Category: Data Stewardship

Data Stewardship at TU Delft – 2021 Report

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

Advancing data stewardship

The Data Stewards team at TU Delft has finished another busy year. As changes and remote working became the new norm, the team carried on the success with great adaptability and maturity in 2021. In this report, we review the activities done in the past year and acknowledge the achievements as a team.

More transitions and finally a complete & bigger team!

The team transition mentioned in the 2020 report has continued in 2021:

  • In February, we made the team complete by welcoming Diana Popa, the new Data Steward of the Faculty Architecture and the Built Environment.
  • Sadly in April, we had to start saying farewell to Kees den Heijer, the Data Steward of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. Kees was one of the first Data Stewards at the start of the Data Stewardship program. Thankfully that Kees’s new position is within the Research Data Services (RDS) team at the library and he could still offer essential RDM support to the faculty before the new Data Steward is in place. Nicolas Dintzner, the Data Steward of the Faculty Technology, Policy and Management, also kindly helped with some requests with ethical approval required.
  • From the end of May till the end of September, the coordinator Yan Wang was on maternity leave. The coordination was done in a joint effort by the whole team and colleagues from the RDS team. The team’s internal coordination was shared by the Data Stewards. Some Data Stewards were taking lead in coordinating with other research support teams according to their engagement and interests in relevant topics.
  • In October, the team was finally complete. We are proud to have Armstrong and Newton on board. Lora Armstrong is the new Data Steward of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. Arthur Newton is the first Data Steward of QuTech. Now the sky is not even the limit anymore!

Due to COVID restrictions, the team has continued working virtually during the year, and we did not have a chance to have a proper farewell and welcome.

Strengthening connections with other research support teams

The RDM support provided by the Data Stewards team is a joint effort with valuable input from numerous research support teams. We have established good connections with many of them since the start of the data stewardship. In 2021 we further strengthened the link with those who are already working with us and reached out to others to build up more connections.

  • The privacy team, Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), and ICT innovation have been our close partners in the university-level Personal Research Data (PRD) workflow. The communication between the Data Stewards and these teams became further regulated on a bi-weekly or monthly basis during last year.
  • The Data Stewards team has also established closer contact with the Innovation and Impact Centre (IIC). The IIC has teams of grant officers and project managers who help researchers with grant proposals and project coordination. In collaboration with the former Open Science community engagement manager Emmy Tsang, a few data stewards contributed to a series of collaborative activities:
    • A mini-workshop on Data and IP for project managers
  • The Data Stewards have been in close collaboration with the DCC team on various activities since the start of the DCC at TU Delft. Since October 2021, the coordinators of both teams were in place and started to keep each other updated.

Team achievements across all faculties

Despite different disciplinary demands among faculties, there are a few common activities performed by DSs across all faculties. As a team, we continued to provide the following types of support which form the foundation of the RDM support from the team.

Data management consultation

  • Consultation is still the main channel to deliver the RDM support. From all faculties, more than 1200 requests from researchers were received in 2021. This shows another significant increase (approximately 50%) compared to the requests received in 2020. While Data Management Plans (DMPs) were still the majority of the requests, there was a broad range of questions on data storage, sharing, licensing, privacy, tooling, and others.  

Training & Education

  • Data Stewards continue to get involved in RDM training at both the faculty and university level. Many Data Stewards contributed to the software carpentry and data carpentry workshops as instructors, helpers,s or coordinators. RDM training at the faculty level is provided in various formats, such as informative sessions at the individual, group, or department level, RDM courses for PhDs, or discipline-specific training workshops.

Policy & Strategy

  • The team has been working on publishing and implementing faculty-level data management policies since 2019. In early 2021, all faculties (except QuTech whose Data Steward only started in October 2021 but already started working on the policy draft since then) have published their policies. The team also provided valuable input and facilitated the consultation of the TU Delft Research Software Policy and the Guidelines on Research Software which were published in March 2021.

In addition to the above-mentioned common achievement of the whole team, each Data Steward further expanded their disciplinary support according to faculty needs.

Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Co-developed the ASCM Code Initiative which has consisted of developing an instructing wiki and giving training sessions on proper coding practices for ASCM researchers. This is expected to continue this year and probably expand to more faculty sections.
  • Performed specific training sessions for different groups to improve their coding management skills (version control).
  • 1 Astronomy Data Carpentry workshop (at the national level in collaboration with Netherlands Institute for Space Research SRON, Leiden Sterrewacht, and Netherlands eScience Center), and 4 code management workshops (at the faculty level).
  • Became the Secretary of the Data Carpentry Astronomy curriculum (

Event and community engagement

  • Expanded the faculty Data Champions from 13 (one left TU Delft) in 2020 to 19 in 2021
  • Instructor in Train the Trainer FAIR and Reproducible Code workshop for 4TU Data Stewards.
  • Led sessions on Data Curation for the Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya
  • Invited speaker at 8 (online) events showcasing Data Stewardship at TU Delft and recommended research data management practices (for Helis Academy, Graz University of Technology, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, LA Referencia, Universidad Internacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de Panamá and Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo de Chile).
  • Hosted a Data Steward Interest Group meeting (

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Performed an Informative Session on Open Science and Research Data Management requirements for research funding officers of the TU Delft Innovation & Impact Center.

Faculty of Applied Science

A full overview of Data Steward activities is summarized nicely in this blog:

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Implemented the Open Life Science programme into the Faculty Graduate School so that Ph.D. candidates from Applied Science can follow the top training on Open Science practices for credits!
  • Part of the ELN project group

Event and community engagement

  • Invited to provide Research Data Management training to the SeaChanges project, Helis Academy, DCC Spring Course
  • Mentor/expert for the Open Life Science Programme
  • Project Member of The Turing Way
  • Co-chair of RDA group: Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem IG. This year the group organized a webinar series and created a 23 Things on Physical Samples overview.
  • Participant in the CSCCE Community Champions meetings
  • Was an (invited) speaker at 9 events, programme committee member or (co)organizer of 11 events, workshops, or sessions, and presented 1 poster


  • Attended courses on Leadership and online community management

Research and publication

  • (Co)authored 10 blog posts on Open Working, The Open Archaeobotanist, Data Horror Stories, Software Sustainability Institute, and Code for Society
  • Published a data paper:

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Event and community engagement

  • Participated in Working groups:
    • WG with the IIC on project support for the new Horizon Europe program:  Next steps Open Science/Open Data/Ethics Horizon Europe;
    • Privacy and GDPR Working group;
    • IAM soundboard group
    • Measuring the Adoption of Fair data practice Working group
  • Helped organize the Delft Digital Humanities community meetings.
  • Participated in DCC events and training.
  • Participated in Online events (selection):
    • Organized by the IIC:
      • Demystifying data management and ethical considerations for grant applicants;
      • Business partnership Support for research collaborations;
      • GPS: get your bearings in funding land –  Get Prepared for Subsidies.
    • CESAER events:
      • First experiences with EU funding programmes from 2021 to 2027;
      • do no significant harm’ principle and its proposed implementation by the European Commission.
    • NWO Webinar FAIR: It Takes a Village.
    • SURF Research Bootcamp.
    • DANS Data Trail Workshop – FAIR data assessment tools: an evaluation.
    • LCRDM: Network Afternoon LUSTRUM Edition of the data support collective.
    • “FAIRsFAIR roadshow.
    • Research and Innovation days.
    • UN Open Science Conference.
    • Open Science Coffee Delft: Diversity & Inclusion in Research, Technology, and Design.


  • Completed the Scopus Certification Program for Librarians.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Due to the change of the Data Steward, there was a 5-month gap in providing the faculty support. Nevertheless, there was still significant additional work done by (both) the data stewards.

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Internal presentation to the Transport & Planning department
  • Contribution to Open Science paragraph for Midterm Civil Engineering

Event and community engagement

  • Participated in FAIR and Reproducible Code Working Group
  • Provided input for the Information Literacy masters course being designed by the library
  • Supervising data managers for DCC
  • Involvement in EPOS-NL/4TU.ResearchData/UU collaboration
  • Involvement in the Digishape initiative

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Developed and delivered training sessions on the handling of personal data in Research for Masters Students
  • In conjunction with researchers at IEPG helped develop research group-specific data management structure and workflow.
  • Contributed to the development of “Beyond Essentials” – RDNL course focused on privacy and GDPR (development led by Marlon Domingus from Erasmus University)
  • Project lead Open Hardware project within the Open Science Programme, 40,000 Euro budget for developing Open Hardware activities
    • Organized multiple workshops (with a team)
      • A hands-on Online Open Hardware workshop at the Open Science Festival
      • In conjunction with the DCSE a beginner and an intermediate-level workshop on cluster computing using Raspberry Pis
    • Created the position and hired a Research Hardware Engineer (RHE) – first of a kind role for supporting open hardware activities (to the best of my knowledge)

Event and community engagement

  • Invited speaker at Helis Academy, Graz University of Technology
  • Active in three working groups as part of the 4TU community
    • Led the Privacy and GDPR Working group
    • FAIR and Reproducible code WG
    • Engagement and Education WG
  • Co-chair of RDA working group: Discipline-specific Guidance for Data Management Plans
  • Session organizer at the RDA’s 17th & 18th Plenary Meetings
  • Invited as a guest on the R2OS (Road to Open Science) podcast from Utrecht University
  • Part of the team that created and published the FAIRly Open After Dark podcast series, which dealt with Open Science, FAIR Data, and Academia in general from the perspectives of different stakeholders.
  • Participated in the Health RI conference 

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Collaborated with the privacy team and HREC on aligning workflow for research projects that handle personal data.

Faculty of Industrial Design and Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Co-taught two sessions of ‘Ethics and Research Data Management’ module for the IDE Ph.D. research school
  • Co-developed and taught a BSc course on ‘Data as a Design Material’
  • Developed and taught a module on ‘Responsible IoT Design’ for the BSc course on ‘Software-Enabled Products’

Research and publication

Event and community engagement

  • Attended multiple Design & Digital/Computational Humanities conferences and events, most notably those from DH Benelux featuring practices and practitioners from the Benelux Regions and Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven

Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime, and Materials Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Further developed and regularly delivered Data Management Plan Training for 3mE Ph.D. students 
  • Contributed to the development of and taught at the MSc course ‘Introduction to Engineering Research’
  • Taught at the BSc programme ‘Clinical Technology’
  • Co-developed and co-delivered the Workshop on FAIR for Material Design
  • Member of a cross-TU Delft working group (involving the Library and ICT) about Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN)s which:
    • Offers ELN licenses to interested researchers
    • Organization of regular community events

Event and community engagement

  • Organized and presented (departmental) information sessions about Research Data Management, Research Software Policy, and the Open Science Program
  • Co-organized and presented an Open Science Session for 3mE Ph.D. students
  • Member of the 4TU.ResearchData FAIR and Reproducible Code, Privacy and GDPR, Engagement and Education working groups
  • Co-chair of RDA working group: Discipline-specific Guidance for Data Management Plans
  • Was an invited speaker or a session organizer at seven (inter)national conferences / training sessions / webinars (RDA’s 17th & 18th Plenary Meetings, NWO Life Conference, Material Pioneers Webinar, National Turkish and Hacettepe University Research Data Symposiums, Turkish Open Access Week) and acted as a Programme Committee member of two conferences (National Turkish and Hacettepe University Research Data Symposiums)
  • Was invited to serve on the jury of the Eurac Open Research Award

Research and publication

  • Co-authored the Whitepaper: The Future of FAIR.
    • Khodiyar, Varsha; Laine, Heidi; O’Brien, David; Rodriguez-Esteban, Raul; Turkyilmaz-van der Velden, Yasemin; Baynes, Grace; et al. (2021): Research Data: The Future of FAIR White paper. figshare. Journal contribution.  

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Initiated set up a guidance document about data management and open science sections in Horizon Europe proposals in collaboration with the Open Science Community Manager and Data Stewards
  • Took part in a collaboration with the TU Delft Innovation & Impact Center to create awareness about the Open Science and Research Data Management requirements in Horizon Europe and presented/contributed to two information sessions 

Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management

Disciplinary RDM support

Event and community engagement

  • Launch of the “ReproJuice” video game with the Library
  • RDM training instructor at the Summer School in KTU (Lithuania)
  • Active in 3 working groups of the 4TU community:
    • FAIR Code (GitHub pages training, organized session on container tech for Open Science).
    • Education and Engagement
    • Privacy

Research and Publication

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Collaborate with the privacy team and HREC on aligning workflow for research projects that handle personal data.


The QuTech Data Steward started in October 2021. Within the short period left in the year, he already contributed to the training at the university level, actively provided RDM consultation, and reached out to most research teams in the faculty. Furthermore, he has drafted the QuTech Data Management policy and planned to have the faculty consultation (this policy has been published in April 2022).

Looking forward

A few lessons learned from this year can help guide us for the coming year(s). We should do better in documenting our Data Stewards’ knowledge base on RDM-related information within the organization as a guide for both researchers and Data Stewards. This would especially be helpful for new DS on boarding.

We are still in the process of further shaping the Data Steward work scope to handle increasing and more complex RDM demands. Besides all the RDM support activities, the team has also been actively engaged in discussions about the Data Stewardship model, the profile, and the career paths for Data Stewards.  Every Data Steward is encouraged to explore their own ‘Data Stewardship’ within the faculty. This does not just include working on disciplinary RDM support, but also exploring organizational solutions to sustain and expand the Data Stewardship support within the faculty. Faculty level Data Stewardship implies that a senior role of the current faculty Data Steward should play. This requires a corresponding recognition regarding the Data Steward profile and progress paths. We are all motivated to do more, meanwhile appreciate the rewards and recognition of the work we do. There is definitely more room for attention and efforts on the professional growth of Data Steward and Data Stewardship.

Time to re-think the divide between academic and support staff

Credit: geralt, Pixabay, CC0

By Marta Teperek, Maria Cruz and Danny Kingsley

We are pleased to announce that our article “Time to re-think the divide between academic and support staff” has been just published: The article speaks about the negative consequences of the divide between academic and professional support staff, and argues that this divide no longer makes sense as it is not conducive to a successful and effective research process.

By publishing this article, we hope to raise awareness about these problems, start discussions within the community and start identifying the steps which have to be taken to stop the divide. We would welcome your comments and reflections on the topic.

We also wanted to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to Jeff Love, Melanie Imming, Alastair Dunning and Shalini Kurapati for their crucial input and support throughout the process of conceiving this article. Their comments and reflections on the early drafts of the article, as well as the numerous constructive discussions we have had with them, were invaluable to us.

Finally, we also wanted to thank Connie Clare, Manuel Garcia, Hans de Jonge, Lena Karvovskaya, Esther Plomp, Diana Popa, Mark Schenk, Jeroen Sondervan, Emmy Tsang, Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden and Jose Urra for their comments and suggestions on an early draft of the manuscript.

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.  


  • 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


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)


  • 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:
  • Member of successful H2020 Training Network grant on the future of digital design: (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).

EUA-FAIRsFAIR focus group meeting – addressing development of competences for (FAIR)data management and stewardship.

By Paula Martinez-Lavanchy

On the 19th of November I joined the meeting of the EUA-FAIRsFAIR focus “Teaching (FAIR) data management and stewardship” at the University of Amsterdam. In this post I summarized my key reflections of what happened during the meeting.

For those who are not yet familiar with FAIRsFAIR, it is an European project that started in March 2019 with the aim “to supply practical solutions for the use of the FAIR data principles throughout the research data life cycle. Emphasis is on fostering FAIR data culture and the uptake of good practices in making data FAIR.” The project has four main areas of work: ‘Data Practices’, ‘Data Policy’, ‘Certification’ (repositories) and ‘Training, Education and Support’. The meeting in Amsterdam was part of the activities of this last area, and specifically part of Work Package 7 of the project “FAIR Data Science and Professionalisation”. The main organizer of the event was the European University Association (EUA).

FAIRsFAIR project aims to be deeply connected with the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) through a dedicated Synchronisation Force, which will offer coordination and interaction opportunities between various stakeholders, including the EOSC. It was not clear to me how exactly will the input of the project be used/adopted by EOSC in practice. However, the EOSCpilot work on skills was part of the presentations we saw, which suggest that the deliverables of FAIRsFAIR project are meant to become a building block of the EOSC, and not yet another layer of the cake of FAIR.

The various initiatives related to RDM training and FAIR data skills

The meeting started with five presentations that introduced the audience to different initiatives regarding or related to Research Data Management (RDM) training and/or FAIR data skills. Since we already talked about layers, I would divide the presentations in two: Framework initiatives and Implementation initiatives.

Framework initiatives: where the goal is to define the skills/competences that data scientists, data stewards and researchers should acquire around data management and to build up training curricula. There was a dedicated presentation about the EDISON project (Yuri Demchenko – University of Amsterdam) and FAIR4S (Angus Whyte – Digital Curation Centre – DCC). However, many other initiatives related to RDM skills and competences were mentioned: RDA Education & Training in Data Handling IG, Skills Framework for Information Age (SFIA), Competency Matrix for Data Management Skills (Sapp Nelson, M – Purdue), Open Science Careers Assessment Matrix, Towards FAIR Data Steward as a profession for the Lifesciences”. Kind of impressive and overwhelming to see the amount of groups working in the RDM training field.

Implementation initiatives: I call them implementation initiatives because these are initiatives already providing training or they are in the planning of creating an education program. 

Photo Credit: Lennart Stoy. Original Tweet here.

It was very interesting to hear about the work done by ELIXIR (Celia van Gelder – DTL/ELIXIR-NL), which is running training events for researchers, developers, infrastructure operators and trainers in the Life Sciences. ELIXIR also have a consolidated train-the-trainer- programme that provides training skills and have developed a really nice platform (TESS) where they announce training, make training materials available, but also provide guidance on how to build training. 

We also had the opportunity to hear about the “National Coordination of Data Steward Education in Denmark” (Michael Svendsen – Danish Royal Library). They used a survey approach to investigate the landscape of expected skills that Data Stewards should have (results to be published soon). Based on this, the Danish Royal Library together with the University of Copenhagen, are planning to design a Data steward Education curriculum (launch 2021) and drafting a specific training module for the study program of librarians.

In summary, the terms ‘training’ and ‘education’ were used in the different presentations, but also many target groups and many types of skills with a different degree of relevance depending on the project or the initiative working on it. While this diversity was impressive, it felt somewhat difficult to understand the rationale for all these parallel projects and approaches, and how will they all lead to a coherent, agreed, pan-European framework for RDM skills and competences.   

Advantages, disadvantages, challenges and opportunities

In the afternoon session we had break out discussions where 4 topics were proposed:

  1. Teaching RDM/FAIR at Bachelor/Master level
  2. Addressing RDM/FAIR at Doctoral/Early-career researcher level
  3. Generic Data Stewardship and FAIR data competences
  4. Disciplinary/Domain-specific Data Stewardship and FAIR data competences
Phote Credit: Lennart Stoy. Original Tweet here.

We had two sessions of discussion, so each of us had the opportunity to join two different topics. For each topic we discussed advantages/disadvantages, good practices, missed opportunities, challenges, target audiences, possible synergies, etc. I joined topic 1 (Teaching RDM/FAIR at Bachelor/Master level) and 4 (Disciplinary/Domain-specific Data Stewardship and FAIR data competences). In both breakout groups we had rather broad discussions and exchange of knowledge, with more or less structure, but I found them very interesting and valuable. The organizers promised to report on the discussion results, so I will not duplicate their efforts. There will be a following post for sharing my own overall reflections about education and training on RDM. So to be continued.


What are the next steps for the FAIRsFAIR project with regards to skills and competences? The organizers intend to use the results of this meeting and the results collected in the “Consultation on EUA-FAIRsFAIR survey on research data and FAIR data principles”, a survey that they recently run, in order to define the activities of the project in the track of training and education. So hopefully more on this soon.


The organizers of this event have recently shared a Short summary of the Focus Group workshop at

You can follow the progress of the FAIRsFAIR project looking at their deliverables page: or via Zenodo

TU Delft Research Data at the Research Data Alliance Plenary 14

By Marta Teperek, Paula Martinez-Lavanchy and Yan Wang


Research Data Alliance (RDA) is an international organisation dedicated to everything about research data. It has over 9,000 members world-wide and has a plenary meeting twice a year at various locations around the globe. Marta Teperek, Paula Martinez-Lavanchy, Yan Wang and Esther Plomp* represented TU Delft Research Data Services and Data Stewards at RDA Plenary 14 meeting in Helsinki 23-25 October 2019 and are sharing their key contributions and take away messages.

Research Data Alliance Plenary meetings are always very rich with new content, innovative ideas, and offer plenty of opportunities for networking and collaboration – all evolving around research data management. The meeting consists not only of three days full of meetings of the various working and interest groups (multiple parallel sessions last from the very morning until late in the afternoon/evening!), but also other events: knowing that 500+ data experts attend each plenary meeting, there are always numerous co-located events. In addition, most people stay at a few hotels located close to the main conference venue, facilitating additional networking opportunities. Discussions often start at very early mornings (breakfast working meetings) and last until late evenings (networking dinners). 

Marta, Paula and Yan decided to share a small selection of what we thought were our key contributions and take-away messages and explain why these are relevant to TU Delft.

Libraries for Research Data Interest Group

Marta is the co-chair of the Libraries for Research Data Interest Group (L4RD IG) and co-organised the group’s meeting during Plenary 14. Yan has presented the work looking at Engaging Researchers with Research Data.

What does this group do?

Libraries are actively developing new services in the digital environment, and in research data management in particular. The purpose of this interest group is to provide a forum for international data management experts to share practice and experience as RDM library services mature and to keep each other posted about the latest developments on data management.

Why is this important for TU Delft?

TU Delft wishes to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to research data management. Being part of the group means not only being part of the network of international library experts on data management but also being at the centre of the newest developments and initiatives in RDM.

Related resources:

Research Data Management in Engineering 

Paula is one of the co-chairs of Research Data Management in Engineering IG and co-organised the group’s kick-off meeting during Plenary 14.

What does this group do?

Engineering comprises a vast span of sub-disciplines including for example chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. The research in Engineering is highly multidisciplinary, often involves close collaboration with industry and it generates a vast range of outputs from innovative materials to the production of software. Research data management practices within these sub-disciplines tend to be unaligned with e.g. open data initiatives/requirements and the implementation of the FAIR data principles. This group aims at changing the culture of handling data, creating awareness and bridging (sub-)communities and existing initiatives. It also aims at providing a platform for developing consensus on RDM best practices for engineering and to actively collaborate with other groups at RDA for adopting and/or adapting their outputs to be used by researchers in engineering. 

Why is this important for TU Delft?

TU Delft has a strong focus on engineering and innovation. Our researchers are engaging more and more in Open Science and incorporating Research Data Management best practices within their workflows thanks to the work of our Data stewards. But, there are still some barriers to fully comply with the FAIR data principles e.g. the lack of metadata standards in engineering disciplines. Some concerns on how to balance the collaboration with industry and open science practices also exist. Through the involvement in this group, TU Delft hopes to overcome those barriers by working together with the research communities and institutions which are RDA members. After Plenary 14, the work of the group will focus on metadata standards, re-use of data and open science within engineering. 

RDA also provides a great opportunity to link and disseminate the work done by TUDelft in the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research (CESAER) especially through the Task Force Open Science.

Related resources: 

Birds of a Feather: Engaging Researchers with Research Data: What Works?

Marta organised a dedicated Birds of a Feather session: Engaging Researchers with Research Data: What Works? Yan presented a case study during the session.

What was this session about?

The objective of this meeting was to receive community feedback on the proposal to create the Engaging Researchers With Research Data Interest Group. So far, the group acted informally and gathered case studies on how academic institutions engage with researchers about research data. Selected case studies were published in the book “Engaging Researchers with Data Management: The Cookbook”. The group now wished to formalise its activities with the aim to continue information exchange about innovative activities, which facilitate researcher engagement with research data and to welcome other RDA members to join the group.

Why is this important to TU Delft?

In order to implement good RDM practice within research communities, a cultural shift is necessary. TU Delft has been actively investing in various strategies aiming to achieve cultural change, and have already benefited from advice and lessons learnt from other universities. For example, TU Delft’s Data Champions programme is a direct inspiration from the University of Cambridge. Through active participation in this group, TU Delft hopes not only to exchange practice and lessons learnt with other RDA members but also stay up to date with new tactics which could help us further increase engagement with our research communities.

Related resources:

Birds of a Feather: Professionalizing data stewardship

Marta also co-organised another Birds of a Feather session on Professionalizing data stewardship.

What was this session about?

During this session, we discussed the various models used by institutions worldwide to provide data stewardship support to research communities. This was followed by a discussion about the need to professionalise data stewardship: to create job profiles, to agree on career progression, on the skills which data stewards need to have and many others. The participants agreed that these issues are beyond individual institutions or countries and are better to be addressed by a dedicated international group, such as RDA.

Why is this important to TU Delft?

TU Delft is at the forefront of data stewardship, which also means it is often the first one to deal with issues related to lack of recognition of data stewards as a dedicated profession: questions about remuneration, career progression, agreed set of skills and tasks are daily problems experienced by the data stewards and those coordinating the programme. Therefore, it is essential for TU Delft to find solutions to these problems, ideally through collaboration with a group of international experts on the topic.

Related resources:

Education and Training on handling of research data IG

Paula is a member of the Education and Training on handling of research data IG and participated in the meeting of the group organized in Plenary 14.

What does this group do?

Research has become a highly data-intensive activity. Education programmes at universities have recognized that new skills for data analysis are needed and have started to include e.g. programming skills within their curricula. However, there is less focus on skills related to good management, documentation and preservation of data. The objective of this IG is the exchange of information about existing developments and initiatives and promotion of training/education to manage research data throughout the data lifecycle. 

Why is this important for TU Delft?

TU Delft is intensively working in preparing its Open Science Strategic plan 2020-2024. One of the cross-cutting themes for all the project lines (Open Access; Open Publishing; FAIR Data; Open Software and Open Education) are ‘skills’. In this line, the Research Data Services team has recently published its Vision for Research Data Management Training at TU Delft. To implement this training vision in a sustainable way TU Delft must collaborate with those communities, organizations and projects that are already providing training and those who would like to get started. Besides exchanging knowledge with those relevant stakeholders, the involvement of TU Delft in this group is very relevant to collaboratively work on the development of training curricula and materials.

Related resources:

The International Research Data Community contributing to EOSC

One of the events which were co-located with RDA was the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to engage with the international research data community in the development of the EOSC. As a member of the EOSC FAIR Working Group, Marta was one of the co-organisers of one session of this meeting – discussion about FAIR practices across disciplines. Yan was the facilitator and rapporteur of the multidisciplinary research breakout group.

What was this session about?

During this session, members of various disciplinary communities within the EOSC split into separate discussion groups. In addition to covering the well-recognised disciplines like engineering, social science and medical science, there was also a dedicated group focusing on FAIR practices in multidisciplinary research. 

The discussion groups provided feedback on FAIR practices within their disciplines: what do the communities already do to put FAIR into reality (e.g. do they have disciplinary standards, do they use disciplinary repositories for their research outputs), what are the societal and technical barriers preventing full implementation of FAIR principles and what could be done to overcome these. They also discussed what services/components within the EOSC require FAIR certification, and what metrics would be the most suitable for the different components identified. 

Why is this important to TU Delft?

All members of the EOSC Working groups act as impartial advisors and do not represent the interests of the organisations they are affiliated with. The mission of the FAIR Working Group is to provide recommendations on the implementation of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) practices within the EOSC. EOSC is a pan-European initiative and its success is dependant on the practical implementation of FAIR practices across all European research institutions. Given that TU Delft wants to be the frontrunner in the culture change towards better and FAIRer data management, the activities of the group are very important and relevant: it is essential that TU Delft researchers are able to fully participate in the EOSC. 


The above are just snapshots of what has happened during the last Plenary 14. Marta, Paula, Yan and Esther returned to TU Delft exhausted, but also very enthusiastic and full of new ideas on how to continue working on further improvement of research data management services at TU Delft. The Plenary 14 is now over and the next one is only in 6 months. However, this does not mean that nothing happens in the time being. To the contrary, the hard work has just begun. Members of working and interest groups continue their work in the period between plenaries – through teleconferences and other types of online collaboration. In-person group meetings at plenaries are important milestones used to review the work progress and jointly agree on new priorities. So Marta, Paula, Yan and Esther will be now busy contributing to the activities mentioned above.

What is really inspiring about RDA, and what makes it very unique compared with other conferences and meetings, is that it focuses on collaborative working – it’s not just another conference where people gather to listen to presentations. In RDA anyone can come up with an important problem, which needs to be solved. If there are enough people who wish to work together to find a solution to this problem, a new working group or interest group can be created, which will look for a solution. Collectively, RDA is a community of 9,000+ data experts worldwide, who are part of a myriad of working and interest groups. This set up truly allows the international community of data management professionals to solve their data management challenges collaboratively – and jointly come up with the best solutions. 

Being part of RDA and actively participating in the working/interest groups allows TU Delft to stay close with the state of the art in research data management. It helps maintain the professionalism and a high level of expertise of TU Delft research data services, not only at the international RDM community level but also, more importantly, at our local level – when supporting our own researchers.   

* – Esther of course also actively participated in the RDA meeting and contributed to several interest and working groups. Her contribution could not be included here due to conflicting annual leave schedules. This information might be added later.


How to move from FAIR principles to FAIR practice?


This post is written by: Marta Teperek, with contributions by Neil Chue Hong, Stefano Cozzini, Marta Hoffman Sommer, Rob Hooft (Chair of the FAIR-practice team), Liisi Lembinen, Juuso Marttila, and it was originally published on the EOSC Secretariat blog.

Let us know how you are implementing the FAIR principles in practice by filling in a brief survey

On the 4th of July 2019, we had a kick-off meeting in Brussels of the FAIR Working group of the EOSC European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) governance. Members of this group have been nominated by the EOSC Governance Board and Executive Board. The aim of the group is to provide recommendations on the implementation of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) practices within the EOSC, largely inspired by the action plan outlined in the report Turning FAIR into reality. Given that the FAIR Working Group consists of almost 30 members, we split into 4 teams to enable efficient and effective working: PID Policy, FAIR Practice, Interoperability and Metrics & Certification.

We, the authors of this blog post, are the FAIR Practice team. The key objective of our team is to understand what are the current practices in different (research) communities and what are their levels of FAIRness. After the FAIR principles were published, they rapidly gained a lot of traction and interest, including among the advocates of good data management practices and open data. National and international funding bodies ask researchers to make all their data FAIR as one of their funding conditions. Now, FAIR is to be at the core of the EOSC. Barend Mons even remarked on Twitter that attitudes to FAIR have changed in the last four years – it started to be embarrassing to admit in public that one hadn’t heard of FAIR.


FAIR principles – reality check

Many communities, however, still seem to be far from putting FAIR into their daily practices. The 2018 State of Open Data Report found that just 15% of researchers were “familiar with FAIR principles”. Unsurprisingly, out of the 4 classes of FAIR principles, Interoperability and Reusability were the least understood by the respondents. On 26 June 2019, Marta Teperek attended the Carpentry Connect Conference in Manchester and asked the attendees (around 80 people) if they heard about the FAIR principles. Almost all of them replied positively. However, when Marta asked the follow-up question: “Who would feel comfortable explaining what FAIR data really means in practice?”, only 4 out of 80 people replied “yes”. This is quite revealing given that the participants of the Carpentry Connect conference are typically very well aware of interoperability and reusability issues. Similar reflections were made by Maria Cruz on 19 June 2019 at the OAI 11 – The CERN-UNIGE Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication.

What are the community practices?

So how to bridge that gap? That’s exactly what the FAIR practice team will be investigating and making recommendations on to the European Commission. To develop these recommendations we first need to understand the current community practices. This will allow us to identify both the best practices, which might serve as a source of inspiration for others, as well as barriers preventing communities from implementing FAIR practices. Understanding the barriers will help us to make recommendations to overcome those challenges. The awareness of the current practices and the ability to make realistic expectations is also essential for two other teams of our WG: Interoperability and Metrics & Certification. These teams need to ensure that the recommendations they propose are fit for purpose for the diverse communities they are to serve.

How are we going to do that?

So how are we going to do that? The plan for the group is not to reinvent the wheel, but to instead identify and flag up existing valuable resources which investigate practices in various disciplines (such as, the State of Open Data Report 2018FAIR Data case studies in EngineeringFAIR Data Advanced Use CasesFAIR in practice report by Jiscthe FAIR Implementation Matrix), and also to liaise with other projects, such as FAIRsFAIR, which are already investigating these practices. This will allow us to gather a body of knowledge and evidence, based on which recommendations will be made.

How can you get involved?

In order to better understand the community practices, we would be delighted to hear from you. You can get involved in numerous ways:

Questions? Comments?

If you have any additional questions or comments, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at any stage by emailing

For more info, read the blog post from the inaugural meeting.

Digital notes, here I come – status update on the Electronic Lab Notebooks pilot project at TU Delft


Written by Marta Teperek, Esther Plomp, Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden

The Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) project at TU Delft is now well under way. It was officially kicked-off during a meeting which took place on 18 April 2019 and it will last for 1 year. During this time, interested TU Delft researchers will be able to try out two different ELN products: ResearchSpace (RSpace) and eLABjournal. At the moment, 37 researchers from three different TU Delft faculties (Applied Sciences – AS); Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering – 3mE; Civil Engineering and Geosciences – CEG) are participating in the trial.

Why was this project started?

Discussions about ELNs at TU Delft were initiated back in March 2018, when several ELN providers, as well as researchers interested in moving away from paper to digital lab note keeping, came along to the event on the topic. Feedback gathered during and after the event demonstrated the interest among researchers at TU Delft in ELNs.

Subsequently, a dedicated ELN working group was created by colleagues from the library, ICT and Faculties of AS and 3mE (Susan Branchett, Esther Maes, Esther Plomp, Marta Teperek and Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden). The group gathered some key requirements for ELN products (based on the needs indicated by the research community at TU Delft and consultations with colleagues at other universities) and shortlisted two suppliers (RSpace and eLABjournal) which were able to best meet these key requirements. All functionalities were described in details by the providers on 18 April and both products are now available to interested TU Delft researchers for testing.

event image

Photo from the ELN kick-off meeting on 18 April 2019

What will happen next?

The ELN working group will gather feedback from researchers testing the two products during and after the trial:

  • Early evaluation (1-3 months into the project) is currently taking place by gathering feedback about the initial user experience via informal meetings with researchers. 
  • Mid-term evaluation (6 months into the project) is scheduled to happen during a dedicated consultation meeting with ELN users at TU Delft on Tuesday 24th of September. 
  • Final evaluation of the two products, which might inform a future tender process, will happen at the end of April 2020, at the end of the trial. 

Subsequently, the ELN working group will develop recommendations for the next steps aiming at providing ELN solutions at TU Delft. Summary of these recommendations will be published on the Open Working blog and shared with interested stakeholders (researchers, ICT, library, faculties).

How can I get involved?

If you are a TU Delft researcher and would like to take part in the trial, please get in touch with Esther Plomp or Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden, Data Stewards from the Faculty of AS and 3mE, respectively.

Further reading