching classes online, and much more, it is understandable that academics have little capacity to read extensively about open science or stay up to date with the latest developments in open science-related policies. 

Our communications hence need to be more strategic: instead of “overfeeding” academics with more information through yet another newsletter, we need to ensure that the most relevant information for the individual is available to them at the time they need it – less, in this case, is often more. Our messages should be targeted for specific audiences through more careful segmentation and should be embedded within a familiar context and begin with clear benefits for the reader (“what’s in it for you”). We should aim to build a rapport with our community with consistency and transparency, such that they know and remember where and how they can find resources and support to practise open science, and trust the information that we provide.

The various communication channels to reach different audiences at TU Delft.
The variety of communication channels within TU Delft – understanding who they reach and users’ expectations from these channels will help craft stronger, more effective messages for different groups of the target audience. Image by Marieke Roggeveen.

Pathways for community participation

The OSP’s Community Engagement Manager Emmy Tsang then reflected on the community design, building and engagement work in the OSP and broader TUD community, and shared 10 things she has learnt (slides):

  1. Think about the “why” – the shared vision/goal of the community
  2. Create a community culture
  3. Who? Identify the community’s target audience and members
  4. Make it welcoming for newcomers
  5. Make it easy for (potential) members to join and participate
  6. Acknowledge & reward all contributions
  7. Build paths for growth: from the first contact to leadership
  8. Starting is easy, maintaining is hard
  9. Listen, listen and listen more
  10. Take care of yourself

She also shared the development of the Open Science Community Delft since the new year.

Some aggregated data on the growth of Open Science Community Delft since Jan 2021, and plans for the community.
The development of the Open Science Community Delft, and our upcoming plans. Source.

Online home and visual identity for the Open Science Programme

For the past few months, Marieke and Emmy, along with a team of visual designers, UX/UI designers, and content strategists have been working on a new website for the OSP. The aim of the website is to inspire and motivate TUD researchers to practise and learn more about open science. 

Learning from research support websites of other institutions and our own, the OSP website aims to strike a balance between being a useful resource with rich, up-to-date information and overwhelming users. The amount of effort needed to maintain the site from our own team is also carefully considered. 

Marieke shared a wireframe of the new website at the meeting – since then, user testing with members of our target audience has also been conducted to help refine the prototype. Through a quick poll, we also chose a colour scheme for the OSP. The hope is the unify the style of visual assets produced and used in the OSP, to create a unique visual identity that our audience can easily identify and relate to. We hope to launch the new website in September 2021!

TU Delft Recognition & Rewards Perspective 2021-24

We are happy to share the newly published TU Delft Recognition and Rewards Perspective 2021-24.  

This Perspective is a summary of conclusions from discussions at the national and local levels, and a roadmap towards modernising TUD’s academic recognition and reward system. More about the context of this document on the TUD website

What are the next steps? 

The final pages of the Perspective outlines 15 projects as part of the roadmap forward: some projects aim to enhance and consolidate current approaches; others add and develop new practices. The TUD Recognition and Reward programme team will be looking for project leaders to carry this plan forward over the next 18 months.  

Illustration to depict the individual and university paths to impact for a better society. Individuals can discover your talents, build on your talents, build diverse excellent teams and have room for accents. The university can attract talent, have strategy and planning, recognise diverse career paths and facilitate personal growth in education, research, societal relevance and leadership.
Paths to impact for a better society. Illustration by Mark van Huystee / TU Delft Recognition & Rewards Committee, shared CC BY 4.0.

How does recognition and rewards connect with open science? 

Recognising diverse talent and “products” in research and education, and constructing pathways for teams and individual growth are both crucial to a more collaborative, open, and equitable knowledge ecosystem.  

The TUD Open Science Programme team will continue to work closely with the Recognition and Rewards programme team to advance our shared goals. In the next phase, this will mean ensuring that contributions to open science, such as creating open educational resources, open-source software development and participating in open peer review, are valued in scholars’ results and development conversations, that the development of open science skills are prioritised, and that TUD academics can make the best use of open science infrastructure, services and resources at TU Delft to form diverse teams, increase societal relevance of their work, etc. 

We strive to ensure that our community’s voices are heard as we contribute to the development of this new reward and recognition programme. Join the Open Science Community Delft, and sign up for Recognition and Rewards updates (by emailing recognitionandrewards [at] tudelft [dot] nl) to stay informed about the latest developments. 

Related reading: Recognition and rewards in the Open Era: Turning thoughts into actions

Data Stewards, Software Engineers, Competence Centres. The advantages of defining these terms fluidly.

by Alastair Dunning 

In a couple of blog posts (here and here) on the eScience Centre website, its current CEO Joris van Eijnatten laid out a critique of policy relating to data and software in the Netherlands.  

We share his concern that in the current discourse around evolving research practices, software is sometimes neglected in favour of data.  

For certain types of research, it’s all about the software – developing code that tracks physical processes, and refining that code until it is good enough to model the real world. The data that such code produces might have a validatory role, but it’s the software that drives the research. 

But in other areas of research, the data is the key thing. Mounds of csv files for example that do not require anything more than knowledge of Excel or basic scripting to analyse. 

Different research methodologies show that data and software are intertwined, albeit at different ratios. 

And this is also how it should be for the staff that support these processes. However, Joris’s blogpost on The people who build software in the land of dataspeak makes a clear distinction between research software engineers (RSEs) and data stewards. 

Fluid Roles

But in current working practice, the roles of RSEs and data stewards (and data managers, Open Science trainers, and associated library and IT staff) is much more fluid. 

This is something we have noted at TU Delft. Indeed our Digital Competence Centre (DCC) is established in a way that it allows RSEs and data managers to work jointly with research groups. Examples of five projects involving this approach are the bottom of this webpage

Elsewhere, data stewards contribute to Software Carpentry Training; data managers and RSEs contribute to Geospatial Python workshops; various members of staff contribute to Code Refinery 

And finally, data stewards publish code (such as this example on locating fake news), and software engineers may also publish data.

Their skills are overlapping and complementary. 

Dividing these roles, and creating professional barriers between them, will hinder the flow of knowledge and expertise needed to make new forms of science.    

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

The name of the Digital Competence Centre 

When the DCCs were first announced, we were also a bit bemused by the title. Not only did DCC overlap with an existing UK body that works in this area, but it seemed a vague title that could suggest everything and mean nothing. Libraries and IT departments already struggle with defining the purpose and direction of many of the services they deliver – surely a Digital Competence Centre would make this worse! 

But over the past few months we have come to revise this outlook. 

Precisely because the situation is so fluid; because new roles and responsibilities are being shaped; because the accompanying rewards and recognition are being though. A broad term that can encompass all these changes seems important. 

Additionally, the DCCs also allow for closer collaboration between different university services. Again, from a TU Delft perspective, the DCC has permitted the Library, ICT Department and High Performance Computing services (which are managed by the faculty of computing, electronic engineering and maths) to work more closely together. 

As we look around other Dutch universities, each university is interpreting the DCC in its own way, to suits its own areas of expertise and research, and to adapt to its current maturity in research support. 

Fluid Definitions

Having too precise a term might actually have acted as a counterweight and limited some of the experimentation that is going on.  

The examples we mention above have been facilitated by the funding from the NWO and its relative open definition of what a DCC is. TU Delft is thankful for the possibility to experiment in this area. 

It’s possible than in the future, we will come up for more precise terms and positions for all these roles and the overarching organizations.  

But for the moment, we are glad we can partake in this muddle of software, data and research. 

Data Stewardship at TU Delft – 2020 Report

Authors (listed in alphabetical order by the first name): Esther Plomp, Heather Andrews, Jeff Love, Kees den Heijer, Nicolas Dintzner, Santosh Ilamparuthi, Yan Wang, Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden

A special year for TUD data stewards

2020 has passed in a very special way for many people, the same for the TUD data stewards team. It was an important year with various types of changes for the data stewardship and the team. This is the moment we look back at what we have done during the year, and acknowledge our progress and achievement as a team.

Programme transition towards sustainability

The pilot program of data stewardship approached its completion at the end of 2020. Throughout the year, the positions of data stewards have been transforming from being funded by the central library to being funded by the individual faculties. Most faculties have made the positions permanent and the others are in the process towards the same setting. This is really a great achievement and an important step for the sustainable development of the data stewardship at TU Delft.

Transition within the team

The team experienced a transition period in the middle of the year. The former coordinator Marta Teperek was promoted to become the head of TU Delft Library research data services and Yan Wang, the former data steward of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, took over the task of coordination. This transition was smooth thanks to the continuous support from Marta and the fact that Yan was already a member of the team. More importantly, the team has become mature after years’ of working together: data stewards can independently handle data management demands at faculties and the team is able to self-manage in a very collaborative manner.

Impact of the pandemic

We can not omit the impact of the COVID pandemic on our work and life. Since mid March 2020, we switched to the mode of working from home. All the regular activities, like team meetings, RDM consultations, training and events, were forced to take place online. The team adapted to the situation quickly, not just changing the ways of working, but also actively experimented how to improve working remotely for different occasions. It was challenging without seeing each other in person, but the team managed to keep the spirits in the (continuous) hard time.

Team achievements across all faculties

Despite the drastic change in the ways of working and team dynamics, it was still a fruitful and productive year for the data stewards both as a team and individually. 

As a team, we have made significant progress on the following activities across all eight faculties. 

Data management consultation

  • The most direct outcome of our work is reflected in the consultations provided to researchers. In total the team supported more than 800 requests from researchers on data management plans and other data management issues. This has been almost doubled compared to the support provided in the previous year. 

Trainings & Education

  • Faculty-level research data management training has been further established and conducted by data stewards. According to specific faculty needs, such as the number of PhDs, the demands of data management activities etc., data stewards collaborate with the faculty graduate schools or departments to provide customized training support for all researchers and some master or bachelor programs. Some faculties have made such training compulsory for PhD students and provide it on a regular basis. 
  • We have also expanded the training support at the university level and beyond. In addition to the regular software carpentry workshops, some data stewards also provided disciplinary workshops, including the genomic data carpentry workshop, code refinery workshop, and social science data carpentry workshop. Some of these workshops were collaborated with other institutions and the data stewards played important roles in instruction and coordination. 

Policy & Strategy

  • Another structural impact of data stewardship is the faculty data management policies. Till early 2021, all faculties have approved the data management policies. All the data stewards have been working on implementing the policies or providing guidance into practical daily research activities according to faculty specific situations.  

Besides the above common achievements shared by the whole team, each data steward also provided extensive faculty specific support and combined their disciplinary needs into research or personal development.

Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Provided awareness raising and disciplinary RDM guidance for projects like ReMAP and STEP4WIND on research deliverables, project data security and publishing. 
  • Assisted design and development of ASCM Code Initiative for students and researchers (on-going pilot). 
  • Assisted establishing collaboration between 4TU.ResearchData with AIAA Aeroelastic Community (on-going).
  • Assisted AE Project Support Team (PST-AE) sessions 
  • to establish better communication and more effective workflows between the contract managers, finance team, project support and Data Steward.

Event and Community engagement

  • Intensified the engagement of researchers in the Open Science community with a doubled number of data champions from the faculty. 
  • Continuous outreach to new staff members with customized RDM info package.
  • Invited to provide training sessions and knowledge exchange on RDM, data/code archiving and publishing with 3 universities in Costa Rica, Spain and Austria. 
  • Invited speaker for INOS project.  

Self-development

  • Attended SURFsara training (HPC and supercomputer infrastructure).

Research and Publication

  • Faculty Open Access publishing statistics analysis. 

Faculty of Applied Sciences

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Started monthly PhD newsletters at the faculty
  • Joined the Faculty Graduate School on their tours across the departments
  • Member of a cross-TU Delft working group (involving the Library and ICT) about Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN)s 

Event and Community engagement

  • Part of the Think Tank of TU Delft OPEN publishing
  • Invited to provide Research Data Management training to Graz University of Technology staff, Austria.
  • Co-organised the 10th anniversary commemoration and relaunch of 4TU.ResearchData
  • Co-chair of RDA group: Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem IG
  • Invited speaker at 8 (international) events, presented 3 posters and attended over 22 (international) events
  • Program committee member of the Open Science Festival
  • Organised one of the Data Steward Interest Group Meetings and played an active role in these meetings/ the Slack channel.
  • (Co)authored 12 blog posts on Open Working

Self-development

Research and Publication

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Disciplinary RDM support 

  • Lead the coordination of the TUD Digital Humanities community
  • Contributed to one disciplinary reproducibility guidelines

Event and Community engagement

  • Recurring guest in the PhD onboarding course offered at the central graduate school
  • Invited speaker or session organizer at five (inter)national events
  • Co-chair of RDA professionalizing data stewardship IG
  • Served on the advisory board of TU Delft OPEN publishing and suggested to include the contributor statement (CrediT) in the publishing policy

Research and Publication

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Lead the implementation, onboarding and supervision of data managers at TU Delft and liaise with the Digital Competence Center
  • Took a leading role in emphasising the importance of management information on data for proper recognition of good data management practices
  • Co-organised week-long disciplinary RDM course (in framework of research school “Centre for Technical Geoscience”)

Event and Community engagement

  • Established the data managers community at TU Delft (on-going)

Self-development

  • Microsoft certification Azure Fundamentals

Research and publication

  • Developed the tool for automated DMPonline notifications for TU Delft instance
  • Established the workflow of handling DMP requests and provided daily support 

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics 

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Lead the development of the Data Access Committee for handling of personal and confidential data

Event and Community engagement

  • Project lead of the Open Hardware project of the Open Science Programme at TU Delft
  • Maintained the Data Champions newsletter and co-facilitated the transition to the Open Science Community Delft
  • Co-organised the 10th anniversary commemoration and relaunch of 4TU.ResaerchData 
  • Co-chair of RDA Discipline-specific Guidance for Data Management Plans Working Group
  • Invited speaker at multiple (inter)national RDM and open science events
  • Presentations and panel member in events on privacy in research data  
  • Contributed to five blog posts on TU Delft open woking blog

Research and Publication

  • Provided input and review of 4TU data deposition policy
  • Contributed to the development of Beyond Essentials for Data Support course

Faculty of Industrial Design and Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Collaborating on the development ‘Responsible Data’ modules for BSc courses at the faculty
  • Contributing to body of knowledge and materials in the Data-Centric Design community in IDE: https://datacentricdesign.org/
  • Member of successful H2020 Training Network grant on the future of digital design: https://www.dcode-network.eu/ (temporary site)
  • Participated in external research assessment of IDE faculty on themes of ethics and infrastructure

Event and Community engagement

  • Growing the TUD ‘Digital Humanities’ community with colleagues in BK, EWI and LR

Research and Publication

  • Ran pilot of automated transcription software with colleagues in ICT Innovation
  • Published an Open Access book from work in previous research team

Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Facilitated the Coding Assistant & Research Software Engineer Pilot at 3mE, in collaboration with the library
  • Member of a cross-TU Delft working group (involving the Library and ICT) about Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN)s 

Event and Community engagement

Research and Publication

Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Contributed to the design of ReproJuice – the Reproducibility Game (currently being deployed) in collaboration with the Game lab
  • Contributed to the MSc workshops on code/software management (part of the “REDCAR” initiative)
  • Provided support to student projects involving personal data as part of BSc MOT-9591 lecture 
  • Provided tutorials and reviews on project specific RDM outputs. 
  • Started the development of a RDM check-out procedure for retiring colleagues. 

Research and publications

Looking forward

Till the moment, the team is still working remotely but with ongoing and new development. The team is in full gear again after going through the transition period by having a new member joined in February. We look forward to intensifying the cultural change towards good data management and open science in the research community, while also to further shaping our data stewardship model.

The importance of data management and demands for data stewards have become evident. We feel proud of our achievements meanwhile also acknowledge many challenges ahead, such as making data management support sustainable with structural institutional changes, better aligning with other research services in the research management ecosystem, further exploring disciplinary RDM solutions and guidance, evaluating the effectiveness of data stewardship in both qualitative and quantitative ways, professionalising data stewardship as a well recognized career path and so on. These are all questions we have and we will carry them onwards in the coming year(s).

What a year! Research Data Services contributions to TU Delft in 2020

Authors: Connie Clare, Ashley Cryan, Egbert Gramsbergen, Jan van der Heul, Paula Martinez Lavanchy, Eric Rumondor, Madeleine de Smaele, Marta Teperek, Yan Wang, Eirini Zormpa*

* with contributions of all team members of the Research Data Services team at TU Delft Library


The first quarter of each year is the time to reflect on the key achievements of the past year. Each service department within the TU Delft Library is encouraged to make such a reflection, and in particular, think about achievements especially relevant to each faculty at TU Delft. This list is then used as input for discussion points with the faculty leaders.

Below you can find the key achievements of the Research Data Services team in 2020, grouped by TU Delft faculties.

Highlights which apply to all faculties 

4TU.ResearchData

4TU.ResearchData has been upgraded to a new repository platform, with new sought-after functionalities: restricted access, integration with GitHub for software publishing, improved statistics, which have been highlighted in a short video animation. 4TU.ResearchData has also celebrated its 10th year anniversary, which attracted ~150 online attendees from all over the world.

In addition, there was a soft-launch of the 4TU.ResearchData Community, which has since welcomed more than 50 online members. Community programming includes one-to-one engagement, monthly working group meetings, blogs, and a monthly newsletter. Three community-led working groups have been established by data stewards from TUD, TU/e and UT: FAIR and Reproducible code (led by Nicolas Dintzner); Privacy and GDPR (lead by Santosh Ilamparuthi); and, Engagement and Education (led by Yan Wang) .

Policy development

All PhD candidates who started on/after 1 January 2020 will have their Data Management Plans (DMPs) as part of the go/no-go.

TU Delft has also revised the data management plan template to make creation of DMPs more cost-efficient for researchers. TU Delft template has been approved by NWO which means that researchers can use the very same template to comply with TU Delft’s as well as NWO’s requirements. In 2021, the DMP tool will be further integrated with other university systems: data storage request system and privacy register.

The TU Delft Research Software Policy and Guidelines have been approved by the Cvb on the 16 February 2021. The policy aims at facilitating the workflow for publishing research software and recognizing the contribution of researchers to open source software projects. The communication and implementation of the TU Delft Research Software policy and guidelines will start in April 2021.  In order to allow researchers to easily publish and get credit for their research software and to provide management information and statistics on the number of software projects published by TU Delft researchers, 4TU.ResearchData will be integrated with GitLab in 2021.

Training

TU Delft library has created an ambitious Vision for Research Data & Software management training at TU Delft and is working hard to implement it. This is a collaborative effort that involves data stewards, DCC and researchers.

In 2020, TU Delft library has closely worked with TU Delft graduate school to embed research data management in the Doctoral Education programme. We are proud to say that since 2020, Research Data Management is part of the Research Skills in the programme. TU Delft Library in collaboration with the data stewards have created the “Research Data Management 101” course for PhD candidates at TU Delft. The roll out of the course started in October 2021 and it is part of the Graduate School Doctoral Education programme. 

Furthermore, TU Delft library together with the data stewards and DCC provide on a regular basis the “Software Carpentry workshops”. These workshops are live coding sessions that cover the core basic skills needed to work reproducibly with code. During 2019 – 2020,  two hundred students and researchers have joined the workshops (led by Paula Martinez Lavanchy and Esther Plomp). The workshops are part of the Graduate School Doctoral Education programme. Data Stewards from all the Faculties have been essential in establishing and running the Software and Data Carpentry workshops. Six data stewards are now certified instructors from The Carpentries.

In 2021, the Research Data Services will continue the implementation of the Vision for Research Data & Software management training at TU Delft, and in particular, we are planning to create and to roll out a personal data & GDPR course for PhD candidates and start organising Code Refinery workshops, which will focus on FAIR software and working reproducibly with code.

Faculty-specific highlights

The highlights below are specific to each faculty and are about the achievements which happened thanks to a collaboration with TU Delft Library.

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment  

  • Together with the Library and the IDE faculty, took the lead in establishing the Digital Humanities community at TU Delft 
  • Was awarded dedicated support (competitive basis) of the Digital Competence Center at TU Delft (6-month dedicated support by Data Manager and Research Software Engineer) to work on a project focused on identifying challenges and opportunities for the implementation of FAIR principles within research outputs generated by the Delft Digital Humanities and Historical GIS communities 
  • Collaborated with staff members of the Digital Competence Center to host a 15-person online workshop, “Python Essentials for GIS Learners”, to help researchers build basic skills to work (explore, analyse, visualise and version control) programmatically with geospatial data through social coding
  • Organized two “data carpentry for social sciences” workshops, where 14 (from 38) researchers from ABE faculty joined. The faculty graduate school (Inge Meulenberg, the Executive Secretary of the faculty Graduate School) has shown interest in that the library offers this workshop more often. TU Delft Library is creating an alliance with Leiden university to offer “data carpentry for social sciences” workshops on a regular basis and in a sustainable manner, hoping that it helps to cover the demand from ABE

Faculty of Industrial Design  

  • Together with the Library and the ABE faculty, took the lead in establishing the Digital Humanities community at TU Delft 
  • The dataset by the faculty Data Champion, Natalia Romero Herrera, was featured on the 4TU.ResearchData Community platform: Monitoring obesity patients with innovative technologies

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences  

  • The faculty data steward took the leading role in the implementation, onboarding and oversight of data managers at TU Delft. Not only the Faculty has already two dedicated data managers at departmental level, but in addition, the faculty data steward acted as daily supervisor of data managers at the central, university level
  • The faculty played a leading role in emphasising the importance of management information for proper recognition of good data management practices 
  • Was awarded dedicated support (competitive basis) of the Digital Competence Center at TU Delft (6-month dedicated support by Data Manager and Research Software Engineer) to work on two projects focused on developing a Graphical User Interface for an automated risk-mitigation tool for construction projects, and scoping and executing efficient and FAIR solutions for handling, storage and sharing of large datasets of rainfall simulations across the continent of Africa
  • Has the most Data Management Plans created in 2020 
  • Showed high interest from researchers to join the Software Carpentry workshops (37 from 201 participants, in third place after 3mE and applied science) 
  • Published the most datasets of all TU Delft faculties (27% of data publications are from CEG)

Faculty of Electronic Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science  

  • In collaboration with the 4TU.ResearchData, the data steward took the lead in establishing best practices for handling restricted data (data access committee) and made substantial contributions to the Privacy and GDPR working group of the data stewards within the 4TU.Federation. This worked has been showcased on the 4TU.ResearchData community platform: Development of a Data Access Committee
  • The data steward made significant contributions to the dedicated national course on data privacy (in collaboration with 4TU.ResearchData and RDNL, and led by the Data Protection Officer of the EUR) 
  • The dataset by Jan van Gemert has been the top downloaded dataset in TU Delft in 2020: Technology in Motion Tremor Dataset: TIM-Tremor (715 total downloads) 
  • The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science has also uploaded the biggest dataset in 2020: https://doi.org/10.4121/uuid:cb751e3e-3034-44a1-b0c1-b23128927dd8 “APIUsageDataset” is almost 1TB in size

Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management  

  • In collaboration with the Library, the data steward has led the development of an interactive research reproducibility game, ReproJuice
  • Has the most Data Management Plans created per employee 
  • Second most downloaded dataset from TU Delft in 2020:  Covid-19 Lockdown Preferences (126 total downloads) (Caspar Chorus)
  • The data steward has provided substantive feedback to the revised version of the data management plan template at TU Delft

Faculty of Applied Sciences  

  • In collaboration with the Library, the faculty data steward took a leading role in the organisation of Carpentry Workshops at TU Delft 
  • Was awarded dedicated support (competitive basis) of the Digital Competence Center at TU Delft (6-month dedicated support by Data Manager and Research Software Engineer) to work  on increasing the visibility of the software package for an in-house electronic structure machine learning code, and developing a fast, interactive visualisation and analysis tool for multidimensional datasets that is embedded inside a Jupyter Notebook, with a modular plug-in support for generic input formats and metadata 
  • For the second year in a row (2019-2020), two of the faculty data champions, Raúl Ortiz-Merino and Marcel van der Broek, in collaboration with the Library, have organised a Genomic Data Carpentry workshop
  • Anton Akhmerov was part of the working group that drafted the TU Delft Research Software Policy and guidelines. He was one of the initiators of this work and his view has been crucial to incorporate the researchers perspective 
  • Together with the Library and the ICT, the data steward took a leading role in the roll out of electronic lab notebooks at TU Delft.

Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering 

  • Exemplary faculty with regards to stimulating faculty engagement with the Open Science Programme (particularly through the outreach conducted by the data steward) 
  • Exemplary approach to training PhD candidates on completing a DMP, with an evaluation/check-in meeting happening several months after the initial DMP drafting 
  • The data steward made a significant contribution to the programme committee of the Openness and Commercialisation conference in December 2020 
  • The data steward facilitated the Coding Assistant & Research Software Engineer Pilot in collaboration with the library
  • High interest from researchers to join the Software Carpentry workshops (44 from 201 participants, most interest from the entire TU Delft)
  • The data sharing story by Tom Dijkhuis and Max Ligtenberg was highlighted on the 4TU.ResearchData community platform: Making OperationAIR Data FAIR
  • Together with AE, the faculty which published 2nd most datasets (13% of all datasets published at TUD)
  • The data steward has provided substantive feedback to the revised version of the data management plan template at TU Delft
  • Together with the Library and the ICT, the data steward took a leading role in the roll out of electronic lab notebooks at TU Delft.

Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

  • Significant contribution from the data steward in engaging researchers in the Open Science community / Data champions. The number of data champions has been doubled during 2020. 
  • Together with 3mE, the faculty which published 2nd most datasets (13% of all datasets published at TUD)
  • The faculty data steward worked with the TU Delft Research Data Services team to initiative a collaboration between 4TU.ResearchData and AIAA Aeroelastic Community
  • The faculty data steward provided substantive feedback on the data management policy for PhD candidates at TU Delft